Faith Without Works

What is faith?

When discussing faith in religious circles, it is often said that, "…faith without works is dead." This quotation from James 2:26b is yanked out context such that the popular understanding of this verse is completely twisted and unbiblical. Even study of the context will yield little, unless the dark "religious eyeglasses of blindness" are removed and put aside.

The common religious understanding of this verse is as follows:

Your religious beliefs have no effect if you do not produce charitable works which are instigated, directed and validated by the religious institution which you belong to. You must obediently provide the resources (time, talents and money) in accordance with instructions and approval from the religious leaders who are responsible for you.

The common religious understanding, as stated above, has absolutely nothing to do with the verses in James chapter 2.

The words "faith" and "works" (in this context) have been misunderstood for centuries, since western religion has redefined them. Religion had to redefine these words as the institution and its' audience became less and less spiritual. The unspiritual audience could be accommodated and the spiritual audience could be suppressed and controlled.

The quotation is a figure of speech called "oxymoron". With the correct biblical understanding of the words "faith" and "works", it can be understood that "faith without works" is an impossible condition which cannot happen.

Faith is kinetic, energetic and powerful. It is NOT a mental process which conforms to a particular world or religious point of view. The apostle Paul states that the life he now LIVES he LIVES by the faith of Jesus Christ! He is not discussing an ethical or a religious system.

It is important to understand that the Greek word for "faith" is the same as the word for "believe". As illustrated in Hebrews 11, holy spirit upon a person is required for that person to exercise "faith" or "believing". This is what brings to pass the power of God in the senses realm in order to accomplish the will of God. It is this kinetic, energetic "faith" which pleases God.

Noah had faith

The account of Noah in Hebrews 11:7 illustrates how this works.

[7] By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Noah was first "…warned by God…" which is revelation, including word of knowledge and word of wisdom. Knowledge about future events, Wisdom instructing what to do about them. When Noah moved to obey what he had heard, faith or believing was energized. These works required the power of God in operation. No man simply using his own resources and efforts could ever accomplish what Noah did. No man, by his own efforts could "condemn the world" or become an "heir of righteousness".

We have faith

As it worked with Noah, it works with us. God, via the gift of holy spirit, provides knowledge and wisdom. Moving with obedience on these instructions will cause faith, or believing to be energized and the power of God goes into operation. If you are instructed by revelation to speak, and you obey, you then speak by faith, or believing. If you are instructed by revelation to shut up, and you obey, you are silent by faith, or believing.

Galatians 5:5

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

The manifestation of holy spirit is required for anyone to endure in this world, eagerly anticipating the return of Jesus Christ. This is how we perform the works of God and how we worship him in spirit and in truth. This is how we please him.

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is available at Amazon
The paperback is available at CreateSpace
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2018 Keith S. Radcliffe

Preface to the Fatherhood Essays

This is the preface to the Fatherhood essays that I am writing.

I have been a grandson, son, father, grandfather and recent great-grandfather, yet the memories of becoming a new father remain fresh in my mind. Severe chronic challenges were encountered,  yet, with God's help I was able to prevail. This collection of essays is about what was learned on that journey from a young man to a great-grand-father. Many things were learned, challenges overcome, mistakes and memories were made; a lot of growing was done by the entire family.

These essays contain the observations, experiences and challenges that were faced by up to 4 generations of fathers. The manner of writing used here may seem a bit severe, perhaps even negative at times. The motive of heart is to communicate the unvarnished truth so that, with God's help, you too can prevail as a father. These writings can serve as kind of a template of several fathers' approach to managing the challenges and issues of fatherhood. I don't think the challenges are unique, but the response to these challenges will be unique. The issues raised in these essays may help you prepare for the unexpected.

In my journey through life, there was almost no training available on how to handle or manage the challenges of life. I had to learn how to manage and how to grow while struggling to keep the family together. These essays do not contain problem solving "recipes". You, your situations, and circumstances are all unique and demand unique responses which ultimately are determined by you.

Sudden, surprising challenges can scramble your life, goals, ambitions, relationships, self-image, and feelings. You can be plunged into an unfamiliar, unpleasant, painful, and confusing world. What is disclosed here are the tools and skills that have been important to be able to navigate such a world and to endure the challenges that were encountered.

You may find these essays a bit "preachy" and be overwhelmed by all the advice that is presented. Be assured that what is presented here is not theory; I lived what is shared here. My initial experience as a father was to make mistake after mistake and almost become a complete failure. It required time to become skillful. These essays expose the reader to decades of learning in a very short amount of time. Give yourself time to absorb what is shared. It is expected that the reader may experience some very strong emotions about this information, just as I did. I was driven to find the truth, so regardless of my emotions, I worked to learn until there was a resolution and I was at peace. This requires time and patience.

Fatherhood is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. As you endure and prevail, your children can learn to endure and prevail as well.

To the Father and Mother

It requires and father and mother to produce a child. A child needs both a father and a mother to raise him or her. This is a biological, genetic requirement, not an artificial social construct based on artificial gender roles. As such, it is a godly human right for each child to have a male father and a female mother to raise that child. It is best that the father and mother fulfill their responsibilities together with unity of purpose. I raised my children with their mother but I am not qualified to write about motherhood.

To society in general

In these essays, I unapologetically use gender specific pronouns which accurately reflect reality. If the reader finds this to be offensive, then my advice is to stop reading. 

 

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE

The paperback is available at
https://www.createspace.com/4552448
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe

The Quest for Deliverance

Knowledge, even self-knowledge is power. The knowledge presented here is to help you begin to develop skills to stand against the challenges of life that can confront your family. The quest for deliverance can be harmful, unless you understand the risks.

One of the worst, heart-rending challenges is a father's inability to protect his precious children from every merciless attack. Accidents, sickness and disease all expose this human weakness. When these challenges happen to a child, various emotions can be overwhelming to the father and the despair of helplessness can dominate. These emotions can debilitate even the strongest father. Our ignorance about how to proceed can be costly and even dangerous.

It is completely natural and understandable to be driven to find a solution, a cure, just as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost. There is the desire for healing so that life can get back to normal. The attack on the child is also an attack on our plans, schedules, finances, almost everything of critical importance that holds our life together. These could all crumble into a magnificent ruin. A cure MUST be found RIGHT NOW! It is certainly not obvious, but I have found that this is an ineffective mind-set. Panic is never advised. The desperate, singular focus on obtaining (and expecting) an immediate cure can produce additional long term anguish, pain, and suffering for the family.

All 4 generations of my family (starting with my grandfathers) have experienced chronic health related challenges. I spent years focused on and expecting a cure for the challenges in my immediate family. I observed other branches of the family in the same quest. We all ended up without the expected complete deliverance. Religion and the self-help industry provided lots of advice, but few godly results. I have seen people at this point become consumed with anger and bitterness directed at their heavenly father. My response was to return to the scriptures and research each record of healing that I could find, looking for a "healing recipe". There had to be something that all the accounts had in common, something I was missing. What was found was not what I expected.

I did not find a "healing recipe". Every single act of godly deliverance was different, tailored to the individual and their unique circumstances. There was one attribute which was common to a majority of the accounts. This one attribute is "endurance". Those in need endured, sometimes for years. My response to this discovery was to end my singular focus on deliverance. Instead, I focused on "enduring until deliverance". I had a great conflict about this change because it contradicted so much of what I (and others) had been taught. The bottom line is that what "prosperity" religion and the self-help industry adherents believe is that to change their focus on deliverance is a capitulation to the challenge. They believe it is wrong, is sinful, and is dishonoring God. There is much fear associated with this destructive, erroneous, singular focus on deliverance.  However, what I had been taught was shown to be in error, so I continued with my new focus on "enduring until deliverance". This change in focus made a dramatic difference in my life and family. Now it was OK to make incremental improvements without the attending feelings of condemnation, disappointment and failure. The stress and pressure to produce complete deliverance NOW was gone. Virtually every aspect of my family life improved. It wasn't that things got easier or the circumstances changed. I changed, and was able to become skillful in this aspect of life.

All these improvements did not happen overnight; I did not get skillful the next day. No, this required years of patient persistence. The first thing that happened was the release from the emotional stress, condemnation and disappointment produced by the singular focus on deliverance. This release provided more energy to apply to endurance; I became stronger. Notice that I had to learn to become skillful while under attack. It is another example of "on the job training" which we experience. My children who lived through these challenging times learned how to endure. They made these skills their own as they endured their own challenges as adults.

No, you won't find the deliverance you are seeking for every challenge that faces you. We all die of something. We will all be working to improve some aspect of our life when we do pass away. Growth and improvement is a never ending process in this life. I have spoken to other beloved children of God who are enduring chronic health issues. They have not allowed these challenges to stop them from serving and walking with God.

My maternal grandfather had learned to live in this practical way. When his son-in-law, my uncle, became totally blind, grandpa used his contacts to obtain a scholarship at a premier school for the blind. My uncle eventually obtained a PHD in psychology. In his career, he began pioneering research with emotionally disturbed handicapped children. By standing against these formidable challenges and enduring, he became a man, husband and father of great godly value. His family continued with the singular focus on deliverance which (I believe) took an emotional toll on them. The difficulty with their quest certainly touched my heart. In the end, none of this prevented the godly impact of his family in this life.

Things that rob your endurance and peace

When you and your family are faced with the challenges of life such as accidents and illness, there are common reactions which are not beneficial. These reactions, although understandable, actually weaken us. The challenges of life are actually processes of destruction. This process of destruction is designed to influence the victim, close family and caretakers to abandon their self-directed life. You then are bound to a life which is directed by uncontrollable circumstances and overwhelming emotion. It is accomplished through a process of stimulus and response to keep you emotionally upset, hopeless, helpless and weak. Understanding the nature of the attack and its purpose can help you resist the processes that are at work.

For years I asked the questions, "why me?", "why do I have to go through this?" "what did I do wrong?", "when will this end?". You may have asked these or other similar questions. Eventually I learned that having the answers to these questions would not help me endure. In some cases the answers could prove burdensome. It is better not to dwell on these questions. I have provided foundational answer to the question "what did I do wrong?" in my book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity". This book will also help with the obsessive religious habits of self-accusation and self-condemnation.

It is very detrimental to hide and suppress any anger you may have with God. This anger may be suppressed out of guilt. God is much bigger than our emotions and our limited view. It is better to honestly open your heart to him and share yourself with him. You are his child and he will treat you with all the love he has. Yes, I have been angry with him. It may sound silly, but for my own health I even forgave him because of my emotional perception of having been harmed. Some emotions can't be prevented!

There is nothing godly to gain by playing the "blame game". If blame is affixed to something or someone, the next step is to "make sure it never happens again", which is nothing but revenge. All this is actually part of the destructive process which challenges you. It is designed to rob your strength and peace. It does this by keeping you angry, upset, bitter and focused on how unfairly hurt you are. Ultimately you become a chronic victim, consumed and imprisoned by anger and bitterness. There is no deliverance to be had on this path of destruction.

Although it may require some time, when disaster strikes, discard the panic as quickly as possible. Manage the immediate needs but be prepared for the long-haul. Don't give yourself over to anger, bitterness or despair. Share your anger and grief with God. Keep your focus on your family and their needs. For yourself, keep your focus on enduring until deliverance is achieved!

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE

The paperback is available at
https://www.createspace.com/4552448
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe

Your Impact on the World

2 Corinthians 2 contains a cultural reference which is used as a metaphor to describe your impact on the world. The letters of the apostle Paul were written to a mixed audience in the 1st century. There were Judeans, Hellenized Judeans and a great variety of Gentiles. This audience lived in various sections of the Roman Empire. Needless to say, their culture is almost completely alien to us. Thus, some of the cultural references, Hebrew, Greek or Roman, can be a bit foggy to the reader in the 21st century!
 
So it is with II Corinthians 2:14 – 17. These three verses refer to a practice which was known in the Roman culture. Both the Hebrews and Gentiles would understand the cultural reference. 
 
2:14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing – 2:16 to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 2:17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God. (NET Bible)
 
A Roman general who had a tremendous victory over the enemy could be granted a "triumph" by the Roman Senate to celebrate the victory. A great procession (parade) was organized. Participating in the procession was the military leader,  his soldiers, and their prisoners. Incense was burned along the parade route which produced a sweep aroma. To the Romans, the winners, this incense was a sweet smelling aroma of victory. To the enemy prisoners, this oder was the bitter smell of death, as they were led to be executed.
 

In 2 Corinthians, God is the focus of the triumphal procession, via Christ in us. By way of the disciples of Jesus Christ, living as His agents acting upon His will, the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is manifested in every place. To those who are being saved, it is a sweet aroma of victory. To those who reject God and His son Jesus Christ, we are the rotten stink of death and decay. 

 
Yes, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have an impact on those around you. Some will befriend you, but many will absolutely hate you for no apparent reason. The cause is spiritual, not psychological or social. The manifestation of the sweet aroma of Christ does not originate from your strength or abilities, but from the power of God resident in your gift of holy spirit, the new you! Thought by thought, moment by moment, day by day, you participate in the celebration of the victory of Jesus Christ who has overcome the world!
 
Loving people according to the will of God in the manner that He desires will not bring you popularity. You may be kind to all, but rejected by many. Don't give in to sadness, but be very thankful that God works in you. Be thankful for the close friends that you do have and keep moving.

 

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

Obtain A Knowledge of the Scriptures

There is a question that is asked from time to time; “How does one obtain a knowledge of the scriptures?”. The question stated in this manner does not express what is really being asked, so I will restate it.
 
“How does one who is not a scholar, or an intellectual, effectively obtain a functional, accurate knowledge of the scriptures?”. I might add that the person seeking may have limited reading skills and a limited use of the English language.
 
All of us started out knowing absolutely nothing about the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, or the concepts of prayer and worship. Someone had to teach us about these things. I was blessed to be taught the Bible by my parents, starting at a very early age. As a young child I acquired some knowledge of the scriptures without any study, reading, or memorization. My parents taught me by informally telling stories, during the day or before bed time. In the years since, most of my time with the Bible could not be classified as “studying”, but reading, as one would read for enjoyment.
 
In a related note, I must state that there are men and women in the body of Christ who are quite adept at the art of storytelling. It has been my experience that these people and their calling are unappreciated; they seldom are permitted to serve. If they are permitted to serve, it is in the capacity of (almost invisible) baby-sitters. Identify these men and women and incorporate their service into the general activities of the body of Christ; the benefits will be amazing! 
 
There is basically only one prerequisite for acquiring a knowledge of the scriptures and that is a hunger to know The Truth. The hunger to know The Truth is a desire that is intense enough to be compared to physical hunger. This is a desire that is enough to motivate a person to act. If you have a ravenous hunger, you will be fed as much as you desire.
 
The first step in acquiring a knowledge of the scriptures is to make the time to become familiar with the numerous stories that are recorded in the Bible. One book my parents used to teach me the stories in the Bible was “Hurlburt's Story of the Bible”, which is available on the Internet.
 
The author of this book arranged the stories in their chronological order. Each story is expressed in simple, clear language. Each one is a complete story and can stand on its own. Yet, together these stories construct the narrative of the Bible, thus expressing “the story of the Bible”. The target audience of the book are those who do not have a Biblical background and may have a limited English vocabulary.
Artwork is included in the book to make it even more appealing. The artwork is not accurate so it can be ignored. Scriptural references are noted with each story, so it is easy to read each story from the Bible whenever you are ready.
 
Then find a version of the Bible that is easy and enjoyable for you to read. When I just want to read, I use the Revised English Bible. When I want to read in preparation for studying or for teaching, I use the English Standard Version. Once you have become familiar with the stories of the Bible, you can begin using your reading Bible. Read as if you are reading a novel. Just read for enjoyment. If you come across a section that you don't enjoy reading, such as a family tree or genealogy, skip that section. Don't attempt to retain and understand every little detail. Read to capture the narrative, the story. Memorization of individual scriptures at this point is not needed. It is much easier to remember a story than the individual scriptures that make up the story. Even young children can remember stories.
 
Once you have learned the general narrative of the Bible, you can begin to perceive the different contexts that make up that narrative. Now you can begin to read the contexts and see how they fit together. All the while you are reading for enjoyment.
 
“How much time will this take?” you might ask. It depends upon how hungry and persistent you are. Everyone grows at their own pace.
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

Preparing For an Uncertain Future

Preparing for an uncertain future has its advantages, it is one way in which we begin to adjust to a changing world. The question is, how well will we and our families endure these changes?
 
I don't write this to cause discouragement and grief but I write for the sake of endurance and thoughtful planning. Thinking through and preparing for "the worst that can happen" can negate or reduce the tendency to be consumed with fear and worry. If one is to prevail (not just survive), one must be strong enough to endure.
 
Today, much of what is published in the media and on the Internet has the purpose of provoking a strong emotional reaction. There is hope of a magical "awakening" of the American masses that will somehow stop the destruction of our country and the elimination of our freedoms. I submit to you that this hope is a mirage, a pipe dream; if it were to actually happen, it would do little to restore our country and freedoms. One reason I state this is the national debt; our country and untold generations of our children have been sold into slavery.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
(Proverbs 22:7 ESV)

 

 

This truth has not been experienced by the electorate in the manner which would be expected. Individually, our lives seem to continue as they always have. However, there is much discontent and anguish because we cannot gain control of our government. On critical issues the government is unresponsive to the will of the people; instead it is marching in unison towards tyranny. I submit that it is our government which is experiencing this enslavement; regardless of the desire of any individual politician, they have no choice but to ignore the will of the people and to ignore the constitution. They must obey the will of our lenders and those who continue to prop up our economy.
 
The truth of the matter is this; what used to be America is gone, only a shell remains. The constitution has become irrelevant; it is only a script for the theater and drama that is staged in Washington. The freedoms we continue to enjoy are imperiled. A tyrant is not required to control everyone all the time; a tyrant is only required to have access to any individual and control of any individual at any time. This type of tactic is what we seem to be subjected to, more and more.
 
So, if this is true, what can any individual do, how should an individual respond? I offer the following suggestions. If nothing else, don't react, but think through your own response.
 
Mourn and grieve the loss of our country. Have a funeral, put flowers on the grave if needed. Right now there is enough time to do this. Try to release the past and begin to face the future.
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 ESV)

 

 

Don't make any effort to attempt to reclaim or restore the "glory days" of the past. The world has changed and those days are gone. These efforts will weaken the ability to endure the challenges of the future.
 
Do some research regarding people of faith in tyrannical countries; here are a couple of books to start with:
 
 
 
If you are worried about your ability to worship and serve God in the manner in which you are accustomed to, please consider the following:
 
The time span to consider for your planning is multi-generational. Plan for the prevailing endurance of your great-grandchildren. There is an example of this kind of planning in the bible, in Jeremiah 29. We are in similar circumstances. One of the things recorded, which is good guidance for the current challenges is:
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
(Jeremiah 29:7 ESV)

 

 

Note the lack of guidance for an armed resistance or violence of any kind.
  • Think through the best long-term location for your family to live; Brazil? Argentina? Chile? Where? In the country or in the city?
  • What kind of spouse should your children look for; Chinese? Arab? Latino?
  • What kind of skills and training should your children have?
Today we are free to make some choices that may not be available tomorrow. Today there is time to prepare ourselves, mentally, emotionally and practically for the challenges, fears and shocks that are sure to occur in the near future. 
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
(Proverbs 22:3 ESV)

 

 

"Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe