The Pryor Times

February 13, 2013

Is your faith living or dead

On the Go
Steve Lay

—  Faith is a vital part of our relationship with God.  Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Simply doing what one thinks is right is not faith.  Faith is doing what God says to do.  Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Those who do not have faith cannot be saved.  One cannot be saved without hearing God’s word (Romans 10:13-14).  The gospel is God’s power to save, but it can only save those who believe (Romans 1:16).  But does faith alone save?

Faith is what gives a person the right to become a child of God (John 1:12).  A person who does not believe in Jesus does not have that right.  Jesus says in John 8:24, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Romans 5:1 says that we are justified by faith.  But what kind of faith is it?  It is certainly not a dead faith.  James tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26).  Faith must lead to obedience.  Paul writes in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”

A faith that does not lead to obedience is a dead faith.  James wrote in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe – and tremble!”  A dead faith will not save demons, nor will a dead faith save people.  We read in John 12:42-43, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  Their faith did not lead to obedience, and was therefore dead.  Dead faith will not save anyone.

The kind of faith that saves is a living faith or an obedient faith.  This is clearly seen in Hebrews 11.  Verse 5 of that chapter tells us that Abel offered a sacrifice by faith.  In other words, he did what God commanded him to do.  His faith was an active faith.

When God told Noah to build an ark, it seemed like a very foolish thing to do, from a human standpoint.  Why would anyone build such a large boat out in the middle of dry land, with no way to move it to water?  People ridiculed and made fun of Noah and his sons.  But Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household.”  Noah had a living, obedient faith.  His faith led him to obey God by preparing the ark.

Abraham also had a living faith.  His faith led him to deny himself and trust God for guidance.  When God told him to leave his country and go to a land He would show him, Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed.”  The next verse says, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob.”  He was waiting for the city without foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  Abraham knew that God always rewards the obedient, so he obeyed God.

A living faith in God will lead one to obey God whether he understands the reason for the command or not.  Why would God command Abraham to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice?  Although he did not understand it, Abraham was willing to do it because of His faith (Hebrews 11:17).  Faith led him to actively obey God.

    Hebrews 11 contains numerous other examples of faith leading to obedience.  If our faith is alive, we will obey whatever God tells us to do.  James 1:22 tells us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  Is your faith living…?