Faith works. It really does work. As a matter of fact if it isn’t working James says it is dead Faith. Faith that works gives life. A “faith” that demands my dead works (Heb 6:1, 9:14), is dead, it is faith in me not God. Faith is operative and real. It is tangible and bold. It takes captive the wisdom of the world and replaces it with the wisdom of God. It agrees that God moves mountains. It does not put a shovel in your hand. Faith says “God will” because He cannot lie.
Faith demands radical obedience to Jesus, not to a list of religious rules. This radical obedience is submission to His authority. Obedience of the faith shouts Jesus is King and there is no lie that can convince me otherwise. I host His Kingship wherever I go. My obedience is to host Him as King. His Kingship brings sight to the blind, heals the sick, saves, delivers, raises the dead, casts out demons…in one phrase, defeats the works of the devil.
Faith agrees that God is the source of all good. Faith reveals the radical love of God in Jesus. Faith declares all his love and goodness is focused on me as if I were the only one. Faith reveals that same love from Him in me for all His children. Faith tells me how awesome God is in everything He does. Faith ejects me from the couch to engage others in life-changing encounters. Faith defeats the lies about who God is and exchanges them for a perfect relationship with my father (righteousness).
Faith isn’t idle. Faith isn’t lists and rules. Faith isn’t facts and figures. Faith isn’t doctrine and dogma. Faith isn’t religion. Faith works. It really does.
For so long I wrestled with the whole Faith, works, Grace and salvation thing. The problem was the teaching found in man’s wisdom. This was desperate teaching based on fear and the desire to control and manipulate and dominate others and live in fear and ignore the power of God and…You get the idea…When applied in church it becomes religion.
God is not waiting around to be impressed by me. He isn’t holding a clipboard taking notes about what I did or didn’t do today. He lives inside me. He is my King. He is my brother. He is my Lord. He is my friend. He is my teacher. He is my comforter. He is my Father. He is everything. He is Jesus.
The faith that is from God and convinces us of His truths, the faith that gives us a peek behind the scenes, this faith really puts things in perspective. God bless the pulpit pounding pastors of potential promises postponed. God bless the terror taunting teachers of tenuous ties. I must trust God that even in the burning lake of endless-guilt there are slivers of truth. I survived it all so there must be many more out there to rescue.
If you disagree with me and insist on working out of your effort and your power and insist that others do the same “or else”, my question is how’s your dead raising? That was a “work” that Jesus did.
That may sound extreme to You. I do apologize for abrupt and abrasive agitation. The truth can go down sideways sometimes. Our works in our power are dead works. God’s “works” are in His power. That same power made us and all the universe. My “works” are to believe in Him.
Jn 6:28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (ESV)
This “work of God” is living, life-giving faith. Jesus has made His home in me. I get to believe in Him in me. My radical obedience is to agree with Jesus and His plan. That is the faith that works. It may be a kind word to a friend and it may be raising the dead. God’s in charge not me. My faith says his plan is way better than mine. My faith says that whatever Jesus did as himself on Earth should look like what he is doing in me on earth.
Maybe you don’t believe me so I’ll let the God speak for Himself. I think God likes to glorify Jesus in us through His power.
2Th 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Stop with all the religious effort. Work in His power by faith in Him through His love.
Gal 5:4 If you want to be made holy by fulfilling the obligations of the Law, you have cut off more than your flesh— you have cut yourselves off from Christ and have fallen away from the revelation of grace! 5 But the Holy Spirit convinces us that we have received by faith the glorious righteousness of Christ. 6 When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to Him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. The only thing that truly matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love. (Passion Translation)
Paul knew this very well. He made sure the people understood that it was God working in him not “him working:”
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESVST)
It is always about Jesus. My faith is in Him. My faith is from Him. My faith is because of Him. The question you need to ask is two-fold:
1. What would Jesus do? I know we have asked this question and it has become cliché. See it differently. If Jesus walked up to a person in a wheelchair what would He do? If He encountered a 13-year-old rape victim what would He do? If He encountered a hungry group of people what would He do? If a child died from a disease what would He do? If a family member was trapped in drug addiction, what would He do? If His mother had cancer, what would He do?
2. Do you have the faith for Him to use you to do the same thing? He is operating in you and through you. You get to believe in Him. That is faith that works. That is living faith. That is faith in Jesus.
Faith really works, it really does. Ask Jesus to show you. He can’t wait for you to step into His plan and His design for your life.
(answers to the quiz in 1. above: get him out, restore her virginity, multiply food, raise the child from the dead, deliver them from addiction, heal her)