Day 4

Faith Made Complete

from the James reading plan


James 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-10

When you buy a car, there are special features you can get as upgrades. Extras are nice, though not necessary. But what if you purchased a vehicle and looked under the hood to find that there was no engine? I’m no car expert, but I know the engine is essential for the car to run. It is not an “extra.” This is a picture of the Christian life: Faith is the engine that powers our works. And faith without works is dead faith.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, our proclamation of faith is validated in our demonstration of good works. When Jesus is acknowledged as the good King who sits on the throne over all of our desires, it changes the way we live out our faith. We live as God’s children—children who believe in the one true King. And we live as His servants who want to carry out His will.

Our works do not save us. Jesus’ work alone produces the saving faith that springs forth from one’s heart. Only by faith in Jesus’ kingship and His triumph over the power of death can we be brought to a newness of life—new creations, found in Him complete. God the Father gives this gift of faith by grace. Grace is a currency that is unattainable by any human work.

Grace is not transactional. It is charity—a completely free gift from God which produces faith in faithless men and causes us to cling to Jesus.

The very Word of God wrapped in flesh cried out on the rugged cross, “It is finished!” Three days later He rose and defeated death. No man is capable of keeping perfect faith on his own. But as they used to say in the old church choir, “He is able.” God is able to keep the engine of faith running. Even in our hypocritical moments of disconnect between our words and our deeds, He keeps us and uses us.

We are men of imperfect faith, but we are met with perfect grace. By remembering and trusting in God’s faithful work, our faith will never die. Our faith is living and active because it is in a living, active God who eternally loves us and uses us for His glory.

Written by Jevon Washington

Post Comments (11)

11 thoughts on "Faith Made Complete"

  1. Bernie Connelly says:

    My desire is to be a representative of God’s kingdom. It is because of His faithfulness that He picks me up, dusts me off and lets me know He is with me, even when I feel like i have let Him down.
    Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth.

  2. Ken Fuller says:

    I used to believe that salvation was a transaction or conditional – somehow a mixture of my faith and God’s grace. Our local Christian church pastor confirmed this belief because of his personal view on baptism as part of that transaction. That is one way you might understand being “saved by grace through faith”.

    But that’s not my belief now because ALL of salvation is a gift. God’s grace AND the faith that saves me. Grace is evident when we believe Christ died for our sin. That’s the start. But how do we know we have faith that saves? “The proclamation of faith is validated by good works in our life.” That’s how we know. Have I changed to where I think of others before myself? Am I more naturally living like Christ would live? This is the evidence of the gift of faith in my life – faith that saves.

  3. Mick Murray says:

    I’ve claimed to have faith my entire life–growing up in the church, going to Bible college, and now serving in the local church. At the end of my life, my hope is no one will say, “Mick was a man of great faith because he claimed to believe in Jesus.” It doesn’t work like that.
    When I pass, I want to have run the race and fight the good fight so that people can look at my life and say, “Look at this man of great faith, and all the ways that God has used him over the years.”
    Made my face not be dead, but I live and active in Christ!

  4. Alex says:

    How do you respond to the statement ‘faith without works is dead’? You might argue it suggest some kind of legalism, some kind of reliance upon our own good deeds for salvation. But make sure you read it right and don’t get it the wrong way round.

    The Bible describes faith without works as dead, because if we truly have faith, and God had changed our hearts, it WILL work out into how we live.

    There is a danger, particularly for your christians, to think that they have faith in Jesus, have salvation, but don’t live any differently to the world around them, or to how they used to live. As much as you may find it uncomfortable, it is wrong, it should trigger warning lights that suggest if there is any true faith there at all.

    That being said, we all fail at this, regularly. We all have moments where we slip into the habits of this world and do not live according to our new identity.

    So what’s the solution? If we are truly changed by God, and have a deep seated faith in His power, might and love, we WILL want to live that out. When we don’t want to live it out, is when we begin to forget the amazing truths of who God is and what he’s done.
    So in times when you feel you are slipping into the ways of the world, feeling the tug of ‘this way is better’, remind yourself of who God is and what He has done for you, and finally who He calls you to be… like Jesus.

    And similarly this should act as a very stark warning to anyone amongst us who claims to have faith but doesn’t live it out. There is a danger that you have deceived yourself, that you haven’t really understood who God is and what He’s done for you.

    If you feel like that’s you, seek to discover or rediscover who God is, and talk to someone. We’re not alone, we have both God with us, and a family of believers all around us.

  5. Isaiah says:

    This passage can be hard for most, myself included. It looks extremely “religious” and is almost discouraging hearing what sounds like us having to earn Grace and salvation by “doing stuff.” Well it’s true that faith without works is dead… but not in the way we think of it.

    Faith produces good deeds.

    This is what it means for faith to be dead without works. Deeds complete faith. Not by our own choice or efforts but because of the incredible Grace given to us by almighty God who deserves our praise, encouraging us to live out our lives by the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. What comes out of living like this? Good works. To have faith in the everlasting God, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to believe in the person of Jesus and his great love, to love God, others, and yourself is reflected in our works and the way we live our lives. This means that this faith becomes works. A life with our God and faith in Him is so good, it wouldn’t be complete without good deeds seen in the way we live.

    Praise God for this! I pray I can cling tightly to this and be filled with this truth. I want me life and the way I live to reflect my faith in God. I trust that this can only happen by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Amen

  6. Kevin says:

    I like the beginning of this chapter when it says not to tell people to go out and live this full life without giving them the tools. I think this study is an awesome place to gain tools and insight from others and allows us to do what the lord says in sharpening our iron as men.

    1. Hudson says:

      So true! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Clay says:

    Man. I spend so much time critiquing how other people “perform works,” in my mind telling myself how differently I would do the work in question. I feel like I’ve become a critical bystander – it makes me question my faith. I don’t want to be cynical of the very faith I profess. I’ve let a few bad experiences and observations of abuse in the church and wrong motives among those in its body and made generalizations about my brothers and sisters in a way that has sidetracked my own faith and turned me into a bystander.

    I don’t want to be critical anymore.

  8. Dalen Hanquist says:

    We are never perfect and we will always fail because we are fallen men in a fallen world. But because of Gods grace he gifted us with eternal forgiveness and love through is son Jesus Christ who was sentenced to death by crucification. Is we believe in our heart he existed and his perfect deeds did happen, and we confess with our mouth we will receive this grace and always be forgiven when it is asked for

  9. Chris Cambell says:

    I love thy imagery of a car without an engine can’t run and a Christian can’t have living works if their faith isn’t there.

  10. JeffJupp says:

    God I pray that I would desire to serve you more and give me the thoughts and intents of my heart to make it easier for you to discern I love you God thank you for giving us the breath in our lungs.

    Church was incredible yesterday God I am yours and I’m not holding on to anyone or anything or any secret sin. God I am fully and completely yours. Please help me to be a light to all I come in contact with and to show them the love of Jesus that I have today I woke up with such joy knowing that you gave your life for me and for all to be with you In eternity and I’ll be able to see my family again one day!

    You are good you are great and I thank You for all you do! Please give me strength today and strength for tomorrow.

    Please help my sisters and my brothers and my mom to seek you early and find you. I love you and in your name I pray Amen!

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