I love Undercover Boss. It’s a TV show in which the boss of a corporation disguises themselves as an employee in an attempt to get an idea on how business is handled by their employees. It’s a great tool for bosses to discover areas that needs improvement and areas that are doing exceptionally well. The show usually ends with the boss giving the good employees a promotion or a hefty financial gift. The good works of the employees always results in the boss doing a good work in their lives. Admittedly, tears usually roll down my face as I witness the employees receive such amazing blessings. It’s beautiful to see the blessings of others! I commend the bosses on doing good works.
Performing good works are important per James 2. Many people quote the very popular bible verse, “ Faith without works is dead”. Yet, let’s look at the context of the verse.
James 2:14–17 King James Version (KJV) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Now, this should go without saying but works for believers consists of helping those in need. What good is your faith if your faith does not lead to actions in helping others? We have a responsibility to help those in need. It’s not a suggestion it is a command if we want to make it to heaven.
Matthew 25:41–43 King James Version (KJV) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
It is evident that works are necessary as a believer. Yet, let’s not think that works alone deems us as righteous in the eyesight of God. You could provide shelter to every homeless person in your city but without faith in God, it is pointless. In fact, it was Abraham’s faith alone that caused him and generations to follow to be blessed.
Romans 4:2–3 King James Version (KJV) 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
The entire chapter of Romans 4 harps on Abraham’s faith, not his works. In fact, the entire bible consistently mentions faith and how essential it is as a believer. Works on the other hand is not mentioned as often. Now, this is not to say that works are not important and should not be highly regarded. On the contrary, they are both essential; however, faith should come first followed by good works.
I love analogies to convey ideas so here’s one.
Think of faith as a foundation to a house and good works as the house. In order for your works to stand up in the eyesight of God, it must be founded on the concrete foundation of faith. It is of course possible for someone to build a home without a foundation, but it would not stand properly. A non-believer can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick. However, their good works will not stand as worthy before God without it being grounded in faith.
You simply can’t have works without faith or faith without works. They should be intertwined and woven tightly together... just like that tiny knot in my very thin necklace that I can't seem to get out. A small needle isn't even small enough to break the bond... trust me I've tried! Your faith and good works should be two peas in a pods. BFFs forever. Or better yet, their like Siamese twins... completely inseparable.
So yes, faith without works is dead but works without faith is also dead. The dead roses in the picture above do not have to be representative of your faith or good works. All you need is God as a guide and the Word of God as a roadmap. Ask Him to help your faith if it needs a boost. Petition Him to activate a good work in you for the Kingdom of God if you’re not actively working for Him. Water those dead roses of faith and good works. It’s not to late to see them bloom. Your roses can consistently flourish regardless of the season and time of year. Tend to your faith, tend to your good works, and watch as your life blossoms in due season.