Faith In Action
To say that you have faith is good. To show that you have faith is better. The truth is, believing in God doesn’t necessarily make you a good Christian. Even the devil believes in God! (James 2:19). It’s a little humbling (and terrifying) to think that believing in God makes you no better than the devil. But that’s the reality. Granted, the devil may be acting against God intentionally, but your inactions for God is in essences an action against Him. No action is an action. Not speaking is speaking.
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” (James 2:14) James continues with asking how that (no actions) can save anyone… And isn’t that one of our true callings as Christians? To teach/show/love others? (Commandment number two- right after commandment number one: love God). (Matthew 22:38-39, Mark 12:30-31) If we really believe that God is Who He says He Is, then shouldn’t we want to shout it from the roof tops? Shouldn’t we want to show others? What it boils down to is- if you truly have faith, (if you truly love God with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength) you will want to do…
There are too many people in the Bible to mention that acted on their faith (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Paul…) (There’s even an entire chapter of Hebrews (Hebrews 11) devoted to ‘great examples of faith’, and they all acted…- read it- they all start out with ‘It was by faith that (insert name) that [verb] (verb: word indicating action or state)… Abraham: you know the story. He left his home without knowing where he was going, and then lived there like a foreigner- all by faith. (Genesis 15:6) James shows that Abraham was shown to be ‘right with God’ for what he did. Paul shows that Abraham was shown to be ‘right with God’ because of his faith. Did you catch that? The verses don’t contradict each other- they complement each other: Abraham was counted ‘righteous’ for what he did because he believed. (It’s probably good to note that our actions will not determine our salvation- but our faith will (this is an entirely separate message): (Romans 3:28)).
It’s also important to reiterate that not taking action, is in itself, taking action. By not helping God (aka not doing for Him), you are hurting Him (aka doing for the devil) (John 8:44). Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees because they followed the law (they tithed) BUT they didn’t follow the ‘important aspects of the law’: justice, mercy and faith. (Okay, so you don’t think you’re as ‘important’ as a Pharisee was back then… do you think you’re more important than a fig tree?) (Matthew 21:19, Mark 11:13-14) The fig tree looked good; it had promise to be fruitful, but upon closer inspection, it was inactive (hadn’t produced fruit). WE are the symbolic fig tree. We choose to produce fruit, or be dormant. Jesus cursed the fig tree for not producing fruit. And we’re more important than the actual fig tree…(if we’re more valuable to Him than birds (Matthew 6:26), we’re more valuable to Him than a fig tree).
Ephesians 2:8-10: summation: God saved you (by His Grace) because you believed; you are saved—not because of anything you did—but because He loves us and created us (we are His masterpiece)—therefore we can do the ‘good things He planned for us’. We believe, therefore we act. Faith without deeds is useless (James 2:17, James 2:20) “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” (James 2:26). That’s a bit pungent… or is it? This life is for God; not us. When we truly have faith and love God (commandment #1), then [verb] we will love [verb] others. And that is action. (Galatians 5:6)