Faith = Obedience

Faith = obedience. Now before you think that what I am saying is legalistic, let me convince you that this is biblical and is what Jesus also said. So, here goes: We are studying James, and in 2:26 he says that “faith without deeds is dead.” Not faith without deeds is small or faith without deeds isn’t as strong, half a faith, mostly a faith, but faith without deeds is dead. Why is he so strong? Part of it is that faith is not simply saying you believe something. That is no faith. I am doing a devotion at the moment called Radical; here is an excerpt from one of the days: Ask yourself this simple question today: Do you really believe the Bible? Of course you do, right? Maybe not. For many of us, our belief in the Bible isn’t much more than an intellectual assent. Although an intellectual understanding of the Bible is important, it can’t really be called belief. Belief isn’t measured by intellect; it’s measured by obedience. If we were judged not by our words but by our commitment to do what the Bible says, our answer to the question in the previous paragraph might be different. I love hearing stuff like this, because it makes sense and it is real. But let me put it another way: Do you believe you are a sinner? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for sins? You would of course say yes to these, right? But so can Satan; he can answer yes to both of those questions. So, what makes his belief different from yours? And this is where faith = obedience comes into it. Jesus finishes his Sermon on the Mount, by giving a parable of two builders. Both have heard Jesus’ words. Both understand his teachings. One goes away and puts his words into practice; he builds his life on Jesus’ teachings; he lives it out in obedience. Jesus says he builds his house on the rock and calls him a wise man. The other man, doesn’t put his words into practice; he doesn’t obey. Jesus says he builds his house on sand and is a fool. We see that faith will always result in action: putting it into practice: obedience. It involves a radical surrender to God and his ways in your life. We rob people from genuine faith if we say that all you need to do is have faith. Because while that is true for salvation (all you need is faith, not by works but by Jesus), it is not true for the Christian life. We must not be content to settle with just understanding, simply knowing and not obeying. Jesus even says in the Great Commission, I have all authority on earth, so go and baptise all people and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. Friends, we are called to not simply believe, but to trust and obey. Don’t settle for a substitute that isn’t really faith at all.

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