By Edwin Christiaan
Tekel means ‘weighed’ – you have been weighed on the balances and have failed the test.Daniel 5:27 NLT
This was part of a message of doom, hand written by God on a wall meant for King Belshazzar of Babylon. The prophet Daniel was the only one who was able to interpret and explain this message to King Belshazzar, a corrupt king who forgot God and slipped into a very sinful way of life. He used the cups from God’s Temple for his own drinking and idol worshiping party – in other words – using what had been dedicated to God, for sinful purposes.
Today, this mishandling of the sacred things of God could include financial donations, church buildings, and anything else that has been set apart for serving God that we unfaithfully use for our own selfish pleasure or to benefit ourselves in God’s name. King Belshazzar was weighed whether he was living according to God’s Word, but he failed the test of faith and ultimately was condemned by God who told him:
But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!Daniel 5:23 NLT
I believe that those who profess to be Christians are in line to be weighed and tested by God to see if their faith in Him is really genuine.
In the book of Corinthians, we read that the believers were called to examine and test themselves to see whether they were really Christians who walked in obedience to God’s Word.
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test. I hope you recognize that we have passed the test and are approved by God.2. Corinthians 13:5-6 NLT
Not everyone who talks about God and heaven belongs to God’s Kingdom. We meet a lot of people who think that if they are good people and say religious things, they will automatically be rewarded with eternal life in heaven. But in reality, as the Bible teaches, it is faith in Jesus Christ only that will count on Judgment Day.
Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
In other words, it is not what we say or the ‘good’ we so-called do using the name of God, but it is what we really do in obedience to God’s will that counts. True faith in God transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts. If our life remains unchanged, we don’t truly believe the truths we claim to believe. True faith involves a commitment of our whole self to God which ultimately results in a changed life and good deeds.
So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.”James 2:17-18 NLT
Here is a good example of faith that shows good deeds, when Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to a self-righteous expert in the religious law, whom Jesus exposed the real truth of his heart to, as this religious Jewish man said he followed the law that says to love your neighbor as yourself, but in reality he didn’t. It was so, that there was a deep hatred between Jews and Samaritans. The Jews saw themselves as pure descendants of Abraham, while the Samaritans were a mixed race, produced when Jews intermarried with other people after being exiled.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied with an illustration: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a Jewish priest came along; but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man. ‘If his bill runs higher than that,’ he said, ‘I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.’
Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.Luke 10:25-37 NLT
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Let me emphasize, that when it says we ought to love our neighbors as ourselves, it means anyone of any race, social or religious background who is in need, and it also means that we should act to meet the person’s need.
To this religious Jewish teacher of the law, the person least likely to act correctly would be the Samaritan. In fact, he could not bear to say Samaritan in answer to Jesus’ question: “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” This attitude exposed his lack of the very thing that he had earlier said the law commanded to do, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Again, it is not what we say, but our good deeds of faith that speaks louder than words!
The Christian life involves both freedom and discipline with the goal of honoring and glorifying God, and to be an example for others to follow. The essential disciplines are prayer, Bible study, and worship that will equip and spiritually progress us. Or, as the apostle Paul says: “Winning a race requires purpose and discipline.”
The Christian life takes hard work, self-denial, and tough preparation. That means at times we must even give up something good in order to do what God wants. Living for God means a life of strict discipline in order to carry out His goal. It is easy to tell others how to live and then not take our own advice of obeying God in everything. We do not want to be weighed and fail the test and be disqualified, but instead we need to practice what we preach!
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.1. Corinthians 9:27 NLT
Copyright©2009 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan