Faith and Belief (And why we need both)

Hebrews 11 tells us " 11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. " Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17 that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God." Faith ignites our hope, it gives us a hope for the future, and it allows us to trust in invisible God who is always at work within the visible. The opposite side of the coin is Belief. If Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, Belief is acting upon that faith. James tells us in his letter that "Faith without works is dead." He is NOT saying that works are what saves us; nowhere in the bible does it ever say any such thing. BUT, if Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, BELIEF is the evidence of your faith. If you believe in Jesus, you'll take Him at His word. He not only says "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," but also "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments." If you believe in Jesus, you'll take Him at His word. And when He says "follow me," you can rest assured that He is not merely saying "fill an empty pew," or "we have a trip coming up, you want to come along?" Rather, he's saying " 23And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. " Do you have faith in Jesus? Does your belief back it up? Jesus is calling, will you step out in faith and follow?

James 2 English Standard Version (ESV)


The Sin of Partiality


My brothers,[a] show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?


If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


Faith Without Works Is Dead


14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 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[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.


18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.


Footnotes:

a. James 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 5, 14

b. James 2:16 Or benefit




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