A Living Faith
Faith that does not result in good deeds is useless (JJames 2:20).
You have probably heard of Catherine Marshall, widow of the late and legendary chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Peter Marshall. Her son, Peter, is a well-known minister today. You may have even read her books. She wrote such inspirational bestsellers as "A Man Called Peter" and "To Live Again."
But have you heard her one-sentence comment about faith?
"Faith," she said, "is not even worthy of the name until it erupts into action."
What an awesome statement! I like that, don't you? Faith is never passive. It is an action word. It is not just mental assent. It demands a response -- some kind of action.
People often quote James 2:20 from the King James Version of the Bible: "Faith without works is dead?" The "works" is often taken to mean religious works, but it has a deeper meaning. The Strong's Enhanced Lexicon says the word "work" means "an act, deed, or a thing done."
Some translations say "good deeds." What does that mean? Helping little old ladies across the street, or holding the door open for someone? I don't think so.
In a biblical sense, "works" is acting out what we believe. It is acting as though God's Word and promises are true. We may see a promise in God's Word and we ask for it, knowing it is God's will because it is in His Word. We then must believe for it, and then act as though it is ours, whether or not it has been manifested.
One of the foundational verses in the Campus Crusade for Christ movement has been 1 John 5:14-15: "We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for" (NLT).
The NIV says, "We know that we have what we asked of him." That is present tense. We already have it, and we act like it.
Good examples are salvation itself, and also the infilling of the Spirit. We see the mandate in God's Word as His will; we ask for it; we receive it by faith; and we act like we already have it, just as God says. God honors our faith and obedience and both become reality.
The word "works" no doubt also means obedience. Faith without obedience to the Lord is dead, or lifeless, and fruitless.
Let us not be lifeless Christians, but full of good works and obedient!
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.