Preaching & Teaching

The Real Thing

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17 (NIV)

There is a direct connection between faith and serving. No passage of Scripture puts this more clearly than James. But this emphasis is not unique to James; it is the unanimous witness of the New Testament.

The apostle Paul says, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6). You might expect him to say, “The only thing that matters is faith.” But that’s not what he says. Why does he say, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”? Because a faith that does not express itself in love is not the real thing.

Paul also says, “If I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Now, that’s not a very politically correct thing to say, but it is true. Faith without love is nothing, it has no value.

John says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). Love is the evidence that we are united to Christ by faith. If Christ is in us, love will be in us.

How is your faith expressing itself in love?

Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, a multi-campus church located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and president of Unlocking the...

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