"Your Work of Faith"
“Your Work of Faith”
We give thanks to God always for all of you,
making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
1 Thessalonians 1:2–3
It matters what we believe because what we believe is going to be revealed by how we live (see 1 Timothy 5:24–25). We can pretty much say we believe anything we want to, but the truth of what we actually believe is going to be manifested whether we want it to or not.
The apostle Peter urges us that if we “address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17–19).
We have many great example of the work of faith shared with us in Hebrews 11:
- By faith we understand the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible
- By faith Abel offered … a better sacrifice
- By faith Noah … prepared an ark for the salvation of his household
- By faith Abraham … obeyed
- By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive
- By faith Abraham … offered up Isaac
- By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau
- By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped
- By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.
- By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin
- By faith they [Israel] passed through the Red Sea
- By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days
- By faith Rahab … welcomed the spies in peace
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is an essential part of our soul’s salvation! Again, the word of God reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Impossible!
Doing what God wants without faith does not, will not, and cannot please Him. For example, someone may choose to be baptized; but they have no faith as to what baptism is (see Romans 6:1–4; Colossians 2:12). Will their baptism forgive sin? As faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 20, 24), so works without faith is dead also—“What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works” (Romans 9:30–32; and see Mark 7:6–8). “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17; and see Ephesians 6:6).
The apostle Paul wrote that he desired to “be found in [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8–10; also Titus 3:4–7).
Like anything else, growing our faith is going to require time and effort. We can’t simply hope that our faith will increase. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Get into the word, and let the word get into you (Romans 12:1–2; John 15:4, 7; 1 Peter 2:1–3).
It matters what we believe, and it matters that we believe (Hebrews 11:6).