If you’re a follower of Jesus, it can be easy or common practice to say you have faith and trust Jesus, but it’s challenging to back those claims if you’ve never done the work and acted on it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Doing good work can’t earn us something from God. Only the work Jesus did for us on the cross makes us right with God. That’s what makes you a part of God’s family.
But for those of us who trust Jesus, who have accepted we’re saved by grace alone, and who have made the exchange of our brokenness for Jesus’s redemption and grace, do we need to live differently? Is faith all that is required?
Is faith without good works possible?
The first place we can look to find a clear answer is in the writings of James, the half-brother of Jesus.
Let’s start in James 2:14-17 where he says:
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
Suppose you see a brother or sister with no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well,”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
James continues in verse 18 by adding, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
James continues by reminding us that even demons believe and know God exists. He reminds us that Abraham was proven to be right with God by his action when he was asked to give his son Isaac’s life to the Lord. He reminds us that Rahab, a prostitute proved her faith when she hid and provided safety to God’s messengers when they were in potential danger.
In verse 26, James ends with one final note of confidence, saying, ”Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
James watched Jesus heal the lame, speak truth to the broken, and throw off oppression and free captives. He watched him die on a cross for the sins of the world, then fulfill everything he said he would do in one final act by raising himself from the dead.
These strong, confident verses clearly outline how James believes we as Christians are to act once we have taken the step out in faith to trust Jesus.
Follow the example of Jesus
In the Gospels, we see Jesus model this in many instances and through his words. He came to this earth to serve, to do something with his faith.
In Matthew 23:11 he said, “The greatest among you must be a servant.”
In Mark 10:45 he references himself when he said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus modeled for us and then instructed us, and James reminds us that as we serve others, our faith will grow.
What are you doing with your faith?
We all need a place that allows our faith to be tested, to grow, and focus on others. A place that pushes us to trust Jesus by serving others weekly.
To fully experience a life overflowing with faith, love, joy, peace, patience, and all the fruit Jesus promises, we must act!
As you pour out your time, love, energy, finances, or voice, Jesus will pour back into you.
Yes, serving takes from you, but it gives way more back to you.
Where do you start?
God gave each of us unique personalities and gifts to serve others. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there’s a place for you to contribute to what God’s doing here in our church! Check out this article 10 Ways to Serve at LCBC You Didn’t Know Existed or check out our Serve page and fill out our volunteer interest form.
If you already serve in the church, consider starting in your backyard or street. Start shifting your focus to look intentionally to the needs of your neighbors, communities, or block. Serving and showing God’s love to others doesn’t need to always be big and extravagant, the impact will be felt in the little things that make you, as a follower of Jesus, look different
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!