In which there are Oreo cookies

by Craig on May 13, 2011

There you have it. It’s been around almost a hundred years.

You take part of it, say … the cookie part

…and it’s OK. It’s a chocolate cookie, not so bad all by itself.

But it’s a little bit parch-y and thirsty-making.

Kinda not satisfying.

Then there’s the middle – the fluffy good stuff – but too much of even the good stuff is…

… well

… blargh.

Then there’s James 2:18.

Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

You know how a rhetorical question is? Well, this is a rhetorical statement. In other words, “You can’t show me your faith without works. Here, let me show you faith (insert random “work” here). See? That’s faith.”

We have the moist, creamy, delicious good stuff – let’s call it “believing”.

We won’t call it faith – because faith is more than just believing. I mean, as James will mention later, even demons “believe”.

Then there’s the drier part, the crumbly part, the part that’s rigid and not so delicious – but tasty in its own right – and necessary for yummy Oreo goodness.  Let’s call it “works”.

I can’t have all cream – I’ve tried – it gets kinda disgusting in a hurry.

I can’t have all cookie because it’s all thirsty-making.

There’s just something special about the creamy good stuff along with the dry hard stuff.

Hmmmm.

You stick delicious creamy “belief” together with harder, more tempered, works and you have live faith – the complete Oreo.

John Chrysostom wrote about, 400 ish:

Even if somebody believes rightly, Father, Son, and Holy spirit, if that person does not lead the right kind of life, their faith will not benefit them at all as far as their salvation is concerned. Merely uttering words is not enough to save us, our behavior must be pure as well.

Hmmmm.

If I say I believe and then act just any way I want, I don’t have what I can call faith. Belief maybe – I can have belief. But belief doesn’t save or else demons would be “saved”.

So is “works” a part of salvation?

James says it’s necessary to complete faith, to make faith alive – and you can’t have salvation without faith.

Perfection?

No.

There is no one, perfect, Oreo.

I think it’s not the perfection, but the quest that matters. It’s the direction of my heart that counts.

I mean, do I want to sin? Not desire it, that’s different than wanting it. If temptation weren’t desirable – it wouldn’t be so tempting would it? But do I want to sin or do I want to want to avoid sin – but mess up on occasion?

Messing up – that’s what Grace is for. But if I start “wanting” to sin – seeking after it – making that my goal – then that’s a little worrisome.

Ooh. And I have a story for that! It involves this:

I have to hang out on “works” a little but.

I mean what is “works”?

I think the story next, you’ll like it, it’s a parable-y story.

Then, I have to clear up what “works” is. And whether or not this emphasis on “works” in James is contrary to Paul.

Because if it is, we have a problem.

(hint) We don’t have a problem.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Wolf May 13, 2011 at 11:11 am

Awesome stuff. Don’t tell me your saved. Show me your saved. If your saved and you know it then your life will really show it. I remember singing that in Sunday School. Take care buddy.

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Craig May 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I didn’t get to sing songs in Sunday School. Life would have been far different If I were raised as a Christian kid. I didn’t come to know Our Lord till I was 25. Thank you Scott – I appreciate it – I like your new banner by the way – I get the old one – I know my Hebrew – but this one is better!! God Bless.

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Cora May 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

I love oreos!!!!! Can I ask a question here??? Maybe I’m jumping ahead of the story, I don’t know. But is there a difference between “works” and “rules.” My cookie part was much too big growing up and the icing part . . . well. . . . a little lacking. The rules never ended and no grace for messing up. There was no “I’m sorry” for a broken rule, and it was never forgiven or forgotten. Works I understand as stuff I do that is positive — the fruit, the good things, no??? Rules I take as . . . I don’t even know. HELP!!!!

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Craig May 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Cora, my sister, you can always ask a question – any question. I’m not theologically smart – I just asked a lot of questions :) You are getting ahead a little – which just means we think alike :) but yes – there is a difference – between works and rules – and even a difference between “works: and “works” – just like there is a difference between “Law” and “Law” – who knew? I think I’m going to detour off of the Book of James – to explain James a little better – I think you’ll like where it goes. Think Law of Love – Jame’s perfect Law of Freedom – I’ve written on it a bunch. And think – as you already do – of works of love – as opposed to works of the Law of Moses, or rules of humans. Hope that helps – more to come.

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A. May 15, 2011 at 12:26 am

It’s the direction of my heart that counts….Craig-that is good, and only God truly knows our hearts and yet He gives us the suggestion of knowing them by their fruits so He kinda has us learning to discern hearts too, by reading the sign on the trail since we can’t see the heart. This is very interesting…

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Craig May 15, 2011 at 7:18 am

Amen – on the nose – tank you A. That’s a subtle and important difference. Why bother evaluating ONLY the fruit if we can see the heart – but we can’t – not even our own – so we look at the fruit. Our Lord can see both – and uses both – but it’s from the heart that everything flows. And your trail metaphor – heart that – he knows the beginning and end of every trail – all we can see are the markers along the way. HEART that!! God bless.

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Debbie May 15, 2011 at 3:21 am

Anyone that can teach me something using oreos is okay in my book. 😉 Thank you Craig for always letting God talk to us hear. :)

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Craig May 15, 2011 at 7:19 am

I don’ know where the milk fits in the metaphor though. In my book an oreo needs milk. I’ll have to think about that. Maybe it’s the Spirit? I don’t know. Thank you Deb. God Bless.

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Janis@Open My Ears Lord May 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Oreos, faith, and works–interesting. Too much of one and not enough of the other leaves us unbalanced. I like where you are going with this.
I’m not sure though how you got that idea that patience leads to impatience from my post? Although, I am definitely impatient!

Janis

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Craig May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

It was the patience of the mama bird on the nest – her immense patience led to an impatience to see the nest. That’s where I gt it. I was probably just reading myself into your story :) God bless you Janis – and thank you.

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Michelle May 16, 2011 at 5:02 am

“Merely uttering words is not enough to save us, our behavior must be pure as well.” So true. Words have power, but they are just words. I remember a (I think) Keith Green quote: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger!” We need (and we do) live out what we really believe. If you want to know what I believe, look at how I am living all the time (not just in public). Hopefully you will see a person who is bringing glory and honor to God in all that she does. But, I am human, and I do stuff up (quite regularly), but what I do with that is what shows my heart.

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Craig May 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Can’t argue with Chrysostom. He’s got street cred :) So does Keith Green. :) And I’m glad you’re in the “human” club with me Michelle. God Bless.

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