What does the Bible say about faith that produces works?
Faith without works is dead. This is a powerful phrase that we hear in religious circles, which originates in the bible. So what does the Bible say about faith that produces works?
The Bible is quite explicit in its insistence that faith alone, without works, is not enough to properly identify one as a Christian. The New Testament alone gives evidences to this fact in several different passages. The book of James makes clear that faith without works is dead, and that faith must be demonstrated in action. James 2:14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (ESV).
In this passage, James is emphasizing that faith involves action, and that works are a necessary demonstration of faith. As James later says in 4:17, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Works are a confirmation of faith, because faith cannot be seen or sensed.
The Apostle Paul also speaks of faith and works in his letters to the Romans and the Galatians. In Romans 4:5 he declares that “to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Here Paul argues that faith is counted as righteousness even if it is not accompanied by works, but he does not deny the need for works. Rather, faith and works must both be present in order to be justified.
Furthermore, in Galatians 5:6 Paul states, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Once again, Paul stresses the idea that faith must be demonstrated through works of love expressed in action. It is not enough to “believe”; rather, belief must be accompanied by action.
The Bible is clear that faith is critical and necessary for salvation, but faith must also be accompanied by works. Otherwise the faith of the believer will be dead and will be unproductive and ineffective. Thus, faith must ultimately be expressed and demonstrated in action in order to truly produce good works and be rewarded.
How Faith Is Demonstrated
The Bible makes clear that faith can only be demonstrated through action. This is demonstrated in many different ways: helping the poor, showing mercy, and loving one’s neighbor, just to name a few. The idea that works are essential to faith lies at the heart of Jesus’ teaching, as Jesus often showed his faith through service. He was constantly helping the sick, the poor, and the oppressed, which showed His faith and commitment to God’s kingdom.
In addition, Jesus taught that works are essential to faith by interpreting the commandment to love one’s neighbor in radically inclusive ways. He showed that love for one’s neighbor not only includes those who are closest to us but also those from different social or ethnic backgrounds. This is a radical stance, and it is a clear demonstration that faith must be expressed through action.
Jesus also stressed the need for faith to be demonstrated through action in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, a man is preying on the weakness of those in need in order to gain spiritual points from God. Jesus vehemently rejected this practice and instead showed that those who demonstrate faith must also take concrete actions to serve those in need.
Finally, the Bible stresses that faith is lived out through action in the letters of the apostles. Throughout the New Testament, the apostles challenged churches to live out their faith through service and good works. For example, in Colossians 3:17, Christians are commanded to do all things “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” showing love, kindness, and mercy to those in need.
The blessings of Faith
Faith that produces works is a true blessing from God, and there are many blessings associated with this kind of faith. The Bible expresses this blessing in many ways.
For instance, in James 1:25 it states, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” This is a clear affirmation that those who have faith that produces works will be blessed in their actions.
Another example of this blessing is found in Hebrews 11:6, which states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This is a promise that God will reward those who have faith that produces works.
Finally, in Proverbs 28:20 it is written, “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.” This shows that those with faith that produces good works will be richly blessed, while those who are only interested in getting rich will be punished.
How Faith Should be Practiced
In order for faith to be truly effective, it must be practiced in the right way. Firstly, it must be practiced authentically, with a genuine desire to serve and glorify God. Doing so will help believers to live out their faith with joy and enthusiasm.
Secondly, faith should be practiced with humility. God asks us to have faith, but with an attitude of humility and service. This is demonstrated in many passages, such as Philippians 2:3-5, which states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
Thirdly, faith should be practiced with patience and perseverance. This kind of faith requires dedication and determination, as it can often be difficult to live out. But if practiced with patience, it can bring great rewards.
Finally, faith should be practiced with gentleness and grace. Paul encourages this in his letter to the Ephesians, writing, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). This verse shows that having faith and practicing it should be done with patience, love, and gentleness.
The Fruit of Faith
Doing good works because of one’s faith is a manifestation of the fruits of that faith, which is the idea that faith produces good works. The scriptures clearly speak of the fruits of faith, emphasizing that faith should be expressed in action.
A good example of this fruit is Paul’s instruction in Galatians 5:22-23, which states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These attributes are all evidence that faith is at work, and these are the fruits of faith seen in the believer.
In addition, the fruits of faith can also be seen in the good works that are done. For example, in Matthew 5:16 Jesus tells his listeners, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Here Jesus is emphasizing the importance of the good works that believers should be doing in order to bring glory to God.
Finally, another example of the fruit of faith is found in James 1:22-23. James writes, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” Here James is stressing the importance of taking action on one’s faith, rather than simply hearing it.
The fruit of faith is seen in many forms, but the most important point is that it should be expressed in tangible ways. When faith is truly alive and active in an individual, they will become more aware of the blessings they have as a believer and will become more dedicated to living out their faith.
A husband of one wife, father of two beautiful girls, laborer of Lord, Jesus Christ, and a servant to God’s His saints. I hope to encourage you by God’s grace. Thank you for stopping by.