Most of my life, I’ve heard sermons on “faith without works is dead.” In case you’re unaware, that’s found near the end of James chapter two. One can have all the faith in the world, but if it is not exhibited in works, that faith is useless. However, in a recent Bible class, I heard a man make the point that faith isn’t the only thing that “without works is dead.” Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
LOVE without works is dead.
Imagine a man telling his wife “I love you,” but never showing it to her. Is she going to believe it? There was a song back in the 90’s called “More than Words.” In it, the songwriter said, “more than words to show you feel that your love for me is real. Then, you wouldn’t have to say that you love me, ’cause I’d already know.”
We can sing the song “Jesus Love Me,” and know that it is true, because Jesus showed His love for us by His works of living a perfect life, undergoing ridicule, and dying the ultimate shameful death on the cross. My friends, THAT is love!
MERCY without works is dead.
Some people have actually said these words, “I’ll forgive you, but I won’t forget.” Truly, this attitude means that forgiveness has not actually been given. If we forgive someone, it means we no longer hold that thing against them–we no longer take it into account. But many times, people claim to forgive others, but are not willing to do the works that prove it. That kind of mercy is dead–of no value whatsoever.
And why is that important? Because we are told in various places that we will be forgiven by God in the same way that we forgive others. So, if we forgive in word only, but still hold those things against others, then we can expect God to still hold our sins against us. See Matthew 6:12, 18:34-35, and James 2:13. My friends, this is a matter of eternal importance!
REPENTANCE without works is dead.
John the baptizer called out the hypocritical Pharisees for pretending to be righteous. In his indictment against them, he said the words, “bring forth fruits [works] appropriate for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). The apostle Paul said it this way, “repent, and turn to God, and do works appropriate for repentance” (Acts 26:20).
We can tell people, “I’m sorry.” But if you’ve been around people very long, you find that many times what they mean is, “I’m sorry you found out.” You know that because the person shows no signs of change. If you truly have repented, then you will be showing the works of repentance. That includes working harder to not mess up in that area.
When we ask God for forgiveness, are we putting in the works necessary to prove we are truly sorry for what we have done?
May your life be blessed as your works match your words!