Balance versus Synergy

synergy: the working together of two things, to produce an effect greater than each could produce by itself.

I love the book of James. I re-read the whole thing, today, for the who-knows-how-many time, and I cannot for the life of me see how some find James incompatible with the tapestry of grace found in the rest of the New Testament. James and Paul were not at odds. James and Paul didn't even "balance each other out". James and Paul, the book of James along with all other passages of New Covenant Scripture, work together incredibly harmoniously, and powerfully synergistically.

I don't worry so much about "balance" when I teach. In fact, you will almost never hear a perfectly "balanced" message, in person or in writing, from any preacher or teacher, regardless of how anointed or learned. To be "in balance" means two opposing weights (ideas, truths)more or less cancel each other out. No emphasis can be given to one side or the other - not and "be balanced". When you go for "balance", you will at some point encounter the Strain of the Artificial. (You also become quite critical...the tense sort of person who parses every word.) Anything alive is always moving around on you. Balance is a still-life painting. Synergy is art-in-motion.

The gospel isn't entirely balanced, but it is full of divine synergy. It isn't a letter, it is a spirit. The gospel can't be contained to a neat, intellectually equalized, logical, left brained package. It is both disturbing and comforting. It is living and powerful, full of concepts that, if taken separately, in some artificial effort towards balance, will cancel out effectiveness. But these same truths, if made alive in us, will work together to produce an effect much greater than the sum of their parts. No one illustrates this better than James.James 2: 17 ~ Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. {alone: Gr. by itself}Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Faith...real grace through faith...will, in time and over time, change us from the inside out. Not the outside in. The Message, in James, says it this way, "A seamless unity of believing and doing."


The believing part comes first, by the way. You nor I will ever live beyond what we truly believe. What we truly believe will be lived out.

You can believe what you like. As for me...I am washed. I am made clean. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I have been bought with a price, and am of immense value to God, because of the sacrifice of His son.

If I hear the truth spoken loud enough and long enough, I just might believe it. Whatever I believe about who God is, will translate to what I believe about who I am. That sort of faith cannot help but be active, and the resultant activity cannot help but affirm and deepen what I have come to believe.


It all starts with the good news of the finished work of Christ. My life begins there, ends there, and will be sustained for all my days in between, by faith in that finished work. without works really IS dead.
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