In my last piece on faith before moving on, I felt a good place to finish would be the topic of where genuine faith is supposed to lead us. Commonly, faith is most clearly associated with belief in the Bible’s truth; faith that God really did create everything; faith that Jesus was indeed the son of God; faith that he actually did come and die for our sins.
There really are so many things that we must accept in faith. Really, nothing escapes the need for faith. As finite creatures, complete knowledge of anything is limited. Thus, we know nothing entirely, and faith must be employed.
Seeing as how discussing the limits of faith might prove worthless, I wish instead to try and address the problem of faith versus works.
I presume that the question is common knowledge. Over the years I have heard various arguments and conclusions on this topic, but they always seemed confusing.
Maybe I was too young and not really listening yet, but I recently gave it some thought and came to a relatively simple conclusion. Faith is a verb in much the same way that love is a verb.
This brings faith and works together. They inhabit opposite sides of the same coin.
Love starts out as a feeling or idea in the mind, and it becomes a commitment which goes beyond the initial idea or feelings which gave it life. While love can be communicated through words, it is not fully appreciated until actions back those words up.
We might think of faith in a similar way. Faith starts out as an idea or possibility, then we trust that it is more—that it is truth. In the same way that honest love leads to actions which express that love, committed faith should lead naturally to works which indicate what one has faith in.
This brings me to a new realization. Because the need for faith permeates all knowing, I wonder if works can be avoided at all. Let us suppose, given faith in any thing, that we are compelled to act based on that faith. Such actions might be considered our works. From this perspective, works are merely the byproduct of what we have faith in.
We all have faith in one thing or another, thus, we all produce works of various kinds. One does not seem to exist without the other. This can be realized by looking at one who has ostensibly lost all faith, the nihilist, for these individuals often cease to act altogether, seeing death as their only refuge.
We, however, are called to have faith in God and His son Jesus — faith that the character and actions of Jesus were truly ideal. Allowing this idea to grow into more than a belief, to become a genuine commitment, should lead us instinctively to the works which we are all called to perform.