Is Your Faith Dead Or Alive?

What type of faith do we have? How can we know if our faith is dead or alive? What is implied by this, and what is the basis of the question?

It is an intriguing question. If ever there was a time, we need more faith than fear, it is now. There are a lot of people who love God, who are paralyzed by fear and thus not experiencing faith that is alive! Dead faith does not do anything but talk, talk, talk but remains stagnant. Faith that lacks life is dead. The life of faith is proven by works. Notice what James says about faith and works. James 2:18 “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:20 “…faith without works is useless..” James 2:26 “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

James is comparing a “dead body” with “dead faith”? James is basically asking the question we have posed today, “Is Your Faith Dead or Alive?” James is illustrating for us the practical reality of faith; it is either dead or alive. If it is alive then we are experiencing and expressing the “outlived life” of Christ. Faith allows us to participate relationally with Christ. It is alive because Christ is life! When someone dies their corpse is without spiritual life function. As scripture states, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” James is claiming that faith without Spiritual function is an empty shell, it is dead. When someone dies, all activity ceases.

Faith that is not receptive to God’s activity is not faith, it is non-existent. The body apart from spiritual life is dead, non-operational, so, faith without the dynamic life of the Spirit of Christ is void of life or spiritually dead. “What is ‘alive’ faith?” How would you define faith? There is much confusion regarding what faith is. Often, faith is defined as something stagnate or dead. To simply believe in something or someone is described as faith. But that definition lacks “connection or life”, as beliefs alone may be a “dead letter.” Faith is best understood as “our receptivity of God’s activity.”

Christians have the unique opportunity of having personal relationship with God. We do so by being receptive to the “activity of God,” The activity of God is called the grace of God. As we walk by faith we experience and allow for the manifestation of Christ character in our behavior. Faith allows us to experience Christ’s Life!

We are responsible. But someone might ask, “Isn’t this a kind of performance?” It does sound that way if we miss the fact that we are not independent selves. It seems like the moment the Christian begins to consider being responsible, the conversation turns to, what must “I do?” or performance. The Good News of the Christian life is we are not the source of performance, Christ is, He is the performer. As we understand that God created us to be dependent and to derive character from Him. We are derivative, we do not produce anything.

I might explain it this way, we were created by God to be available to God. To “avail-ourselves-to God’s ability.” Therefore, to live by faith is to live responsibly. As we “response-to-ability” we “avail-ourselves-to-His-ability” to respond to spiritual activity and avail himself to God’s activity. That is why “faith is alive and not dead, He is Life, He is Alive in us and wants to express His life through us by faith.

Some people would suggest that faith is of God, that God gives us the faith, is this true? No. Faith is the responsible choice of man to derive all from God. Faith is not the act of God. Faith is our choice and ours alone. In faith we receive and rest upon Christ. In recognizing that faith is man’s volitional choice, that is not to suggest, that it (faith) has any meritorious benefit before God. The human choice of faith does not in any way make God dependent upon man’s response. The response of faith is our willingness to be receptive to the activity of God.

Is faith simply the receptivity of facts and the associated truthfulness of those facts as understood in the Bible? No. Faith is receptivity, but it is not simply receptivity of facts or their significance. Faith is not “knowledge of,” or “belief in” Biblical facts. Faith is our receptivity of the person of Jesus Christ. By faith we avail ourselves of the Person and activity of God. Faith is not just studying the Bible and giving assent to the precepts, promises or principles of scripture, which is what much of religious promotes today. Faith is focused on and in the person of Jesus Christ who is, present as my life. Faith is alive because He is alive in me. We are not merely receptive to His “message” or to His “benefits,” but we are receptive to His dynamic activity of grace in His Son, Jesus Christ.

It is often suggested that faith is believing in the historical fact of Jesus’, death, burial, and resurrection, but that is an imperfect understanding of faith. Faith is much more than a mental assent to the accuracy of historical and theological data related to Jesus Christ. Faith is much more than inner feelings of peace and well-being. Faith is more than simply praying a sinner’s prayer. Faith is much more than our determined effect to respond to the moral traditions of religiosity.

Faith is our choice to allow God to act in and through us. Faith has less to do with us and more to do with letting God live His life through us. As already stated, Faith is our receptivity to God’s activity. God wants to actively work through you today. If our faith is functioning as God Intended, we could hold up a sign which read, GOD AT WORK.

Let me leave you with this visual of faith working as God Intended. Picture yourself in a rowboat with two oars. One oar is marked faith and the other oar is marked works. If you try to row the boat with the faith oar only, you spin in circles in one direction. If you put the faith oar down and attempt to row the boat by the works oar only, you spin in a circle in the opposite direction. Either way you might say, “you are dead in the water”. It is only as you row the boat with both oars at the same time do you move in God’s direction and experience boating, i.e., Life As God Intended. Is Your Faith Dead or Alive?

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

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