Works Without Faith
Faith without works is dead. But works cannot exist outside of faith. Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians an admonishment to not forget this:
If we are saved utterly and completely by faith, our faith must be an utterly and completely desperate one because it is our very life and breath itself. Paul calls the idea of being good enough or getting good enough bewitching in his letter to the Galatians (3:1). Its enticing. It’s powerful. Because it’s us: we are in control.
And we are as foolish as the Galatians in that we would rather fail in control than succeed in surrender.
“Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearten with faith?”
We are SAVED by FAITH. We believe, and God counts us righteous.
The Spirit moves through a vessel of faith. And when we have desperate, all consuming faith we do not have to worry about works. Because we are operating out of righteousness through righteousness himself; because we are a faith-vessel of the Spirit moving, faith and works come.
That is the meaning of “faith without works is dead.” It is not a command to DO it is a reminder to BE.
If we do not have a deep, sincere, desperate faith the evidence is “faith without works.” It is not the other way around, where our works are needed to have sincere faith. With Jesus, it’s always about faith. He is always after our hearts. He operates in the business of freedom, not burden.
Jesus took care of the burden of unachievable righteousness by choosing to carry our burdens to the cross. That is why Paul is so frustrated with the Galatians, and this passage speaks so poignantly to us. “It was before you that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” Some of them saw it. Some fo them were there. And they felt the Spirit move inside them not because of any merit of their own, but the act of Jesus that they witnessed.
You can almost feel Paul’s incredulity as he is writing. Like hello, even still you think you did it? You think you have to buy it when you saw it paid for with your own eyes?
One of the things about God that I love and completely marvel at is how full and complete He is, even way beyond our understanding. He does not give his love partially, and he does not save us partially. And He asks us to follow him completely and fully because that is what is best. The fullness of God and the faith He wants for us is demonstrated in this passage.
When we are full of faith, our lives will be full of good works. When our lives are full of good works, it is because our hearts are full of faith in the sufficiency of Christ.