Understanding Faith and Works

Understanding Faith and Works

What we do flows from who we are. For followers of Jesus, this means that true faith leads to good works; our identity in Christ compels us to imitate Him. A key part of that imitation has to do with our unity with other believers in Christ while celebrating the diversity of spiritual gifts and roles God has given us.

Faith and Works

Ephesians 4:1 exhorts us to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (NASB 1995). In other words, we need to practice the behavior that flows from belief, because true faith leads to good works.

At first, this may seem contradictory. After all, isn’t faith something separate from, even antithetical to, works?

The book of James provides some clarity on this matter, pointing out the difference between the profession of faith and the possession of faith. There are many who profess faith in Christ but do not truly know Him. However, those who possess faith will walk in a manner worthy of Him (James 2:18–20).

Ephesians 4:1 begins with a “therefore”—this reminds the reader to connect the way we ought to walk with the wealth we have in Christ. Faith does not separate the two, but recognizes that behavior flows from belief.

Unity of the Spirit

Paul calls believers to walk in the unity of the Spirit. But this does not mean uniformity. God encourages diversity. He has given His followers a wide array of spiritual gifts; we ought to use those gifts in the unique prism of our personality to bless our community. In other words, the Body of Christ involves a rich individuality as well as a rich community.

One way we exhibit unity in the Body of Christ is through humility. This can be difficult—pride can creep into any situation, especially when it comes to visible spiritual gifts. But every role in the Body of Christ is meaningful, even if it is not visible in the eyes of the world. We need both pastors and janitors; ministry teachers and secretaries. Treasure these differences. Celebrate the diversity God has given us.

God calls us to use our gifts in the sphere in which He puts us. It doesn’t matter how small or large that role is. We must walk in humility and love, doing all for the glory of God.

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