A Faith That Works – Part One

Consider this scenario. You have just made a big decision, a transformative decision. You want to be known as a chess player. That is to become your life long persona. From now on you will be known as a chess player. A friend has just given you a helpful book entitled, “How to Be a World’s Champion Chess Player.” You enjoy reading from it for a time, but rarely make the moves taught in the book. You don’t do the things the book advocates. You don’t practice the basics. As a result you never become the chess player you started out to become.

This is a parody of so many Christians. They fail to do, that is practice, what the Bible teaches. Receiving a truth should be followed by learning it. However, it is expedient that learning a truth be followed by making it a part of the inner person. Facts in the head must be infused as truth in the heart. Scripture asserts: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.”

The Bible teaches that we must practice, that is do the word, not just know it. The Greek word for practice “prasso” refers to continuous action. It means to practice as a habit. The text is a present imperative which means to continually practice Bible truths as the norm in life.

The word “prasso” can also be translated “do.” To know a truth and not do it is failure to “…prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1: 21).

Doctors are spoken of as practicing medicine. That is because their profession maintains a normal routine of doing what they know to do. In this light Christians are to practice Christianity.

Upon trusting Jesus as Savior we experience justification by the blood of Jesus. Martin Luther said of it, “Justification is by faith alone, but it is not by faith that is alone.”

True saving faith is “Fides Viva” living faith. That is, a faith that results in the person being a doer of the word and not a hearer only.

With the precision of an Olympic marksman the Scripture fires a well targeted shot: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

The Holy Spirit is relentless in pursuing the issue. In staccato fashion, faith and works are linked thirteen times in this brief passage.

It is possible to profess faith without possessing faith, but it is not possible to possess faith without practicing it.

A person can be enlightened in his mind and stirred in his heart and still be lost.

Even demonic faith can be emotional as well as intellectual. The devil is depicted as accepting the facts about God and trembling.

The New English Bible has a clear translation of verse 17: “So with faith, if it does not lead action, it is in itself a lifeless thing” (James 2: 17).To believe in God and not obey Him is the very essence of sin. Faith must show itself in action. Today practice your faith, go do your faith.