REASONABLE THOUGHT AND CONTEMPLATION IS A NECESSARY ELEMENT TO BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING !!!
Reading the Bible, as does all things that we do, requires a certain amount of reasonable thought and contemplation. This aspect seems to be a lost art in recent years, but as we see in the Bible that Jesus spoke to the people in parables which required reasonable thought in order to understand the real meaning or lesson. He later explained to His disciples what the true meaning was in the parable for their benefit, as well as ours today. But, even then, a certain amount of thought had to be given to His explanation because His words always had deeper meanings than the obvious. The levels of His teachings are endless and we should consider each story over and over again so that we can reach down and get the benefit of the deeper meanings.
There are certain beliefs that if given reasonable thought could be seen as improbable and suspect. As an example, many believe that the Shroud of Turin actually is the burial cloth of Jesus. The claim is that His body outline was miraculously transferred to this cloth. But, if we consider how people were wrapped for burial in those days, it seems improbable that this is the outline of Jesus, or anyone for that matter. The method used was to place a cloth on the ground and lay the body, face up, onto it, and then wrap the top and bottom over the body and then bring the sides over the top. And so since we have no reason to believe that this was done in another way, then we would be seeing the backside of the body transferred unto the cloth… The crucifixion of Peter could not have been upside down as many believe because the process of death would not work if the body was inverted. The body had to be standing so that the legs would eventually give away and the person would suffocate as his lungs were crushed… These are just two examples of reasonable thought in order to get to the truth of any matter with which we must concern ourselves.
There are many and various notions as to how a person achieves salvation, but we know that there is only one way and that is through faith in Jesus and His atoning death for our sins. It is true that His death paid the price for our sins, but it does not get us into Heaven, but it does begin the process. If all it takes is to believe that His death is sufficient for salvation, then the rest of the New Testament has no purpose. If we give reasonable thought to the rest of the lessons and doctrine in the New Testament, we see that a process is given and principles are explained that we must attempt to follow in order to be adopted as a child of God. The just shall live by faith means exactly that. We are expected to follow the example of Jesus and have absolute faith in His directions for our behavior. We demonstrate that faith and the degree of that faith by our actions.
Many claiming Christians believe that faith is merely believing in Jesus and the actions that He did on our behalf. Unfortunately, that notion reduces faith to just a word, but faith is demonstrated by our actions and not those of Jesus…
James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
Many think of “works” as going out and winning souls, and that is part of it, but not everyone is an Evangelist. “Works” is living within the principles and rules for behavior given to us by Jesus and from within the Epistles. Faith is placing your trust in God and giving your life to Him and trusting, without doubt, that all things will be done in your best interests. Many claim to do exactly that, but as we examine their actions, they disappoint the principles and doctrine of a Christian. It is interesting to note that giving our lives over to a Being that no one has ever even seen is against all aspects of reasonable thought, but doing that very thing is called faith. And we cannot please God without faith !!!
Do you occasionally substitute words in scripture to make the reading a little clearer? This is no different from KJV, NIV, God's Word, and many other interpretations. I like to read the scripture quoted as faith being shown BECAUSE of our works. That is the trick to understanding salvation, it is achieved by only one individual act - professing faith in Jesus Christ and accepting Him as your savior. That faith in God results in works.