Which is right: Justification by faith alone or justification by works? These arguments are found within the writings attributed to Paul and James.
Romans 10: 9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
This is great but faith is NOT passive. It is the active desire to do things which show devotion to that in which you have faith.
Jesus tells us: 1 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The righteous faithful see a need and do what they can to take care of it. Then those who speak faith and do nothing (lukewarm) are tossed away.
So you tell me, does proclaiming your faith alone get you in?
Paul says all you have to do is proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus says that you must live as a servant (helper) to our fellow man. It is one thing to say the sinner’s prayer and inviting Jesus in, it is a whole different thing to pray it and live in the prescribed manner set before us. Now the works that Paul spoke against are the legalisms of Judaism. Some misinterpret this to even include the Ten Commandments which is wrong. Jesus fulfilled the need for the sacrifices and feasts. He did not command us to no longer follow God’s Law which is the Ten Commandments.
So Paul says faith will cause you to do the things required of you by God. He contradicts himself but then there is this understanding, having faith in something usually is followed by living it. Faith in this respect does not have to be on show. The smallest deeds done because you live by His Words and are showered by His Grace and Mercy…..
20 So Jesus said to them …if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
James says, “Faith without works is dead”. He is specifically saying that Faith, once professed, cannot be true faith without following the commands and requirements placed upon us through the truth of Scripture. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew (above)? James also says, “Faith apart from works is useless”. The active faith is works done in faith not meant for payment or accolades. Actively following the Ten Commandments, and attempting to live a Christ-like life, sharing and witnessing Christ are all part of being in Christ.
True Worship and Praise shows your faith as well. When we Praise, we show our devotion by giving God the Glory. When we Worship, we share our needs with others and serve one another basking in the Mercy of Jesus (In other words Praise is TO God and Worship is FOR God). Church is not a place to showcase talent and be singled out. It is not just You and God, it is His People and God. You are standing in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with worshipful humility. Lead others through the words or motions that come from the Spirit within.
All this is Faith in Action especially the small things. Those kind words, your presence, prayer with another when seeing the need, showing God’s love in servanthood.
Be the faithful servant God wishes us to be. Keep striving to emulate His Image from within. Love one another. Share Jesus without Fear.
All Honor and Praise is due Him. How do you honor God?