Our last post dealt with God's chastening and our faith from James chapter two. Today we will be talking about one aspect of the relationship between saving faith and works. Here it is: the only way our faith can be seen by other human beings is by our works. That is the point of the last half of James chapter two. Biblical faith is not just accepting certain facts as true. Biblical faith involves making a decision, trusting in the character of a person - God. Those decisions will result in actions. Hebrews chapter eleven explores this in depth. The saints of old believed what God said and acted trusting God to keep His word. It's that simple. For us it is equally simple. What we believe about God will result in actions. What those actions are, however, depends upon the specific promise of God or the specific character trait of God that we are trusting. Let's look at a few examples from James chapter two.
Abraham (James 2:21-24)
Abraham believed God's promise that through Isaac, God would give him descendants without number. Therefore, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham obeyed, believing that God would somehow intervene and save Isaac. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Rahab (James 2:25)
Rahab believed the reports she heard that Israel was God's chosen people and the rightful inhabitants of the land of Canaan. Therefore she acted to help the spies, and the nation, to obtain God's promised inheritance.
God's Provision (James 2:1-16)
If we believe that God will provide all of our needs, James gives two examples of how that will affect our actions. First, we will not feel so bound to court the favor of the rich. God can, and will provide for us and our ministries, we will seek Him to provide, not man. Also we will be willing to share our material provisions to those in need. If we believe that God will meet our needs. we will joyfully allow ourselves to be used by God to meet the needs of others.
Now we come to the central issue of this chapter, what some people call "saving faith". The truths of the gospel are that we have sinned against God, earning for ourselves eternal punishment in Hell. Jesus Christ died in our place, taking our punishment and resurrected, offering us forgiveness and eternal life as a gift. (I Corinthians 15:1-4, II Corinthians 5:21, Romans 6:23)
Romans 10:9-13 reveals to us what saving faith involves:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Saving faith is when we believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that God raised Him from the dead. The action that results from genuine, saving faith is calling upon the name of the Lord. That is very clear from these verses. Verse nine mentions both the belief and the action, confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus. Verse ten reiterates the connection between our faith and confession. Verse thirteen emphasizes one last time that calling upon the name of Christ is the evidence of saving faith.
The actions which result from saving faith are not the immediate stopping of all major sins in our life. It is not immediate and continued faithfulness to church services. It is not dedicated, daily reading of our Bibles, witnessing to everyone we see and changing the way we talk and dress. The action that results from saving faith is calling on the name of the Lord, period. Those other actions are wonderful, needed and should be expected from one who is born again through the blood of Christ. But they all require separate decisions of faith. With some, those decisions are made very rapidly after the decision to trust Christ. Others take longer for various reasons, one of which is the amount of discipleship they receive after their conversion. We will discuss this aspect in a later post. For the moment, those whose hearts are open to the Bible speaking for itself, over the conventions and traditions of man, will be satisfied with God's statements here in Romans 10.
Which leads me to a question. Have you called upon the name of the Lord? Have you believed in Jesus Christ unto righteousness? If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I would love to discuss it with you under no obligation at all.
Thank you for taking the time to read our post today. Please take time to browse our website, yourbibleanswer.com, for help with your Bible questions. May God richly bless you through His grace.