Last week in my Bible study the discussion of faith without works was on the table. Very interesting and different perceptions were expressed. For my part, if I am a true believer, then with my faith comes an outward expression of that faith. I also believe that those “works” have an inward component that is not seen by the world. We can be a prayer warrior and never serve a roll in the soup line at the shelter; we can bring names to the foot of the cross over and over and never teach a verse in Sunday school; we can cry from the depths of our souls for those we care for and they may never know. No one will ever prove to me that those hours in the prayer closet are not works.
And, while works can include a quick note to a co-worker in appreciation, a neighbor mowing the lawn next door while he’s at it, a little boy bringing flowers to his teacher, reading to a nursing home resident who’s no longer able to read for himself, relieving the young mother from her duties for an hour, or taking a meal to someone; to some folks these are not works but gifts of themselves, their time and their resources back to the Father.
I believe there are seasons in our lives when the manifestation of works in our lives may not be evident immediately to others; but they are evident to the Father. Perhaps those times are opportunities for others to express their faith in works that He has prepared for them to do for us.
Faith moves us to do different things. And by these things others can see the evidence of the impact of that faith in our lives. So whether you think that you must “do good works” that are actually work; or whether you think that there are a multitude of ways that faith can be expressed, seems to me, they are all evidence of our faith.
Of course, if you are sitting around on your duff, doing nothing at all…. then maybe it’s time to sit up, take note of the world around you and find where you can best express your faith!
Some things to ponder:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-14
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Romans 3:23-28
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:1-8