Faith Without Works is Dead

Faith Without Works is Dead

Written by Ken Alexander

When we come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus, we fall under His Lordship in our lives. It’s not that Jesus was not Lord before we were saved, as He is Lord over all, Creator of all things, and He sustains all things by His hand (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Hence, the Lordship of Christ is without question in our lives before and after salvation. Just as a husband remains head over his wife and family even if she does not submit to him, so does Christ reign over us even when we are not living in submission to His Word.

There seems to be this false belief by some Christians that “If I am saved by grace through faith alone, my disobedience to God and my sins do not matter much anymore. If Christ has covered all my sins” (Phil. 3:9) which is true, “Why should I care much about sin in my life anymore?” In other words, can we disregard these Words of God because salvation is by grace through faith alone?

“Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).

The Word of God’s response to us is “God Forbid!” or “May it never be!” or “By no means!” It is an emphatic response of “NO WAY! Christian!” You have been bought by the blood of Christ and you are no longer your own (1 Cor. 6:19). Furthermore, you have become a slave to righteousness (Rom. 6:18). Simply put, the Christian has become a New Creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), and we are to walk in newness of life (Ro. 6:4), freed from sin, dead to sin, and alive in Christ Jesus (Romans 6).

The basis by which we can say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to righteousness is because of what God in Christ Jesus has done to us to transform our lives. He made us die with Christ, be buried with Christ, and has raised us up to walk in newness of life under His Lordship in our lives.

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:1-7).

But what about salvation by faith alone? Can’t I be saved and still struggle with sin? Of course you can, but are you struggling? God is right there with us in our struggles, but those who throw up their arms and give up struggling must ask themselves “Am I saved?” Have I been washed with the precious blood of Jesus, died with Him, buried with Him, and made alive in Christ Jesus to walk in newness of life? Or do I not understand what Christ has really done for me, do I not believe it, or am I still caught in sinful habits that have a chokehold on my life? Yes, you can be saved and still sin, and sometimes sin a lot. But if you are a child of God and you are finding that sin still characterizes your life, something is broken in your faith, your knowledge of the Word, or your will to submit to the Lordship of Christ.

I will venture to say that at least in my life and probably yours, our obedience is directly related to the amount of faith that we have in our Lord Jesus. A small faith sees small results and a great faith sees great results. It’s not the faith itself that changes our lives, but the degree to which we believe God at His Word and apply Him to our lives that produces the fruit of salvation as a walk in the Spirit.

I learned this lesson early as a young married adult, yet forgot it for far too many years. I was reading the book, “Living with Jesus Today” by Juan Carlos Ortiz, and all I remember from the book now is the idea of practicing the presence of Jesus moment by moment even in the smallest things of life. To not just run to Jesus when we are sick or need help with struggles but bring Jesus into every part of life.

For if He is there with you when you start into an argument with your spouse, or your mood begins to turn black, or you feel frustration and anger beginning to well up inside of you, how will that change your response? What will it look like if instead of immediately reacting, we sent up a prayer to Jesus through His Spirit who lives in us and sought a response of WWJD?

This simple truth that Jesus lives mightily within us is of little use to us if we are unwilling to tap into the great transformative power that only a walk in the Spirit can give us. Far too many Christians are still living by the works of the law, trying to please God in their own power, instead of checking in moment by moment with the Spirit as to what do I do, and what shall I say? They’re not in the Word daily, getting new sustenance and knowledge to conquer sin and walk in obedience.

Instead, we depend on our flesh for as many answers as we can find, and it is only after we stumble into sin and heartache that we run to Jesus for His help. That is not how God intends us to live out our Christian life. Some of the most powerful words of spiritual life are found in Romans 8.

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).

There is no middle ground for the true Believer. You are either in the flesh and operating under its control trying to be a Christian, or you are no longer under the control of the flesh and instead controlled by the Spirit of God who dwells in you. You cannot have it both ways. The flesh is death, and the Spirit is life.

Now can you see why faith without works is dead? If the Spirit of Christ is not working in your life to bring you under His Lordship and obedience to God, then all one can expect on that dreadful Day of the Lord is to hear:

“I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:23).

But if you are child of God and the Spirit of Christ lives in you, you will grow up into Christ and become His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). And then we can joyfully look to the glorious Day of the Lord where we will meet Jesus face-to-face and He will know us by name. He will welcome us into His home with the words we all long to hear:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!” (Matt. 25:21).

If you are a follower of this page, I hope you know that The Transformed Wife’s heart’s desire is not that you do things her way and not even that your marriage will greatly improve by doing things God’s way under your own power of the flesh. Surely even unbelievers can greatly improve their marriages and families with the wise counsel she gives, but her heart’s desire is to see God’s children walking in truth by the power of the Spirit who lives mightily within them.
Please join us on this journey of faith with a walk in the Spirit, knowing that God will take us right where we are now and grow us up into Christ Jesus if we will simply believe Him at His Word. God uses our faith to save us, and our faith to sanctify us. The more we are willing to believe and trust God the more our lives will look like Jesus, “the Author and Perfector of our faith” (Heb 12:2).

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