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You did well in encouraging them to speak to their pastor. He is in a position to minister to them, using Scripture to offer rebuke, comfort and guidance. No doubt, you are praying for your friend and her husband. Keep doing that. Ask that the Lord work through his word in the heart of the husband so that he loves his wife, “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Pray that the husband confesses his sinful attitudes and words toward his wife, receives forgiveness in faith and then treats his wife with love and respect as a fellow member of God’s family (1 Peter 3:7). Finally, continue to support your friend by being a good listener. At the same, recognize what you can and cannot do when it comes to improving her marriage. God bless all your efforts!
Context is so vitally important to understanding Scripture passages. With context in mind, here is a brief explanation of those passages, showing how they are very much in keeping with the Bible’s teaching that salvation comes through faith alone. Matthew 7:21 – Jesus explains that it is not mere familiarity with him that saves. What saves is doing the will of his heavenly Father. What is his heavenly Father’s will? It is trusting in his Son as Savior (John 6:29, 39, 40). Matthew 25:31ff – Faith in Jesus Christ saves, but faith is alive and active, accompanied by good works (cf. the book of James). Faith alone saves (Mark 16:16), but saving faith is never alone. John 5:28-29 – Similar to the preceding section, people will be judged on the basis of faith or unbelief. Saving faith will show itself in good works, while unbelief will manifest itself in evil deeds. Romans 2:6-8 – The people in verse 7 are believers. The people in verse 8 are unbelievers. Once again, these verses illustrate saving faith and unbelief in action in people’s lives. 1 Corinthians 13:13 – The entire thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians emphasizes the importance of Christian love. While the apostle does not specifically explain why love is “the greatest” of faith, hope and love, we could understand his words in a couple of ways that are consistent with the context of Scripture. In our relationship to God and others, love becomes very important because it is that quality that emulates the very nature of God (1 John 4:16). In addition, God’s love for us and our love for him will be eternal. There is nothing in the verse to undermine the Bible’s consistent teaching of salvation through faith alone. 1 Peter 1:17 – Once again, what people do in life (their “work”) is evidence of what is in their heart: faith or unbelief. God will judge what is in the heart, but neither faith nor unbelief resides in a vacuum. 1 Peter 4:8 – God is encouraging us in this verse to deal with one another with a loving, forgiving spirit. If there is a theme in the verses you cited, it is that faith and unbelief will give evidence of their existence. God judges on the basis of what is in the heart. What is in the heart reveals itself in daily life. Once again, faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011