Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Be doers of the word and not hearers only. (James 1:22)
In the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, Lutherans and Catholics spelled out their common understanding of and belief in the concept of justification by faith. Issued in 1999, the declaration said, “Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works” (15).
Faith in Jesus is the way to salvation. We cannot save ourselves. At the same time, faith calls us to do good works. C. S. Lewis once said that any discussion about which is more important—faith or works—is as senseless as asking which blade of a pair of scissors is more important. Both are important. Both are critical. Both are necessary.
If faith were not vital, we would have to ask, “Then why did Jesus die for our sins?” If works were not crucial, we would have to ask, “Why did Jesus tell us to go out and evangelize, care for the poor, visit the sick, and feed the hungry?”
Faith and works are inseparable. When people asked Jesus, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” he answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent” (John 6:28, 29). Even faith in Jesus takes work. It means entrusting ourselves to his saving grace. It means choosing to surrender ourselves to him and obeying his word.
So make it a point to put your faith in Jesus every day. At the same time, make it a point to serve the Lord and to care for his people. Be a believer and be a doer. You have incredible gifts. They were given to you so that you would build the kingdom of heaven on earth. Use your talents for God, and you’ll see people’s faith come to life.
“Jesus, you are my Savior. I believe in you, Lord!”~WAU