How is it possible to know if a person has faith in Jesus Christ? We know from experience that faith can’t be determined by what a person says he believes, because far too often his actions will not match his confession.
Faith starts out as belief, and it grows into action. Faith that is living is faith that is seen in the way we live. We can say that we believe something, but that doesn’t mean that belief has moved from our minds to our hearts. This movement is necessary for our belief to turn into action. Simple belief is not mature faith.
William Lane in his book Hebrews: A Call to Commitment wrote; “A Godly life is the response of committed faith to the call of God” (p. 151). If we want to know about a person’s faith then we need to examine how they live.
This means we need to pay attention to the way we live if we want to understand the condition of our faith. The choices that we make and the priorities that we have will reveal whether or not we really believe all this stuff about God and Jesus. Our faith is reflected in the way we live our lives.
I think one thing that we need to emphasis more in the Church is the call God has placed on our lives. This call is more than a call to moral living, it is a call to love and serve. The life we were created to live is a life that loves God and loves people. This is God’s will for our lives. Understanding God’s will for our lives will put us on the path of righteousness. The path that leads away from sin and death and towards the life God created us to live.
The foundation of God’s call for us is discovered in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What Jesus did for us should motivate and empower us to live the holy and loving life God created us to live.
The apostle Paul tells us:
Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; NLT).
The death of Jesus freed us from the clutches of sin and death. When we surrender our lives to Jesus in baptism we are united to him (Romans 6:1-4). This means we belong to Jesus. He is our Lord as well as Savior.
Faith expresses itself in the way we live. So if we are not striving to become more like Jesus, to live a life that pleases God, this means that our “faith” is not real faith. We may believe the right things about Jesus and about God, but those ideas are not translated into how we live. To believe the right things, but not do the right things, makes us fools in the eyes of God.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless (James 2:14-17, NLT).
Living faith is right believing that is expressed in right living. This truth takes us back to the call of God. God has not called us to be pew sitters and truth believers, but He has called us to be Christ Followers. God’s call is a call to action and not just a call to belief. If we truly believe the right things about God it will be seen in the way we live. Our faith is proved true by the way we live.
Questions to Consider:
- Why is faith more than just believing the right things?
- What does your life say about what you believe?
- How are you living out God’s call on your life?