Faith By Works
James 2:18-19 NKJV
Galatians 5:22 NKJV
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
Romans 8:38-39 NLT
It took years for me to connect the dots between the kind of faith James wrote about, faith in action and the Gift of the Spirit of faithfulness. I’m not sure why I didn’t make that connection, but when I did, I realized the ‘Big Picture’ importance of Faith. Sometimes I think God slowed down my thinking so I would realize what I do NOT get about Him before I could see the truth about God.
Before I put two and two together, I used to try really hard to believe. Simply put, I was working at believing. It was like, ‘works without faith’.
The day I realized what I was doing, it felt like a humongous spiritual lightbulb went off!
You see, the Gifts of the Spirit that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:22 are a free gift God gives us. One of the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. God is faithful, or full of faith.
When we unpack it further we find that the word for ‘Faith’ in Greek in James 2:18 is Piston. In James 2:18-19 nwe read, “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”
Next we find the word for ‘Faith’ in Greek in Galatians 5:22 is Pistis. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Finally, the word for ‘Faith’ believing in Greek in Ephesians 2:8-9 is Pisteos. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we learn, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
In each verse, the Greek word for ‘Faith’ is a form of the same word. We know that because the same word form comes from the same word Pistis in Greek.
Why is that significant?
It’s because Piston, Pistis, and Pisteos are a form of the same word. Piston is a noun, Pistis is the possessive version, and Pisteos is the verb (https://thelogosofagape.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/pistis-pisteos-and-pisteuo-a-greek-word-study/).
In James 2:18 Paul is talking about faith in the sense of believing and showing our faith through action. An example of that kind of faith would be a result of lightening that is followed by thunder. If there is lightening (Faith), thunder (works) follows.
In Galatians 5:22 Paul is talking about the gift of faith that God gives. Here, Paul is saying God is reliable and can be trusted. Because God can be trusted and offers us the gift of faith, we can look to God and ask that His faithfulness will cover us. In a practical sense, when I was young and I started doing Children’s Sermons in church, I was nervous about what to say. Every week I would pray and ask God to tell me what to talk about and to give me the right words. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I was going to say until I walked up front. But…God never failed me. he was faithful every week to give me the right words at the right time. God was faithful 100% of the time!
In Ephesians 2:8, Paul is talking about saving faith that is a gift of God. Faith in this scripture refers to the ‘knowing’ we have in our gut that when we put our hand in God’s hand, we ARE part of God. We are saved and nothing will separate us from God. Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
One thing I have learned by experience is that God has never and will never fail me. When we put our hand in God’s hand, we are not on our own.
God does help us build our faith in Him because that’s one way we grow. Now when I speak, I study and pray ahead, but I do not do an outline. When I was in preaching class in Seminary I tried to follow the outline we were told to use. I did everything that was expected to get a good grade out of the class, but quite frankly the sermons were terrible. I think that’s because I was doing too much and wasn’t leaving it in God’s hands. Now, I don’t follow a prescribed outline. I cannot explain how God does it, I can only say that when I turn to Him, He never fails me!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Faith
Using one of the three examples, FAITH followed by works (lightening and thunder), FAITH that God gives, or the FAITH that comes from knowing nothing will separate us from the love of God, ask God to help you exercise your faith.
In God, Deborah