Faith As Works

In Christianity, we put a lot of emphasis on faith. Jesus talked about faith and so did all the NT writers. Before the Law, their was faith and the necessary criteria for believing in God’s promises. That is why the righteousness of God was credited to Abraham, through his faith (Romans 4 anyone?). The writer of Hebrews says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:1). And how many times did Jesus meet the uncertainty of the disciples with the same retort to their unbelief – oh ye of little faith.

But we can use faith as a work. What do I mean by that? Putting faith in faith. Wielding the faith sword as an accomplishment of our spirituality. Proclaiming that blessings were received because of the mightiness of our faith. I have, can do, am accomplishing because of my faith.   If we say we have worked for what we have because of our faith, then we have put the emphasis on our faith instead of the object of it, which is the Lord. It is boasting in our own accomplishments.

I don’t see anything of this type of boasting in scripture or the cause for it.  First, faith is a gift from God. When we were dead in our wretchedness unable to respond to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, God in his mercy moved on our hearts through the Holy Spirit. He opened our eyes to accept the truth. Ephesians 2:8 indicates that faith is a gift. That is not just a one shot deal at conversion while we spend the rest of our Christian lives relying on our faith. Our trust is in the Lord.

Second, we each receive a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). This is why Paul says don’t think more highly of yourself as you ought. Believe according to what has been given to you.  This ought to curtail the comparison game and feelings of inadequacy when our faith doesn’t seem to measure up to others and compels us to out-faith others. Relax, turn to the Lord. He’s got it and is working in you both to will and work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

So do you have faith? Praise the Lord for it. Thank Him for being so gracious and honor him by using it in a way that reflects on Him and not ourselves. Use it for the good of the body (Romans 12:4-8). And whatever you do, don’t boast about it as if it is something you yourself accomplished.

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About Lisa Robinson

Servant of Christ, DTS Grad, member of Town North Presbyterian Church (PCA), non-profit professional, anti-poverty advocate, writer, thinker, explorer of ethnic food, lover of good coffee and a good laugh.
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5 Responses to Faith As Works

  1. hd says:

    Agreed. This speaks to so many ways in which we experience or teach the walk.Including feeling constantly guilt about our lack of faith.

    A big thing in a certain segment of the Church is the use of incantations (a bit like witchcraft). One has to utter a certain word or use a certain type of language in order for God’s power to be unleashed. Ergo we control God? Going further, there is also a line of teaching that suggests that it is we who command God; that he wants us to command him…. The issue is that we struggle with pride. We just want to stand out and be special :). The huge focus on miracles (or the extent of our faith) many times doesn’t feel like an demonstration of Gods power but a demonstration of enormity “the gifted one’s” faith.

  2. hd says:

    Please excuse typos. Bad editor.

  3. ljrobinson says:

    HD, I couldn’t agree with you more. I spent many years under WoF, Charismatic teaching. It’s a lot of emphasis on what we do vs what God does.

  4. MikeB says:

    Lisa:

    Good post. Obviously here late but saw this today on Twitter. 😉

    “Faith in faith” is like the little engine that could. An “I think I can” kinda thinking instead of a focus on look what Jesus is doing for me, in me, and through me.

    While I agree with your overall point I do not see faith itself as a gift. I see faith as the means (our response) by which we accept a gift. It is our trusting in the giver of the gift. Specifically I have faith/trust/confidence in Jesus. Therefore I trust Him to do what He promised. Through that faith I receive eternal life from Him.

    But however one sees faith (gift or response) our focus should be on the person of Jesus whom we are placing on faith in and what He is doing.

    Mike

  5. xulonjam says:

    It’s Hebrews 11:6 which says it is impossible to please God without Faith.

    I have read a couple of interesting takes on 11:1 recently which I have been thinking through. The grammar of Hebrews 11:1 keys on the presence of conviction, not on the achieving of conviction. Faith is confidence about the things hoped for because it is the Divinely given conviction concerning things not seen.

    My description of Faith, based on Hebrews 11, is that it is response to Revelation.

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