What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
If someone were to just look at you, could they tell you are a Christian? Likely not, unless they heard you pray or saw you walk into a church, then they might make a connection. Even then, how do they know for sure? When someone spends more time with you, would it be easier to tell, or would they be more confused. If someone were to review all of my last 24 hours, they may get mixed signals, as I did some things that I would gladly share and other things I did, said, or even thought that I am not so proud of. I don’t typically do things which would warrant my arrest, but not everything is above reproach either. So, if it was up to my works alone to evidence my faith, I wouldn’t make the cut. So, what does it take?
Have you ever known people of another faith or even atheists who are good people? They are friendly and at times go out of their way to help others. It may even elicit the question, ‘why do you so nice’ or ‘what is your motivation’? I’m sure if you looked closely at their life, like you, they would fall short of doing everything perfectly as well. If someone is a Muslim, Chritian, Jewish, or of most any other faith, they have a set of standards or rules by which they strive to abide. Even ask an atheist and I’m sure you can agree on some things that are right and wrong, by which they live. But just as faith without works is dead, works without faith is dead as well. You need both.
Our deeds are evidence of our faith. We need both, or it is empty. If we say we have faith and don’t follow through with love for others, our faith is false. If we just do good things and think that will qualify us for heaven without a trust in Christ, we are fooling ourselves. My faith compels me to good works, and is evidence of my faith, even though my works do not justify me. My hope is in Christ, not in what I can do for others, but in what He has done for us all.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
Yours in Christ,