“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him.”
The above is a simple and well-known scripture for Christians…
But what isn’t so well understood by some is just what makes up a true faith which is pleasing to the Lord.
Let me start by saying that believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of humankind alone isn’t enough to constitute true, satisfactory faith. The faith God is looking for is the kind which motivates us to good works in His name.
As proof of this, let us consider the words of (James 3:20-26). Here we read:
“20 Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness,[a] and he was called God’s friend.24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
Here, James is speaking to a group of Jewish converts to Christianity who were still holding to a few of their old beliefs. Some of this group thought faith alone was good enough for their salvation, while others leaned more on good deeds.
The disciple is making clear that true faith is completed by the deeds it motivates from the heart. He uses the example of Abraham who was willing to offer up his only son on the altar because it was commanded by God. As Abraham drew the knife to do the deed, the Lord stopped him, and credited him as a righteous man and God’s friend!
In (V.24), we read that a man is justified by deeds and not by faith alone. James even credits the works of Rahab, a prostitute, for taking in two men of God and sending their enemies off in a misdirected pursuit of them, (see Joshua 2).
But (V.26) is probably the most telling verse of this passage. For it is here that the Lord through James tells us that just as the body is dead without the spirit, faith without deeds is dead. In other words, if we have no deeds driven by our beliefs, we have no faith!
It is not enough to say we believe in God, and that through the work of Jesus Christ at the cross, we have grace to cover our sins. If we do not use the gifts which the Lord has given to all of us to spread the word and help others, our faith is non-existent.
The faith which saves us saves others as well. Therefore, as ambassadors for Christ in this world, we need to be active in sharing the gospel in some way with people, and do so from a true and sincere heart.
Keeping our beliefs in the gospel to ourselves is like hiding our lights under a bushel. The purpose is to put our light, (beliefs), out for all to see, (Matthew 5:15). We are to sow the seeds of God’s righteousness, (Matthew 13:3-9). We are to be ready to give an answer for the hope which lies within us, (1 Peter 3:15).
Christians are not to say ‘we are already saved by grace through our faith, so we need not do anything more.’ Again, our faith is validated by the deeds which are done from the heart as God’s children in Christ…
Now not all of us are called to be preachers, or teachers of the scriptures. God gave some to do these things, but He also bestowed gifts to encourage others, to equip the saints for works of ministry, and to build up the body of Christ into maturity for more good works…(see Ephesians 4:11-13).
Let us find what God is calling us to do in His name and get about doing it! May we understand more about true faith and His saving grace, helping in our way to pass it along to others. For this is the will of our Lord concerning the Christian way of life.
citations: ~biblegateway.com~ Google~ biblehub.com~