Let’s meditate on the part two of Biblical faith. Last week I conveyed three simple and basic points on the above topic. Now let’s move further to glean this wonderful gift of God. Allow me to paraphrase Hebrew 11:1-2 (Now faith is not just the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen but working/functioning through it the elders obtained a good report). Bible states faith is not just passive but it is also active. It does not mean just believing from heart and confessing from mouth but it also means working from hands and obeying from heart. Did the elders obtain the good report without working out their faith? Never, Careful study on Hebrew 11 will answer that question. So last week we heard about the saving faith but today we are going to look at working faith. Let’s see what the Apostles have to say about the topic working faith.
Disciples of Christ must progress from Saving Faith to working faith.
I assume Hebrew Ch.11 should have been written in golden ink. It is the account of those saints that proved their faith by works. Through their works they obtained the good report from God. Old Testament saints had both saving faith and working faith.
What does Apostle James says?
Careful study on James and Paul on Justification.
People have lot of bewilderment between the scriptures of Romans 4 and James 2. Paul says, Man is not justified by works but James says Man is justified by works. It may look like a contradiction but a detailed study is needed. In Romans, Paul makes it very clear that man is not justified by his works if it was so Abraham could have been justified by works. Holy Scriptures says, Abraham believed God and it was counted righteousness to him. The difference between two scriptures is: Paul is talking about the acceptance of sinner and James is talking about the works of the believer. A sinner is accepted not because of his works but justified by Grace. However this saved sinner should not lead the life by his saving Faith alone but by the works that proves his true Faith. James on the other hand tells us this if you are truly justified by Grace then show it in your works. Abraham was accepted not because of his earlier works but on the works he proved after being called righteous by God. James gives us a practical application to prove his point. If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and any one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; not withstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Praying for people who are in need is good but keeping money in the pocket and not helping them to fulfill their needs cannot be called as righteous or sincere faith. A prayer without work is dead! James says, prayer might warm people’s heart but that alone cannot soothe their present problem. We should be a present help for the destitute. Providing food to the hunger and offering dress to the naked is a pure representation of faith. Aiding our dear ones is painless but Christ taught us to feed or satisfy the needs of the enemies. Through this work we prove our faith in God.
What does Apostle Peter says on working faith?
1 Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; THAT YE SHOULD SHEW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO HATH CALLED YOU out of darkness into his marvelous light:
Apostle Peter exhorts us to show the goodness of God to others. God was good to you that He took you from the deep darkness into His marvelous light. Now it’s our prior duty to go and testify to the world and show the goodness of God through our life. We are chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people these are all our position that we receive through Grace of Jesus Christ. However the world sees our life and not our status, they see our attitude not our calling. The world should find Christ in us. D.L Moody said, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” .Do you live according to your position in Christ? Do you dwell according to your calling? What does the world read through your life? Does the world blaspheme the name of God because of your conduct? Do you dishonor God by breaking the command? Analyze and examine yourself in the light of the Word. We have a duty to show forth the goodness of God to the world through our life continuously. If our saving faith is not shining like the light through our works then we need to repent and do the first work or else when Christ will come in His glory we will be ashamed!
What does Apostle Paul says regarding working faith?
Ephesians5:1-5 be ye therefore FOLLOWERS OF GOD, as dear children; And WALK IN LOVE.
How can a person follow God without having faith in Him? And what are the works of such followers? Paul says they have to walk in love and shun all evil. We must endeavor our salvation daily with fear and awe. This helps us to walk in Love and offer our life as a living sacrifice to God. Not only shun ourselves from the works of flesh, and abstaining from unclean things but pursuing holiness of God, way of the Master, yielding the will in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Faith means believing God but it also means working with God to be His faithful follower. How can you walk with the belief and work together? For instance, my son walks with me but he gives his hands to hold. If you say you walk with Christ but did you hold his hand? We like to walk with God but we hesitate to give our hands to hold because we know if we give it is blessing but painful too. It hurts our will, our self-righteous, our pride, and our sinful desires.
Lastly, What Jesus spoke about Faith and works
Mathew 5:13-16 Christ never said “I will make you the light of the world and salt of the earth” but He said “You are the light of the world and Salt of the earth”. Everyone who is born of God is equipped and empowered with this property of Light and savory of salt. And as soon as he or she is saved their duty is clear! Look at early disciples, Andrew, John and Philip, woman at the well, Nicodemus, Peter and John. It’s our responsibility to shine before men who live in darkness but are we fulfilling our duty? Examine your heart. The main reason is ignorance, carelessness and laziness. They have either hid the light under bushel or lost the savor because of sin and worldliness. They have professing faith but not working faith!
What do we interpret from all these?
Faith alone is dead we need to have works that tells about our faith. Faith and works should go parallel.
- Works towards men – A careful study on the Epistle of James and the Sermon on the Mount will make us clear our works towards men. Let me sum up like this. The law says, “Love thy neighbor”. That’s our work towards men.
- Works that praises God – A city on a hill cannot be hidden, a lamp on the lampstand gives light to all, and a salt gives savor. All this metaphors are used to teach us that everyone who is in Faith should have working faith to show the goodness of God to the world.
- Works towards God – Be followers of God. Our salvation did not cost anything to us because Christ paid it all but Christian life thereafter will cost us. For that, we must work out our salvation daily. Taking up the cross daily, mortifying the deeds of flesh through the Power of Holy Spirit. Let me sum up the Law, it says “Love your God”. That’s our work towards God.
- Works for our own Growth – If a Christian is not growing that means he is dead! When a sinner believes in Christ, He is justified by God and sanctified by the working of the Spirit. He cannot grow more in justification because that is his position before God through Christ but he must grow in grace, grow in sanctification, grow in faith, and increase in love. We must grow until we reach the stature of Jesus Christ our Lord.
At the Day of Judgment, God will divide two groups: A group of goats and a group of sheep’s. They are mainly divided because of their nature. As it is stated sinners cannot be partakers with saints or righteous. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. The sheep would say when did we do all these?? The Almighty God would answer assuredly; I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Though the group of goats and the sheep’s were separated because of their nature but both the groups were judged according to their works.
This article supports this conclusion by setting forth this biblical case on Faith ie.., saving Faith and Working Faith. These two should go parallel in our Christian life. This topic is vast as ocean and I just tried to scratch the surface. May this article reach your yearning heart and help you to grow in faith.
Let me end this page with the words of Apostle Paul.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the Power of the Holy Ghost – Romans 15:13