“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
For a long while, I felt like the passage above from the book of James rivaled this one from Ephesians…and it bothered me:
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9
In fact, these passages don’t rival each other in the least. They are simply written for different audiences, and are both speaking about true faith.
So what kind of faith do you need exactly?
One that is real.
James isn’t saying here that grace is negated. No, the grace of God, Jesus’ death on the cross is what saves us from our sin and brings us to eternal life. No, James is saying that if you truly know Jesus your life will be a reflection of that.
This is not to say we aren’t human and make
a ton of mistakes (Romans 3:23), but once you encounter the Lord, you cannot help but be changed! Having true faith is more than just believing in God…It is more than believing Jesus was truly the Son of God. Faith is defined in Hebrews as “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The Second letter to the Corinthians tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7). If you are living by faith [the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen], you are putting your trust and reliance solely on Him – or at least striving to do so.
And how would a lifestyle like that look?
You would be kind to others, no matter how they treated you.
You would give anything you had to help someone else.
You would pray for those around you – whether you liked them or not.
You would never be worried about how your basic needs would be met, so you wouldn’t live in a constant stress about finances.
Your life would emanate the Light of Christ.
So then, plain faith, alone, isn’t enough. True faith – the kind with the Holy Spirit living inside of you – guiding your life.
If your life isn’t completely surrendered to Him, and He isn’t knocking on the door of your heart about it…
What kind of faith do you have?
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