Thursday, November 29, 2018

Showing our Faith by our Works

We are living in a time of faith-filled words only. Jesus walked His talk and expected His people to do the same on a daily basis. As Jesus' disciples, doing good works is the result of our faith in God.  

The apostle James provided an important principle to live by: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (2:14, ESV). James expounded further in practical terms: If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 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? (2:15-16, ESV). He, then, concluded the matter, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (2:17, ESV). David C. Grabbe explained it this way:

In God's mind, true faith or living faith is virtually synonymous with obedience and works. Faith and obedience are interchangeable, even though they are not specifically the same thing. This is just like the Bible's usage of mind, heart, and spirit—they are not specifically the same thing, yet they are so interconnected that they really cannot be separated.

There are two things we need to avoid. First, we must avoid having rhetorical faith where speaking faith-filled words but lacking any manifestation of good works, thereby produces nothing.  Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers described, “Faith must be embodied in acts: "faith, without acts of faith, is but a dream." "The two cannot be separated, for they are given in one by God to man, and from him go back in one to God.” What’s the biblical application? John (the Baptist) replied, "Whoever has two tunics should share with him who has none, and whoever has food should do the same" (Luke 3:11, NIV).  

The other kind to avoid is a dead faith. Having a dead faith is characterized as being a spiritual person having only faith but without manifestation of good works. Steven J. Cole explained, “Genuine saving faith manifests itself in good deeds. If a person claims to have faith but has no resulting works, his claim is suspect.” Jesus Himself provided the means to keep our faith alive and manifesting good works: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV).

Maintaining the impact of showing how real faith works must be felt within and outside the sphere of our influence. It begins by having real faith producing good works seen and felt by the unbelieving community. It is the kind of faith with a distinct purpose of glorifying God as they witness its application. Next, real faith operating through good works is attained when Bible-believing Christians becoming doers of God’s Word and in their actions testifies of God’s changing power in one’s life (James 1:22a). William Booth shared this excellent insight:

Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.

Finally, real faith through good works is affirmed when the needs in the community of believers are met especially during tough times as a reminder of God’s presence working through His people (Titus 3:14).  Martin Luther explained, “The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle.”  

In summary, here are three things we need to remember:
1.      Real faith leads us to do good works, therefore, never miss an opportunity to do so.
2.      Real faith with good works is a testimony to God’s Word of meeting people’s needs, therefore, let our faith equals our generosity in doing good works.
3.      Real faith only impacts people’s lives when our good works become an application of what we preach about God’s provision, therefore, let’s practice what we preach.

Let’s talk again!