Your Faith Revealed
Signs are helpful because of what they lead to, or reveal. For example, the sign of human life is breath. If you want to know if a human body is living, you look for signs of breathing. If you detect breath, you know immediately life is present.
What do you look for to know whether you have living faith or not? According to James, you look for signs of obedience. If you detect works of obedience, you have detected the presence of living faith.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26 NKJV)
We know we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We are not saved by our good works, but by the good work Jesus did for us in redemption. He accomplished our salvation by grace and we take possession of it by faith. Our works do not contribute to, or take from, what Jesus, and only Jesus could do. James knows this, too. Thank God!
But faith, according to James, is not mere mental assent. By its very nature, real faith is of the heart–it is our positive response and surrender of our hearts to what Jesus has done for us to solve the sin problem. This response always results in a change in our desires, leading to a positive change in both our attitudes and our actions.
Think of faith as a tree. The roots of the “faith tree” is what we believe and surrender our hearts to concerning Jesus. That is how we take possession of what grace offers. The fruit, on the other hand, of our “faith tree” are the works of obedience faith naturally produces whenever it is present and active. And in the same manner an apple on a tree reaveals the nature of the tree, so our works of obedience reveal what kind of faith we have. True or false, dead or alive, weak or strong.
I know Abraham’s faith was real, active, and strong. How can I be so certain? From his work of obedience! When God told him to offer up his son Isaac, the son of promise, his best son, the one he loved most, he obeyed.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:17, 19 NKJV)
Abraham’s work of obedience proved both the reality and the strength of his faith. It was the perfect expression of his faith.
Child of God, what type of faith are your works pointing to in your life? Is your faith in God’s love and grace, strong and active? It is, if you are manifesting the fruit of obedience to God’s Spirit and Word. It isn’t, if you are walking in disobedience to God’s revealed will for your life.
Pray about this, give thanks for God’s grace, and then take action to build your faith. How? By giving yourself continually to meditating on the Word until it takes root in your heart, renews your mind, and makes you a doer, and not a hearer only.
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25 NKJV)
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)