True Faith Produces Works

Daily Devotional: Day 38

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 1:26, KJV).

Today’s Bible verse is well known for the controversy it has generated among Christians, especially since the Protestant Reformation. This is a devotional, so we won’t go into the complexities of the controversy. But, let me say that God’s Word isn’t complicated at all. The problem is that people won’t let the Bible speak for itself. We tend to read too much of our own opinions into God’s Word. What we believe is powerful – powerful enough to influence the direction of our lives. Nearly everything we do in life is a product of what we believe. In today’s passage, James –  speaking about faith in God – says that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. He’s right, and God wants us to understand this. Some have tried to get around James’ statement to make it mean something different, but James means exactly what he said: faith without works is dead, and a dead faith doesn’t save anyone. James’ teaching agrees with everything else the Bible says about faith. (At another time, I shall write about how this fits into the doctrine of being saved by grace through faith, apart from works). True faith produces corresponding works. This means, contrary to what some suppose, faith is not action-less.

If our faith in God doesn’t lead to corresponding action, something’s wrong. Be sure to read Hebrews 11:1-40 for further insights on how faith produces works. Whenever there’s a separation between what we claim to believe and what we do, there’s a problem: Perhaps we don’t truly believe or we’re being hypocritical. This is the fundamental principle that is behind the biblical teaching that faith without works is dead. At no point does the Bible propose a faith devoid of works. For example, if you truly believe that God has made you righteous through the atonement of Christ, that same faith will produce works of righteousness in your life. If, however, the said faith doesn’t produce fruit of righteousness, something’s wrong somewhere.  Faith that’s alive always produces fruit. Ask God to ignite faith in your heart, so that your faith can bear fruit for his glory.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the gift of faith. Stir within me your gift of faith, and let it come alive in my actions, speech and thoughts. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 11:1-40

When You Yield to Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 31

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

Paul puts it so well. What he says in today’s Bible passage is a concise and excellent description of what a Christian’s life is and ought to be. Let’s look at what this Scripture means for us. As a Christian, there are essential truths you must keep in mind always. One of these truths is that you are crucified with Christ. This is a deep truth, so take time to reflect on what that means. You didn’t get crucified with Christ physically, but you’re crucified with him nonetheless. It’s truth. Take a moment and visualize how being crucified with Christ would look like (Read Romans 6:1-23). The old you, i.e. the “you” before you got born again is crucified with Christ. That old self was unrighteous, a slave to sin and faced condemnation. It’s this self which is now crucified with Christ. This old self no longer exists; he is crucified, i.e. dead. Once Jesus got rid of the old self, he had to replace it with something else. So, you’ve been born again and given a new self, made righteousness and filled with God’s righteousness, just like Jesus. But here’s the thing: if you forget – and many Christians do forget – that your old self is crucified with Christ, there’s a big chance you’ll repeat the habits of the old crucified self. Again, read Romans 6:1-23; Paul explains this point at length.

The key is to remember what occurred at your new birth. If you remember that your old sinner-self is crucified and dead, it’ll make a big difference in how you operate. Of course, you’ll face temptation daily, but the truth of God in you will make you overcome. I know . . . It sounds simple, but that’s how it works. The Gospel is simple, but it produces amazing results. You must remind yourself often about the realities of your new birth until they become a normal part of your daily life; then, you can relate to what Paul says in today’s Bible verse. Like Paul, you’ll get to the point where you can confidently, but humbly say that you’re crucified with Christ; nevertheless you live; yet not you, but Christ lives in you. This is the essence of being a Christian, being born again, being identified with Christ. It’s the point where Jesus is in the driving seat of your life. It’s the best thing that could happen to you. If you’re reading this devotional, I’m excited for you. I’m praying that the Father’s wonderful plan for you be fulfilled, and that you enjoy this wonderful and glorious life Jesus has given you.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the wonderful life you’ve given me in Christ. I want Jesus to take over my life. I step aside and yield to his Lordship. You are my good Father. Let your will be done in my life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21