bits from bob....

Doing Faith

by Robert J. Young
©, 2003, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Language is funny, insightful, challenging. In English, faith is a noun. Thus we talk about having faith. But we do not have any other connecting verb for "faith." In English we do not "do faith." We might "show faith" but that is not very common. We would not "be faith." We would "be faithful." So to speak of doing faith sounds strange. The biblical truth, however, is that faith is something you do. Faith is demonstrated by action. Faith is more than a disposition, feeling, or belief. Perhaps it is unfortunate that we do not have a better verb to express faith. What does it mean "to faith"?

Hebrews 11 reflects the truth I am emphasizing. "By faith we understand...Abel offered...Enoch was translated...Noah built...Abraham obeyed and went...Abraham fathered...Abraham offered...Isaac blessed...Jacob worshiped...Joseph spoke...Moses' parents hid him...Moses refused...Moses chose...." Whether a person has faith is shown by what one does. James speaks of this connection between faith and actions (James 2:18).

Jesus speaks of faithful response to God in feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoners, and comforting the sick (Matt. 25:34-36). Paul also writes of the connection between faith and actions (Rom. 3) and speaks of Abraham's faithful response as the father of the faithful (Rom. 4). Clearly, in Scripture faith is something you do.

Do you want to be justified by the blood of Christ? Accept his lordship by the faith deeds of repentance and baptism in Jesus' name (Acts 2:36-38).
Do you want others to know of your faith? Imitate Christ in compassionate service-- feeding the hungry, sharing resources, comforting those in need.
Do you want to make certain God knows you are faithful? Tell him through the faith deeds of worship.

I recently read an article that suggested the Bible sets faith and all it entails opposite merit, not opposite activity. Faith is dependence. Faith leaves you hanging. Faith accepts the gift that cannot be earned; faith acts based on that which it cannot see nor understand. Faith acts. Do faith.

It isn't a bell until it is rung, it isn't a song until it is sung. It isn't love until you give it away, it isn't faith until you cannot see and do faith anyway. "We walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).

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Last updated October 9, 2003.