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Faith without Action is Delusion
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is delusion also” Faith without actions is a delusion because the lack of actions reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. There are many verses that say that true saving faith will result in a transformed life, that faith is demonstrated by the actions we do. How we live reveals what we believe and whether the faith we profess to have is a living faith.
We are sometimes taken out of context in an attempt to create an action-based system of righteousness, but that is contrary to many other passages of Scripture. I am not saying that our actions make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good actions. Actions are not the cause of salvation; actions are the evidence of salvation. Faith in God always results in good actions. The person who claims to be a very optimistic and disciplined but lives in willful disobedience to God has a false pride.
Many profess to be faithful, but their lives and priorities indicate otherwise. “By their fruits, you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits, everyone will know them.
Notice that the message of Jesus is the same as the message of James. Obedience to God is the mark of true saving faith. James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab to illustrate the obedience that accompanies salvation. Simply saying we believe in Jesus does not save us, nor does religious service. What saves us is the Holy Spirit’s regeneration of our hearts, and that regeneration will invariably be seen in a life of faith featuring ongoing obedience to God.
Misunderstanding the relationship of faith and actions comes from not understanding what the goodness teaches about success. There are really two errors in regards to actions and faith. The first error is “easy believe,” The other error in regards to actions and faith is to attempt to make actions part of what justifies us before God. The mixture of actions and faith to earn salvation is totally contrary to what Scriptures teach.