Reading: James 2:14-26
Faith is the act of believing in something or someone when you have no concrete proof of existence or that the person will follow through with their promises. Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith is the essence of our hope, the evidence of the unseen.
Having faith is so easy, even a child could do it. In Luke 18:16-17, Jesus tells his disciples that to enter the kingdom of God, people must have faith as a child would.
The key word in the above definition of faith is “act.” It’s one thing to say we believe something, and another to show we believe it. If a parent tells their child to jump and they’ll catch them, the child lets go from whatever they’re holding onto and jumps, putting complete trust in the parent, not fearing they will fall.
If we as Christians go around saying we have faith in God, but don’t act like it, how is that demonstrating our faith? We cannot successfully win other souls to Christ when we demonstrate hypocrisy by saying one thing and living our lives contrary to those beliefs (James 2:14).
We’ve been told that Jesus died on the cross. Historians would believe that much, but they may leave it at that. Some may simply see it as a piece of history, not believing that Jesus died to take on the sins of man, and making a vital decision that will affect their eternity.
Jesus cast out demons who knew Him by name, but they still followed Satan (James 2:19). It’s the act of calling Jesus our Savior, and trusting that He is the Only Way to Heaven that is the faith needed for salvation. After being saved, the effects of our faith should be seen. Throughout the Bible, people have risked their lives and persecution to show their faith in God.
In Hebrews 11:7, Paul summarized the account of Noah and the Ark from Genesis, using Noah’s act of building an ark as evidence of his faith that God would flood the earth as He’d said, even when no one had ever seen such a thing before.
In James 2:21-23 and Hebrews 11:17-19, Paul recognized yet another account from Genesis, where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son after God had promised him his descendants would multiply into an astronomical number. Yet, Abraham proved his faith in God, believing that God would raise Isaac back from the dead. Thankfully, before he was able to complete the sacrifice, God provided a ram to be the scapegoat. Sounds very similar to God sending His own Son as a sacrifice for our sins, doesn’t it? I don’t think that was a coincidence.
Rarely do we have to put ourselves in the path of death for Christ’s sake, at least here in the United States; however, there are some countries where Christians or missionaries do just that. More frequently, the act of faith could be facing persecution. Sometimes, it’s hard to be bold and outspoken about what the Bible teaches, especially with the way society wants us to not just tolerate sin, but accept it. However, our faith is our witness, and if we don’t show that we stand by our faith through our actions, how can others know we have it at all?
Which passage of the Roman Road describes belief and action?
Read Matthew 17:14-21. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had the faith to move mountains?