So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. - James 2:17
Work without faith cannot save you - we don’t get into heaven because we’ve been good. None of us are good enough to make it into heaven on our own, though many hold up their works to others and justify their salvation comparatively - at least I’m not as bad as he is! At the same time, James reminds us here that faith without works cannot save us either. Our works are the fruit of our faith and what demonstrate that faith is alive in us. It is both faith and works working together that bring us into relationship with Christ and the promise of eternal salvation.
Some have discounted the book of James for this very reason - even Martin Luther thought that James’ focus on works was claiming that our salvation is a result of our works. But James is not saying one is more important than the other, he is claiming that both faith and works are equally important when considering salvation.
It is true the foundation of our biblical faith must be a deep intellectual understanding that God exists. Faith does start with a trust that God created this universe, and that He sent is only Son to die on the cross so that we may have eternal life with Him. Faith is also the belief that when you surrender your life to Him, the Spirit will come to dwell in your heart and transform you into His image. Faith will continue to grow and change you.
But faith is not just knowing the truths of the gospel, faith is about living those truths out as well. Our faith cannot merely stay in our head space, it must move to our hands and feet as well. As our intellectual understanding of our faith grows, our behavior must change. Faith is not something you merely think about, faith is something you do as well.
If your heart is truly surrendered to Christ, you cannot help but to see the broken world as He does. That vision should break your heart for people who do not know Him, and spur you into action toward change.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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