Thursday, April 16, 2015
Seminary students met for the first session in this second year of their program in church planting and basic theology. They covered a lot of material as they studied Paul’s general espistles. Here are some of Fernando’s thoughts about how the Lord worked:
We had a full, intense week, and we thank the Lord for good health and the opportunity to share with our brothers and sisters. The times of worship each morning were wonderful: praising the Lord, praying, and reading His Word together directed our attention to Him and gave us unity in preparation for a full day of classes.
Something that particularly blessed me during our time was the reminder of who we are in Jesus and the countless benefits and privileges we have as His disciples, saved by faith. God has provided all we need to lead lives that are consecrated for Him.
However, some of the students struggled to accept the idea of God giving us salvation as a free gift that we do not have to work to earn. Several asked, "What about James 2:18?" This verse says, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
God gave grace to the teachers and, with patience and love, they reiterated how merciful God is toward us and that we are no longer guilty in His sight thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. We discussed how faith and works are not separated from each other and that it is illogical to regard one without the other. Believers are expected to do good works, not to be justified before God, but rather as an act of gratitude to Him for all He has done for us. When Christians carry out good works, they bear witness to a genuine conversion, a true faith in Jesus Christ.
We all were reminded of God’s great love and the hope we have in Jesus’ salvation and second coming. This hope strengthens us in the midst of life’s difficulties, which cannot compare to the coming glory in Him. We praise God for how He is working students’ lives as we study His Word together.