A Fruitful Life

Let's do a little studying of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. He writes this letter to defend the gospel message he preached and also his authority as an apostle to do so. He needed to do this because certain Jewish Christians were making circumcision and certain aspects of the Mosaic Law a requirement for salvation. These Judaizers, as they were known, were making salvation a matter of not just faith in Christ, but the addition of works of the Law.

In Galatians 3:1 Paul asserts that the Galatians had been “bewitched” by these men into believing that works are part of what it takes to be justified in the eyes of God. The apostle clearly refuted their arguments for a works-based gospel. But does that mean all works we might do as believers are wrong?  Here’s what I do know. We are all called to live an active and fruitful life for Christ. But, just what does that fruitful life look like?

Clearly the beginning point must be our faith. A faith in Christ that is transformative. Saving us, giving us His Spirit, bringing us hope, and giving us a model in Himself of sacrifice and service. That means for our faith to be truly manifest in our lives, and bear fruit, it must be accompanied by the “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) and born out by doing good works. James, the brother of Jesus, boldly proclaims that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). The integration of our faith and our actions is vital to create a life of purpose, impact, and blessings for others and ourselves.

We know then that faith is not simply an intellectual belief or a passive acknowledgment; it is an active trust and surrender of our will to God's will. True faith moves us beyond mere words and good intentions to a place of action and obedience. It compels us to live out our convictions in practical ways. Faith involves stepping out of our comfort areas, relying on God's guidance and presence to propel us forward and fuels our desire to make a difference in the world around us.

Just as a tree is known by its fruits, genuine faith is evidenced by our actions. The works we do are the tangible expressions of our faith in action. When our hearts are truly transformed by faith, it naturally leads to acts of love, compassion and service. Our faith is visible in how we treat others, how we respond to adversity, and how we steward the resources and gifts entrusted to us. Good works serve as a witness to the authenticity of our faith and opens doors for others to encounter the living God through the testimony of our lives. Our actions often serve as silent sermons that speak louder than our words.

James made it clear that faith and good works are inseparable companions. Our faith provides the foundation, and motivation behind our actions, while the good works we do are the tangible expression of our faith. Without faith, our works become empty and self-centered endeavors. Conversely, without works, our faith remains stagnant and fails to have an eternal impact on the lives of those around us.

But when we combine faith with works, we position ourselves to experience the abundant blessings that flow from a life surrendered to God. Our faith-filled actions align us with God's purposes and enable us to participate in His redemptive work in the world. Jesus Himself declared, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Our works serve as a testimony to the power of God at work within us. They become a bridge that connects people to the reality of His love and grace even as we find fulfillment in fulfilling His purposes.

Faith without works is indeed dead, for it lacks the transformative power to impact lives and bring about God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. However, when faith and works are connected, they bless us and the world around us. A good place to start experiencing the fruitful life is serving where you worship. I don’t know of any churches who turn away volunteers or suggest you just come on Sunday and we’ll see you next time.

Think of it this way - Jesus is calling – how will you answer?

Father, increase our faith and move us to action.  Inspire us to love and serve, and bear fruit for Your glory. Make us living testimonies of the truth that faith without works is indeed dead, but a faith with works brings life, purpose, and eternal significance. Amen

Credit: Ron Kelley

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