Much discussion is had in Christian circles about the relationship between faith and works. The widely accepted Orthodox belief is that we are not saved by our works, but that our works testify to the reality of our salvation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, but we are known by our fruit.
This understanding of the relationship between faith and works comes from the idea of being a disciple of Christ. A disciple in Jesus’ day was a student who so thoroughly believed in the teachings and the teacher that they followed the teacher and lived by his or her teachings.
A hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Though certainly true, the words of the hymn do not go far enough.
The Bible indicates obedience is a necessary component for both, contentment in Christ and to be a true disciple of Him. If we believe Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, the supreme Lord over all things, the One who loved us enough to die for us, and the proven victor over sin and death, then obedience is the only reasonable response. And, if we absolutely trust what Jesus says, then obedience is our only option that is not implicitly contradictory to that trust.
This is why faith and works go hand in hand. If we truly trust, we will obey. It is the “works” of obedience that are the proof our trust in Jesus, the proof of our faith.
Let’s remember the commands Jesus gave us that we are called to obey. Obedience calls us to make disciples of every nation. Obedience calls us to be witnesses unto Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the Ends of the Earth. Faith without works is dead. Trust and obey.
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