Encouragement for your daily walk with God
I’m concerned at the alarming number of professing Christ followers who believe that there is no relationship between what they believe and what they do. In their minds, requiring good works violates the principle of faith. In other words, one is judged solely by what they believe, not by what they do.
And yes, there are those who swing the pendulum in the opposite direction and say that one is judged solely by good works. I understand where they get that [see James 2:24], but a belief that says you earn your salvation through works alone is heretical.
It’s that age old “Paul said - James said” argument. Can you know if someone is a true Christ follower by watching his or her behavior? Both Paul and James resoundingly say, “Yes!”
Paul said that we are saved by grace through faith, God’s gift to us, so that no one could boast that they earned their salvation by any means [Ephesians 2:8-9]. In the next breath he explained that true salvation results in good works, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” [2:10].
Likewise, Paul wrote to Titus that we are not saved by our works, but rather through the mercy and grace of God [Titus 3:5]. But he also told Titus what that grace leads to, “…to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly right now” [2:11-12].
James taught the same thing, that God redeems the ungodly by the implanted Word, which enables a person to progress in holiness [James 1:18, 21]. That’s divine work, not human effort. And yet, he followed that by saying if the divine work has taken place in your life, it will show up in good works, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works” [James 2:18].
The Greek word, deiknuo [pronounced dake.noo’.oh] translated show, means, to exhibit, to demonstrate, or put on display. Mincing no words, James points out that it is impossible to verify true faith in God apart from a holy life because doctrine and deed are inseparable.
You shouldn’t be confused how faith and works relate. They go together. Your works are a living testimony of the saving grace of God. When a person tells me they are a Christ follower on the basis that they “believe” in Jesus, but there is no evidence of that belief in their actions, I say they should examine themselves to see if they are really in Christ or not.
So, let’s get to work, dear Christ follower. Make it your aim to glorify God through your obedient response to biblical truth, because true faith produces good works!
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?... You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. James 2:14, 24