If we say we believe in something, we demonstrate that belief with actions. The popular phrases, “Actions speak louder than words” and “Talk is cheap,” that we hear spoken in the world actually have a biblical basis. It is true that faith has corresponding action, but we must balance our faith with our works. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can discern the difference between works according to the Law of Moses and works of faith.
This discernment is a grace gift from God, and without this gift we can go overboard on faith. We can have the best of intentions, but without actions they amount to absolutely nothing. Without the correct interpretation of the Scriptures we can confuse acts of faith with empty works of the flesh.
Belief is more than simply a mental exercise; it is taking the next step to put our faith into action. Our beliefs originate in the heart and, if they are strong enough, they motivate us to act. Thinking that works are no longer necessary because we’re under grace is a misinterpretation of the Word of God.
If we ask ourselves if works are permitted under grace, the answer is a resounding “yes.” The litmus test is examining whether our acts are based in self-effort or in Jesus’ finished works. In the Old Testament, Abraham was a powerful example of how belief dictates action. In the New Testament, the acts of the apostles give us more examples.
Our works can never earn us righteousness in God’s eyes and we must be careful not to fall from grace by depending on ourselves instead of Christ. When we depend on Him, we can find ourselves hard at work but motivated by love, concern for others’ wellbeing, and trust in God. Maintaining the proper balance between faith and grace keeps us on course.
Lord, thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to teach us the difference between works of the flesh and works of faith. May we always be motivated by Your love in everything we do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- James 2:14-18
- Proverbs 4:23
- Romans 10:10
- Romans 3:28
- Romans 4:1-5
- Galatians 5:4