Faith Without Works Is Dead
Updated: May 4, 2018
Actions Speak Louder than words
Actions speak louder than words.
The proof of the pudding is in its taste.
Talk is cheap.
Walk the talk.
Faith without deeds is dead.(James 2:26 NIV)
Words can be empty. Did you ever have someone borrow money from you with the promise, “I’ll pay you back as soon as I get paid.”? The promise is hollow without the repayment.
I believe eating healthy and getting exercise are good things to do. Believing it and practicing it are two very different things.
I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, risen from the dead. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. But where the rubber meets the road is this: Is Jesus the Lord of ME? Do I actually follow His commands to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself?
God believes in us. As absurd as it may seem for the living God to love us and to seek the best for us when we have proven ourselves to be self-absorbed and even rebellious, He provedHe believes in us by taking action!God sent His Son to redeem us. Jesus didn’t just sayHe loves us and will forgive us by His mercy—He went to a Cross to prove it. Actions speak louder than words.
Sometimes we want faith in God to come down to easy believe-ism.Say the sinner’s prayer, tell Jesus we trust Him, receive forgiveness for our sins, and we’ve got it made. I’ve been saved—born again—so even though I am still weak and mess up, I’m redeemed. There is great comfort in trusting the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
But “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV)is not the only thing Jesus said about faith. Jesus also said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV)
James gives two concrete examples of faith that expresses itself in works—or doesn’t. He says, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”(James 2:12 NIV) When we see a need in a neighbor’s life, faith prays for them. Faith believesGod will provide what they need. And faith—real faith—takes action to meet the need if we can!”
James’ second example is Abraham. He says, “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”(James 2:21-22 NIV) His faith and his actions were working together. There it is. Abraham not only believedand trustedGod, he actedon that belief and trust. Faith is hollow—it is dead faith—if it is not expressed in the works of a transformed life. Talk is cheap. Walk the talk.
So the question becomes, what next step is God asking me to take to demonstrate—to Him, to the world and to myself—that my faith is genuine? Giving up a destructive habit? Reaching out to a lonely neighbor? Taking food to a family who has a loved one in the hospital? Getting involved in the local homeless shelter? Stepping up to serve in hospitality or children’s ministry or youth ministry at my church? Getting out of bed consistently to worship on Sunday? Tithing my income? Driving more considerately? Leaving a love note for my wife for no other reason than I love her? Posting only positive things that point to Jesus on my social media?
Only the Holy Spirit knows the next step for each of us. When we listen to Him and act accordingly, we put faith into action and prove it is living faith, and not dead faith.And that pleases Jesus very much!