Faith without works is no faith at all. Works without faith are ultimately worthless. Faith demonstrated by works, work driven by faith, is the most beautiful display in all of humanity. Therein lays the delicate balance.
Over the past century, there has been much said about the controversial balance between works and faith. Some denominations pursue a salvation through works theology; others preach a grace only doctrine, while still others endlessly seek the balance between the two. Everyone has scriptures to supposedly validate their particular point of view. As with many issues in the church today, it becomes increasingly difficult to block out the noise and determine what the true answer actually is. And as with many issues facing the church today, we are overcomplicating the issue.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, we are told that our salvation is a result of the grace of God. In Ephesians 2:10 we are commanded to demonstrate our salvation by doing the works Christ commands us to do. In James 2:14-17, we see that if we are not demonstrating our faith by doing the things that Jesus did, and by doing the things that Jesus told us to do, then our faith is not valid! You can not be a true disciple of Christ, a true follower, and not do the things He told us to do. As we have covered many times in the past, the things Jesus told us to do were to care for the orphans, the homeless, the widows, the single mothers and those in poverty. We’re to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, visit those in prison, clothe the ones in need and look after the sick. And lest we forget, we are told to tell everyone about Jesus.
Are you demonstrating your faith by engaging in the activities above? If not, what exactly is the faith you claim to have? James says it’s dead; Jesus sends people away from His presence if they do not engage in the work He gave them to do. It’s not enough to simply know the name of Christ; demons know the name of Christ (James 2:19), proving simply knowing Jesus, simply believing in who He is, is not enough. If you believe that simply knowing Him and believing in His message will guarantee you a place in Heaven, you are very sadly mistaken. Scripture does not support this idea; in fact it warns against it. By the same measure, doing the things Christ told us to do without truly believing He is who said He was will also leave you on the outside looking in.
The only way to Heaven is by accepting the grace of God through His son Jesus and then to go out and live the life Christ intended for us. We must have this balance if we expect to see Him again. He has given us much, and He asks for the same. Follow Him and you will have eternal life. Following someone is not a passive activity. To follow is to pursue. To pursue requires a choice to do so, and focus. So where are you? Do you have faith in God but are doing nothing to demonstrate that fact? Are you doing everything that Christ told His followers to do, but doing it because you think He was simply a fine teacher and man of peace? Or have you found the delicate balance between faith and works? Do you love Him and follow that up with service to Him because of your love for Him? Prayerfully determine to which camp you belong. Don’t wait until it’s too late to be about your mission. The grace of God has redeemed you to do incredible things for the kingdom. Bask in God’s grace as you cheerfully and humbly do the work He has for you. Discover the delicate balance and live.