Faith that is Alive, and Faith that is Dead

March 6, 2023
Faith that is Alive, and Faith that is Dead

There are many Christians who only emphasize faith in God to be saved. However, there is faith that is alive and there is faith that is dead. Of course, in order to be saved, we must have faith that is alive. What is the difference between the two?

Faith that is Dead

Those who do not keep the Sabbath and the Passover insist that we do not need to keep the law of God, but should have a special or personal relationship with God by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. However, faith alone cannot save us. The Bible clearly testifies to this.

James 2:14-19 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?… In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

Even demons believe in God and shudder in fear. However, do they obey the words of God? Never. They also believe in God, but can the demons be saved? No. It is the same with us. Even if we believe in God, if we do not obey the words of God, we can never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Suppose there are two sons of a rich man who is a CEO and owner of a large and multinational company, and the father gave each of them one department to manage. The eldest son worked hard day and night to manage his department which his father entrusted him and made sure that his employees under him are working in a conducive environment so that creative ideas will flow freely, thus, increasing their production and sales. The second son, however, neither cared about his employees nor did he care about his father’s business. He wasted his time on other things and squandered his father’s money for his own gain. Who do you think deserves to inherit his father’s company? Although both of them are sons, to whom can the father entrust all of his estates? Of course, the eldest son, who knew of his father’s will and made efforts to improve its sales and increase profits.

In the same way, only those who make every effort to follow God’s will and obey His commands can enter the kingdom of heaven.

Destiny of Those Who Claim to Believe in God But Without Deeds

Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (NASB, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS).

Those who call God, ‘Lord, Lord’ are no doubt believers of God. They even prophesy and teach in the name of God, they drive out demons and perform signs and wonders. Surely, they are those who claim to have faith in God. Then why will God drive them away in the end? If they are driven away by God, where will they go? Surely not the kingdom of heaven.

In the New International Version, God drove away the evildoers. In the New American Standard Bible, they are those who practice lawlessness. 

1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

What is sin? Sin is to disobey the law of God.  And where will they go in the end?

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil (NASB, THOSE WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS). They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Those who do not keep the law of God will be thrown into the blazing furnace, and will be tormented forever in hell. That is why their faith is dead, it’s because there is no hope for salvation, no chance to enter the kingdom of heaven and live forever. It is faith that is meaningless.

Those Who Trust in Man’s Teachings

Those who emphasize only faith, insist we do not need to keep the Sabbath and the Passover. They say, ‘we do not need to keep any law, because it is by grace that we are saved, through faith…not by works..’, using the verse in the Bible, Ephesians 2:8-9. However, do they not keep any law at all? They do. They keep Sunday worship and keep the holy communion of eating bread and/or wine every mass or every month.

Ezekiel 20:21-25 ” ‘But the children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my laws, of which I said, “The person who obeys them will live by them,” and they desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them…. because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live;…

Those who do not keep God’s laws and desecrate the Sabbath, they were given other statutes and laws through which they could not live. Instead of the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, they worship on Sunday, the first day of the week. Instead of the Passover on the 14th day of the first month at twilight, they keep the holy supper every Sunday or once a month. Since there is no promise given to them, their worship is worthless.

Matthew 15:8-9 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Those who follow the rules of men, like Sunday worship, worship God in vain. It is meaningless because these are statutes through which they could not live.

Faith that is Alive

Those who emphasize faith alone use the verse John 3:16 and insist on just belief in Christ Jesus.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

However, to receive eternal life, it is not enough to just believe in Jesus.

John 6:53-54 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Based  on the words of Jesus, can we conclude then, that we can have eternal life even if we do not eat the flesh and blood of Jesus, as long as we believe in him? No. If we truly believe in Jesus, we must have faith in His words and keep the Passover of the New Covenant, which is the way to eat His flesh and blood. The only way to receive eternal life is by keeping the Passover, that is why Jesus said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15)

Moreover, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave us the great commission.

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus clearly said to teach all people to obey his commands which he taught for three years, from the time he was baptized until his crucifixion. Jesus directed his disciples to prepare the Passover so that He can keep it with them. It is because the Passover is the way to receive everlasting life.

Those who Lived by Faith

Ephesians 2:19-20 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Our faith is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus at the center of our faith. This means that our faith should be based on the faith of the Apostles and the prophets who firmly believed and followed Christ to the end.

The Apostles who Followed the Examples of Christ

Many so-called Christians insist that after the cross, we no longer need to keep any law. Since Jesus died for our sins, we are already saved by faith in His blood shed on the cross.

If this is true, why then did the apostles keep the Sabbath after Jesus’ ascension(Acts 17:2-3;18:4)? Why, then, did they teach and keep the Passover (1Corinthians 5:7; 11:23-26)

So-called Christians even insist that Jesus and the disciples kept the Sabbath and the Passover of the Old Covenant because they were Jews. However, Jesus clearly commanded his disciples to make disciples to all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything He commanded them. After Jesus’ ascension and the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the gospel rapidly spread and even allowed the gentiles to receive the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

The Gospel is the New Covenant

Romans 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 

In Romans 15:16, the apostle Paul became a minister of Christ to proclaim the gospel of God, and in 2 Corinthians 3:6, he testified that God made him a minister of a new covenant.

Indeed, the gospel taught by Jesus and by the apostles is not the Old Covenant kept by the Jews, but the New Covenant established by Jesus through the Passover (Luke 22:20)

Jesus kept the Sabbath of the New Covenant by reading the Scriptures (Luke 4:17) and Jesus kept the Passover of the New Covenant by eating bread and wine representing His flesh and blood (Luke 22:19-20)

The apostles, too, kept and taught the Sabbath and Passover of the New Covenant following the examples of Christ.

The Forefathers of Faith

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (Romans 15:4).

There is a reason why Noah, Moses, and Abraham are called the Forefathers of faith.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him

Does the verse above mean that by faith alone, we can please God?

Hebrews 11:7  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Noah was warned about the impending disaster that would come upon all mankind. He believed in God but he did not stand by and waited for that day without doing anything. He built an ark and did everything just as God commanded him, and as a result, he and his family were saved.

Hebrews 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

God warned that He would kill all the firstborn in Egypt, both people and animals. Before the last and tenth plague struck Egypt, He first commanded the Israelites to celebrate the Passover by slaughtering a year-old lamb without defect and to put some of its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs (Exodus 12:5-10). God promised that when He sees the blood, He will pass over them, no destructive plague will touch them, and it was so (Exodus 12:12-13). At that time, the Israelites were living in Egypt when God proclaimed judgment upon the land. They were regarded as God’s people. Then do you think they would have been saved even if they did not keep the Passover? If so, why did God command them to keep the Passover? This shows that even if they were regarded as the people of God and even if they believed in God, if they did not keep the Passover, they could not be saved. So Moses and his fellow Israelites kept the Passover with faith in God.

Hebrews 11:17‭-‬19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

James 2:20‭-‬24 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Abraham was commended as righteous for what he did and not by faith, and his faith was made complete by what he did. He was called God’s friend because he obeyed God’s commands.

John 15:14  You are my friends if you do what I command.

They showed their faith through their deeds and not by faith alone. Not by words, but by action. Our faith, too, can be complete when we obey God’s words.

In a trust exercise, when you trust the other person, you will fall backward without hesitation because you have faith that that person, say your best friend or brother/sister, or your father/mother, or wife/husband, will catch you no matter what. But what if you hesitate until the end and decided not to go through the trust exercise? Doesn’t it mean that you have trust issues? Doesn’t it mean that you have no faith in the other person?

God, is our Father and Mother, God is our friend, and God is our Savior. God wants us to enter into a covenant with Him – the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31)  so that we can receive the blessing of eternal life and inherit the kingdom of heaven. If we truly have faith in God, we must keep His laws, the New Covenant, so that we can be called the righteous people of God who have correct faith worthy of salvation.