Q&A: Relationship between Faith and Works

Relationship between Faith and Works

What is the relationship between faith and works?

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Answer

The relationship between faith and works is that they are companions. I would consider them to be twins. There is a saying that goes, "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone." And so, the idea of partnership or companionship exists in that. Primarily, when Paul deals with faith in Ephesians 2:8, he recognized that one can only come to salvation through faith in Christ. But then James goes on and he, I won't say takes it to another level, but he provides for us the reality that if one is saved, then that salvation should be authenticated by works, meaning by the character, the lifestyle of that person, also by the kind of service that that person renders to his neighbor. If they are saved, then again, they will authenticate salvation by the kind of works that they do. He goes on to say, "Show me your faith without your works, and I'll show you my faith by my works." And so, again, they are twins. They do go together. If one is saved, then they will by the grace of God produce good works, authenticating that salvation has come to that heart.

Answer by Rev. Larry Cockrell

Larry Cockrell is pastor of Household of Faith Church in Birmingham, Alabama and is on faculty at Birmingham Theological Seminary.