"FAITH VS. WORKS: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?"
"Faith vs. Works: What's the Difference?"
"You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace."
Gal. 5:4 NIV
There have long been discussions within the Christian community, on the doctrine of works versus faith, when it comes to salvation. It goes back as far as the Apostle Paul opposing Peter and James over it (Gal. ...2:11). And today, this same debate continues between reformed evalgelicals and Roman Catholics, Adventists, and even Mormons (though the latter LDS faith doesn't fall within the same sphere of biblical Christianity), these three- and others - all have in common a works-based methodology for salvation woven throughout their respective doctrines and historical teachings.
So which is it? What's the truth of the matter? More importantly, what does God have to say on the matter? Since scripture is our final authority on any issue, there are many passages that would- on the surface -seem to contradict eachother. But, upon further, deeper, examination, actually bolster and dove-tail nicely together.
For instance, if we compare Rom. 3:28 and 5:1 with James 2:24, we would see a difference, yes, but not one that's insurmountable certainly. James even qualifies his statement by saying it's "not by faith alone." Paul as well, in Eph. 2:10, states we are "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Our actions are important. Important to God especially, because there is coming a day when- according to Rev. 20:11-13 -all will be judged "according to what he had done," as well as if their names were found in the Lamb's Book of Life, which is the record of all who've placed their faith in Christ, down through the ages.
What I believe this all boils down to, is this: Good deeds done for our own sake may give us the warm-fuzzies, but that's it and nothing more. On the other hand, though, those same actions, when done for Christ and to glorify the Father- because of our faith - are the truest manifestations of our Christ-likeness we can exhibit to the un-believing world, and are the one's He'll reward us for. Their HIS works HE wants us to do for HIM, by faith in His Son.
So faith and deeds DO go hand-in-hand, as we see here. God calls us to take action. To place our faith in motion, by doing the things He has called us to do. Whether that's giving a cup of cold water to someone, donating food or clothing to a homeless shelter, or sharing the Gospel, we are called to this duty as followers of Christ because we've been filled with His Holy Spirit and WANT to, not because we are told by some institution we HAVE to. That's the big diference. A difference that will resonate into eternity and beyond.
God bless, and don't stop believing!