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Faith With Works is Alive!

Apr 22, 2020 |

James, in his epistle, says, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (2:17). His stark warning is spiritual food for thought. Yet it also raises this question: What does faith look like if it does have works? For the answer, we turn to three well-known Bible stories.

Faith with works looks like Abram leaving his comfort zone in Genesis 12

The Lord approached Abram with an offer that was equally unsettling (literally so) and tantalizing. Walk away from everything you’ve built for yourself, He instructed Abram. Step away—a long way—from the place where you feel safe and comfortable. Embark on a journey into an unfamiliar and hostile land toward a destination you know nothing about. Trust first in the fact that I can be depended upon to fulfill My promise. Trust second in the fact that I can protect you and provide for you along the way. Trust third in the fact that what I offer is better than what you have now.

Abram departed immediately. He didn’t know what lay ahead. He didn’t have all his questions answered. He may not have been entirely comfortable with what he was doing. But he sensed that God could be trusted, that God knew more than he did, and that God had something extraordinary in the works. That was all Abram needed to give up everything.

Faith with works looks like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego standing alone in Daniel 3

There was no gray area in King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree. He erected a giant gold image of himself. Anyone in his kingdom who did not bow down to it would be burned to death in a furnace. When the time came, everyone in the kingdom bowed down—except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

Faced with the prospect of being thrown into a furnace, the trio delivered a stirring testimony to God’s power—and to the priorities that guided them. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16–18).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego understood God’s power. They knew He was able to deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. What they didn’t know was His specific plan for them in that moment. So they added a caveat: “But if not.” And in those three words, we find the essence of faith.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego remained faithful to God, not because of what He would do for them in return, but because they trusted in His plan—no matter what it meant for them. They placed their complete faith in Him.

Faith with works looks like Peter stepping out of the boat in Matthew 14

Peter, like his fellow disciples, felt overwhelmed by his circumstances—until he was able to recognize Jesus in the midst of them. Suddenly, the darkness no longer intimidated him. The rough conditions no longer made him uneasy. The unknown no longer frightened him.

Peter stepped out of the boat because he saw no good reason not to. Peter wanted to be where Jesus was; Jesus was on the water. Nothing else mattered. By focusing his attention on the Lord, Peter was able to do something extraordinary. The moment he shifted his focus back to his circumstances, he became ordinary again. Faith gave him his courage and kept him buoyant.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: What does faith with works look like in our lives? Thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, it bears a strong resemblance to the faith at work in Abram, in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and in Peter.

The Holy Spirit nudges us out of our comfort zone. He bolsters our adventurous spirit so that we can venture into places—physically and relationally—where we’re less than comfortable. He works through our unease to help us strengthen our faith and experience the joy of obedience. He makes the journeys we take by faith well worth our effort.

The Holy Spirit gives us the courage to stand firm when all eyes are on us. He gives us the voice to speak up when God’s Word is being questioned. He gives us the boldness to face the fire, even when there’s a risk of our getting burned. He gives us discernment to recognize God’s will in tense or unnerving situations. He also gives us the wisdom to understand that obeying His will, regardless of the consequences to us, is always our best course of action.

The Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity to step out in faith as the storms of life rage around us. He gives us the opportunity to imitate Christ in a way that draws people’s attention to Him. We may not have the opportunity to step out of a literal boat, but we can sacrifice something important to us for the sake of someone else. We can turn the other cheek when people mistreat us. We can do good things for our enemies. In other words, we can make a difference in people’s lives, as Jesus did.

27 comments on “Faith With Works is Alive!

  1. Benjun says:

    Thank, for a wonderful insight word about the faith. Yes is true faith is alive when we are not doubt to God.

  2. Loysanne Mahone says:

    Thank you for that helping us to see faith with works.

  3. Akshaya says:

    I like it so much and when it read it because of i understand these type of people and their generations to. I understand many information from the thing below.

  4. Annette williams says:

    I really enjoyed reading this it has been so helpful to me it has uplifted my spirits and I feel good thank you so very much. Amen

  5. Nogue Judicaelle says:

    Thanks the message is encouraging,I have learn in those 3cases that my faith in God is determined by the kind of action I portray in the midst of difficult moments and Even when GOD asks me to do something that seem impossible to a mere man.

  6. michael hayes says:

    It took me over 40 years to understand this meaning. Growing up in a tough area with visible disabilities was a challenge in itself, blind in left eye and profound hearing loss was the mockery of many. When I started working out in weightlifting, boxing etc., it gave me confidence. The confidence spilled over to all areas of my life, it was my accomplishments that kept me shining in other people eyes and thoughts. But I never factored in it was God, till of late when I became a Christian. Till AA is when I heard “Faith without works, is dead” now I live 24/7 for Christ and I want to because it makes me feel better and powerful in all areas of my life. Amen

  7. Joseph says:

    Thanks for these refreshing expository teachings. As you rightly alluded to from the beginning, these are testimonies of Faith and works on display. I found it soul-lifting. Thanks so much and God bless you.

  8. Gabriel Adjei says:

    Powerful. Thank You and God Bless you for this moving piece. I have been re-juvinated in Jesus name.

  9. MARTY YORK says:


  10. Shante says:

    Amen, thank you Lord for all of your wisdom you give to us through fellow believers in You. Lord, thank you for the wonders and gifts that you share from Heaven, thank you Lord for your precious blood, that washed our sins away. I love you Lord and will follow you to the ends of the earth.

  11. Bruce Prince says:

    These texts in James often prove to be a source of confusion for many. Luther, I believe, felt like removing the pages containing James’ epistle from his Bible. There appears to be a dichotomy between that which James is teaching and what we read concerning the relationship between F&W elsewhere in the NT.
    The point that readers have to get their mind around on this matter is that James is quite right; there is no dichotomy. James is simply expanding the text: “By their fruits you shall know them.” A hen lays eggs because it is a hen; it doesn’t lay eggs to prove it is a hen anymore than a lemon tree produces lemons. On the same token, a Christian does good works because he/she is a Christian, and not to prove they are a Christian. The works are a consequence of the person’s faith. We perform the works as an outpouring of what is within. In the parable in Matthew when the sheep are separated from the goats at the Second Coming, Jesus says to the sheep on his right hand, “Come, blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for you . . . because you fed the hungry, visited the sick and clothed the poor.” They had no idea when they had done these things because they were a natural manifestation of the state of their heart.
    There is so much more I could say on this subject.

  12. Vernon S says:

    Thank you

  13. Rhoda Aluoch says:

    I need to be filled with Holy Spirit and walk in righteousness with God Almighty. I need help.

  14. Melody Ramos says:

    Love love this me and my neighbor were just talking about giving no matter how people treat us.. I will be sharing this with her… and please keep me Melody and family in your prayers I to keep my faith going and to not let this world distract me in my heavenly father and keep my father and faith in him 1st

  15. Sharon Sanchez says:

    This is very good remembrance of Christ Jesus teachings. Its encouraging and helpful to build confidence and Faith in God.

  16. Favour says:

    This is so encouraging I’m deeply blessed

  17. Comfort Nwankire says:

    Thanks be to God who has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in times when we need to show our faith with our works.
    Glory be to His Holy Name for being there always for us in Jesus Name Amen.

  18. Bridget C Harden says:

    To GOD be the Glory. His MERCY is the medicine.

  19. Tabitha Namulinda says:

    I feel so blessed to receive this message. God bless you.

  20. James says:

    Faith with works also looks like keeping the Torah.

  21. Rita says:

    I enjoy blessed by reading the words & help me encourage more for a greater calling,, for Our God the savior reign
    Thank u so much

  22. Obed says:

    Emmanuel Man of God ,thanks for the encouraging words,it feels good to experience results after exercising faith in God ,when you teach someone else ,it comes with big and strong confidence and power to convince one to repent .
    Thank you in Jesus Christ mighty name

  23. Funmi says:

    Thanks, this is beautiful and full of insight. I am encouraged.

  24. Earl Hamilton says:

    Thank you, for giving me more to begin my faith walk.

  25. Jummai says:

    When you trust God and you don’t look at the circumstances around you then you will surely get the desired result. Thank you for this message on faith.

  26. Pamela Davis says:

    Thank you so much for giving these three examples of how faith WITH works is important for the child of God to live by all life long. It taught me the importance of ultimate trust in the Word of God to me in ALL aspects of my life, at home, at church, with my family and friends and in the community at large. I’m ready to “walk on water” with Jesus until I join Him in eternity! ✝️

  27. Tau Letsatsi says:

    Thanks so much for the revelations.What I have learn is that faith is a gift therefore we should not only pray for other gifts and leave faith out.Let God increase our faith.Shadrack,Meshach and Abedineco they started to trust God in small things until God manifeste in them in a big way.

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