9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e]
A few weeks back I shared how as a young Christian I struggled with the idea of being saved and what it really meant. I saw it as a get out of Hell free ticket and did not consider what it truly meant for my life here on earth. The scripture above drives home the importance of a complete knowledge of God and what he desires from us. In Samuel 15:22 we learn that the Lord desires our obedience of any sacrifice but how can we obey with first learning what he has asked us to do? This was my problem, I hadn’t considered what God wanted me to do. The answer was simple, REPENT! But how could I know this without first examining God’s Word? Not just gaining second-hand knowledge from listening to a sermon, but knowledge revealed directly to me through the Father, through prayer and study. Not saying that there is a problem with gaining knowledge from a sermon is bad but if that is the only place we hear from God then we will miss out. In my case, I missed out on the message of repentance. I was good loving my neighbor, I was good at tithing, and I was excited about going to heaven if I happened to die. But complete repentance from practiced sin was not a priority. I felt that if I stayed with Christ long enough, the sins that really tempted me would just kind of fade away.
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
As I grew in knowledge and began to study for myself. The concept of repentance came into focus. I began to seek it and to pray for it, not a gradual change but immediate. As I began to seek out this knowledge I was strengthened to turn away from sins that had plagued me since my youth, some I was aware of and others I had no idea how my actions broke the heart of God. With this revelation, I realize that I am now qualified to share in his inheritance not by my works or deeds, not by the things that I have stopped doing. I am qualified because of the sacrifice of the Son. So yes faith in Christ is everything but the Book of James explains very well that faith that does not produce fruits is dead. Faith that does not cause a true change in us is really just an acknowledgment of a fact and even Demons know that Jesus is real but it does them no good because it does not cause them to turn from their wickedness (James 2:19).
Forgiveness and grace are powerful and are freely given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. But these gifts must work in accordance with repentance. How could we expect to be forgiven or receive grace for something we fully intend to do again? In closing faith that doesn’t produce genuine change or repentance is not true faith and is useless. But true faith in Christ Jesus is what qualifies us for our inheritance and what makes us fit to serve the Kingdom.