by: Gary L. Hutchens
When a person develops true faith, based upon the truths he learns from God’s word (Rom. 10:17), he will naturally make up his mind to live in faithfulness. Jesus instructed, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Faithfulness exhibits faith that is being lived. To live faithfully (synonymous to living in faithfulness) is to live by the teachings of the faith (the word of God Rom. 16:26; Phlp. 1:27; Col. 1:23). Faithfulness is the outward expression, the active demonstration, of one’s faith. Faith without faithfulness is “dead” (Jas. 2:14-26)!
As has been emphasized in this series of lessons and articles on faith, it is not enough to just believe. The true faith that is taught in the New Testament is belief that is put into action through obedience and continued dedication and service. James described the demons in Hell as believing (Jas. 2:19), yet they’re still demons, and they’re still in Hell.
Many people seem to hold a concept that believing is the same thing as having faith, but they live a lifestyle that is anything but faithful. They seldom, if ever, attend church services of any kind or even open a Bible, let alone read it in any meaningful way. They do nothing that could be construed as active involvement with any church. They can be observed taking part in any number of unrighteous acts, including commonly using the vilest of language, drunkenness and sexual immorality. Yet, when approached about their relationship with God, their tone of voice becomes sincere sounding, a smile with a look of genuineness sweeps across their face and they sound profound as they emphasize their deep and abiding faith. Such a declaration is pure mockery, whether they realize it or not!
But there are other people who do not live as outlandishly an ungodly lifestyle but who are, nonetheless, unfaithful. They may be respectful in their speech, live outwardly exemplary lives and fulfill their civic responsibilities. Yet while they claim belief in God, they do virtually nothing to serve God.
Some might protest that faith is a private matter. Well, James states pointedly that faith that is not expressed outwardly in obedience and active service to God is dead faith! Note his illustration: “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” (Jas. 2:18). James was emphatic in his repetition in stating that active works is a vital component to true faith (Jas. 2:18, 21, 22, 25). He left no room for doubt by equally emphasizing that “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:17, 20, 26).
If we truly love our Lord, we will actively obey, and live by, His teachings (Jn. 14:15). Just believing is not true faith. True faith is actively, outwardly, visibly faithful. We must accept the truth that faith without faithfulness simply will not do!…
Gary L. Hutchens