Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 tells his brethren to continue to stand in the gospel that was preached to them and that they received, by which they were saved. He specifically says, “If ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” How can my faith be in vain? Or how can my preaching or someone’s preaching be in vain?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:17
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife [selfish ambition] in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above…For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:13-16
It is interesting how in James chapter 2 it is written that faith, without works, is dead. This shows that it is possible to have faith, but if the faith doesn’t have works (if the faith doesn’t work!), this faith is in vain, it is dead! Such serious words! So what kind of works should my faith have? If you are a serious believer, it is important to ask yourself – does my faith work? Does my faith give me Eternal Life?
We see further in James chapter 3, that if one truly has wisdom, the wisdom that is from above, it is shown through works. It is important to understand that these works are not just physical doings/actions, such as going to soup kitchens and feeding the poor, smiling and trying to be nice to everyone, saying kind words, being polite, etc. For even the unbelievers do these things or can bring themselves to do these things! You can move mountains, try to always be nice to everyone, go on missionary trips, but if in your heart you have bitter envying and strife, James is saying – then don’t deceive yourself! This wisdom isn’t from above! Because the wisdom that is from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy!
In Matthew chapter 7, Christ gives an example of a tree that brings forth fruit.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them…
This example shows that faith has fruits. But what kind of fruits (works) does my faith have? Does my faith yield the fruits of the flesh? Or does my faith yield the fruit of the Spirit?
In Galatians Chapter 5, the works of the flesh are written out in detail. In having such works (which are in the heart and proceed out of the heart), you will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennes, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, false witness…But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew chapter 15
Likewise, we also see the works (fruit) of the Spirit written out.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:5-6
If you are a serious believer, it is important to ask yourself – does my faith work, does my faith give me Eternal Life? Has my faith freed me from sin? Does my faith yield the fruit of the Spirit? If not – do not deceive yourself! Obtain the faith that works!
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians chapter 13
And Love [charity] is – long suffering, kind, does not envy, is not puffed up, does not seek it’s own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.