July 3, Sunday

Editor’s Note: Today’s QT is written by Jabez Yeo of TRPC.

Devotional Thought for Today

James 2:14-19: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 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. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

3Spiritual leaders (particularly known for their keen theological mind) who display their faith in both word and deed are an immense treasure (i.e., with regards to learning about faith and works, spirituality, and intellectuality).  One such leader was Basil, one of the Cappadocian fathers who faithfully endorsed the Nicene Creed. During Basil’s time, an aggressive form of heresy, Eunomianism, was gaining popularity, as it claimed that full Trinitarianism was a disguised form of paganism – an argument made today by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Eunomianism also doubted that the Son could be “begotten” and eternal, which led them to deny Jesus’ full divinity despite recognizing Him as Savior.

In response, Basil skillfully refuted Eunomianism by noting that if the Son was merely a creature, humanity would still be without a true revelation of God. Basil also used the imagery of the sun’s rays, which are “begotten” yet have existed with the sun since its beginning to explain how the Son was begotten from, yet exists with the Father for eternity. Basil then wrote On the Holy Spirit (“the first whole treatise on the Holy Spirit”) and effectively used Scripture to explain that “since the Holy Spirit effects our salvation, He cannot be anything but God.”[1]

Thankfully, Basil also communicated Christ through his actions. One of his projects as bishop of Caesarea was building a complex that provided housing and medical care for the needy. Basil also organized a soup kitchen and “gave away his personal inheritance to benefit the poor.”[2] Furthermore, Basil publicly rebuked corrupt officials and excommunicated those involved in human trafficking. He was in many ways, “a man of vast learning, genuine eloquence and immense charity.”[3]

It can be easy to feel ashamed when we compare ourselves to Basil—especially if our confession of faith is not consistent with our actions. But let’s remember that Basil was just a man like us, and that it is only God’s grace that trains us to renounce worldly passions and to live godly lives (Titus 2:12). May we then display Him powerfully through word and deed.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the great truth that proclaims that You loved me while I was still a sinner separated from You. Help me to love others in light of the love I have received from You. May what I know resonate deeply not only in my mind but also in my hands and feet as I interact with and serve others. In Your Name, I pray.  Amen.

[1] Olson, Roger. The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_of_Caesarea

[3] http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=261

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 96

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