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Faith Works

Someone observed that faith with works is a force, but faith without works is a farce. Real faith will clothe the naked and feed the hungry. James 2:14-17 powerfully states this truth: 'What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." It is challenging to think that someone can think and say he has faith but in reality not have the kind of faith that will save the soul. But that is precisely the point James is wanting readers to grasp. He is telling us that while genuine faith is a force that works, faith without works is a fruitless farce! He goes on in James 2:19-20 to puncture the balloon of counterfeit faith with these piercing words- "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"

Inspired writers in the Bible have a way of coming right to the point. James is no exception when he writes to members of the church in the first century who claimed to have faith but whose faith was not working. The apostle John concurs with straightforward words in 1 John 3:17-18- "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

It is not just faith that works, love works, too! It is important to remember that these passages (and many others like them) were originally penned to Christians by writers under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit! God wants His people to understand that faith is more than a matter of belief and talk. It is a matter of behavior and action.

Mary Lyon challenges us to transform faith from farce to force with these words- "Trust in God and IQ something." Ruskin said, "Faith is that by which men live; not that which they talk about when they die." Now, does your faith work?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ