We want to study saving faith because there is a kind of faith which does not save. The simple word faith means to believe something is true. But James 2.19-20 challenges the concept of faith without works: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”
You know God is able and willing to save you. You know He loves you very much. But you also know He commands allegiance and obedience solely to Him. God leaves no option for idols in our lives; He desires and demands everything we have: heart, soul, strength, and mind. He demands surrender.
Would you be Jesus’ disciple? Jesus challenges you: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (Luke 9.23-24)
The Bible ties together the concepts of faith and obedience so closely together, sometimes it seems they are synonymous, as in Hebrews 3.16-19:
For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Faith and obedience are not the same thing, but saving faith is evidenced by obedience from the heart. Obedience to God’s commands is the only test we have to see someone’s (even our own) faith. Faith must act before we can see it. Just as the heart turns in repentance and then the deeds follow, so a heart turns in faith and then bears fruit of righteousness. By their fruit you shall know them, Jesus said in Matthew 7.20.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2.14-17)
Are you bearing fruit for the Lord? Does your life demonstrate joy, peace, forgiveness, mercy, thanksgiving, patience, kindness? Do you speak the word of God to people around you? Do you shine with God’s light? Do you work on killing sin in your life and producing works of righteousness? God has no use for barren fig trees (Luke 13.6-9; Mark 11.12-14).
Surrender your mind, body, and soul to Jesus. He will save you!