Dead Faith?

Faith without ‘Good Deeds’ Is Dead

 

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

James 2:14-17 (NLT)

 

My last several messages had an underlying theme around salvation by Faith. I’m not seeking to diminish those thoughts at all, but I really would like to go a bit farther to focus on the genuine results of faith in Christ Jesus.

 

It’s Faith that saves us, but it’s only when that faith is acted on that we see the full impact of God in our own life and the lives around us.

 

A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:17-19 (NLT)

 

Faith in action will produce fruit; there is simply no doubt about it. This fruit is going to be in proportion to how fully engaged we are to our Faith in Christ. It doesn’t necessarily require massive amounts of investment in time, talent or resources. So, there is no reason that every believer is not acting on their faith; there are only excuses.

 

This ‘Faith in Action’ has nothing to do with your skills. As what God calls you to he will provide for.

 

Faith in action has nothing to do with you physical handicaps. Because of the myriad of ways we can engage our faith and put it work, it is only a matter of prayer and surrender that can result in finding ways to act on our faith.

 

Putting your faith in motion has nothing to do with the resources at your disposal.  It has everything to do with your heart and willingness to be obedient to Gods guidance in your life.

 

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

 

Paul in the passage above makes it abundantly clear that it is normal activity for believers to walk by faith, not by sight.  Let’s look at that statement a bit closer.  Even though this is a very short passage it says so much about how we are to exercise our faith.

 

Walk by faith.  It’s an action verb.  Faith is kinetic in nature. It has no value in a stationary state.  If it were naturally stationary it might be described as ‘Potential’.  However, potential suggest the ‘state’ of a thing and not what Paul is saying in either of these two passages we’ve touched on so far. Faith is in motion and there for kinetic.

 

Not by sight. As with ‘walk’ being an action, this word ‘sight’ in the Greek is translated from the word eidō.  If you consider this word from it’s base language that Paul penned it, takes on the nature of an intellectual event that is observed or you can reference. Here is an excerpt from the Greek definition:

 

to know: — be aware, behold, x can (+ not tell), consider, (have) know(-ledge), look (on), perceive, see, be sure, tell, understand, wish, wot. Compare

 

It is simply amazing how in so few words Paul has spelled out that ‘faith’ is nothing if it isn’t an ‘action’!  Faith without action isn’t faith at all really.  Because the nature of faith is that it is always at work.  It never is in that idle state. It remains kinetic by nature.

 

So, let’s bring these two concepts together that have been building the last couple of articles.

 

Prior to this we were talking about how we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ it is not of works (the condensed version). Now we can see that ‘Faith’ in it’s natural state is kinetic and results in action which produces fruit.

 

So, our works are worthless regarding our salvation, we must first put our trust and faith in Jesus who by His Grace redeems us. As we live out that faith it IS going to result in action on our part. This starts with repentance, but it goes so much further when we consider ‘Faith in Action’.  So, we come full circle.

 

Back top the scripture:

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

 

By grace through faith… Then…

 

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

James 2:14-17 (NLT)

 

How do we then exercise our faith?

 

What we are going to cover here is not going to encompass everything that we can do to exercise our faith but it is intended to give you a starting point from which you can begin or check you progress.  Some parts are more important than others, but the Holy Spirit is there to guide you just where your energies need to be focus.

 

Be a part of the body of Christ

Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

Acts 20:7 (NKJV)

 

While following Jesus is a very personal thing, it’s supposed to be ‘collectively individual’. What I mean by that term is while our relationship is 1 to 1 with Jesus. Our ‘1’ in that relationship, is a component of another relationship, which is Christ and His Church.  That of course is Body of Christ.  Just as the body functions best when all parts are supporting the rest of the body, we simply are not as effective when we isolate ourselves from the rest of the body. Wrap a string tightly around a finger and soon it will turn purple and become sore because it can’t get from the heart the nurturing blood flow it needs to flourish.  Tighten that string and have it on the finger long enough, the finger will suffer terrible stress and potential death.

 

We need fellowship to survive.  The first and foremost action of faith would be to gather together with other members of the body.  Most typically this would be a church or church body, but if that’s not possible it can take on other forms as well.

 

Come to the aid of others

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

 

This is true for everyone around us, but especially true of fellow believers. This is a portion of the Grace imparted to us that we share with other. Giving of our time, talent and resources to those who we can aid places us in lock step with the savior.

 

Be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

 

Giving your life to Christ and placing your faith in Him separates us, it changes us. We are no longer individuals we are part of a body of believers as mentioned in the last section. The role of that body is defined here.  It is nothing less than a priesthood. Every member of the Body of Christ is a Minister of the Gospel!  This may not mean that we stand in a pulpit and preach, but it does mean that we are called upon to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is one of the more important actions of faith that every believer should be engaged in.

 

Give priority to prayer

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

 

Prayer is essential in staying in maintaining a relationship with the Lord. No relationship can long endure without some form of communication. Prayer is our’s with God.

 

Be Thankful and Joyful

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

Be thankful for what you are blessed with regardless of your circumstances. This is transformational within us and makes the second part so easy, being joyful and rejoicing. Notice too that ‘pray without ceasing’ will keep you in constant contact with the Lord and further promote both the aspects of thankfulness and joy.

 

Conclusion

Exercise your faith. It’s not enough to sit on the bench.

 

Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.

1 Timothy 4:8-9 (MSG)

 

What kinds of ‘fruit’ then can we expect to see as result?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)

 

Note the verb ‘walk’ at the end of this passage.

 

Let’s put our Faith into action!