During our vacation to several national parks, one of our guides was describing her experience participating in the Grand To Grand Ultra Walk. It was definitely not for the novice or unprepared. Over seven days, participants will walk 171 miles, beginning at the North rim of the Grand Canyon, stopping and camping each night, before finishing at the summit of the Grand Staircase. The only gear allowed is what can be carried in one’s backpack.
Our guide, an experienced hiker and mountaineer, spoke of the fatigue she experienced as she fought through the grueling experience. She brought two walking sticks with her which she named Faith and Works. As she traversed the challenging trails and ascended the heights of the many canyons, she kept saying aloud, “Faith and Works! Faith and Works!” It encouraged her, propelling her forward, allowing her to successfully complete the walk. I did not know the religious background of our guide but it reminded me of the well known Bible verse from the Book of James.
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17 (NLT)
A clarification of this verse was given by the great Protestant reformer, John Calvin. “Faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone.” A true saving faith will always lead to action. As James wrote in the preceding verses.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
James 2:14-16 (NLT)
What good does that do? Truth, indeed! If we confess by faith to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, only God knows whether our confession is genuine. One unmistakable sign and confirmation is a changed life.
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (CSB)
Faith and works.
Thanks be to God that He equips us to live a life dedicated to serving Him in gratitude for what He has done for us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ! By grace alone we have been saved through faith so that we may perform good works for His Kingdom.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.