What is working faith?

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The Bible teaches that true “faith” is always accompanied by works in the life of the believers. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Intellectual assent, doctrinal conviction, may exist without good works, but not living faith, which cooperates with God’s plan for man’s restoration. Even demons believe that God exists but they don’t obey Him (v. 19). Genuine faith will find expression in unselfish deeds, for it begets a desire to serve God and men. Thus, it was with Christ and thus it will be with all who follow His example.

Some have found a problem in reconciling the above passage in James 2:26 with the passage in Paul that says, “man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28). It is true that people are saved by faith alone but faith will always manifest itself in good works. Paul clarifies, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). And he adds, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, [and] sincerity” (Titus 2:7 also 2 Timothy 3:17; 1 Timothy 6:18).

And, in Rom. 2:6–10, Paul stresses the necessity of having works along with faith. For works are recognized in the final judgment as evidence of faith. We can see that faith in God’s grace is not a substitute for right conduct and holy living. For it’s not a sin to do good—it’s not wrong to stop sinning (1 Timothy 5:25). In fact, you’ll know a saved person by his fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

It can be concluded that faith that does not find expression in habitual good deeds will never save any man, but neither will good deeds without genuine faith (Rom. 3:28). Thus, works are the conduct of a converted life—deeds that spring forth spontaneously because of the motivation of faith. There are many other passages in the Bible that teach this truth (Jer. 17:10; Matt. 16:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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