Holiness by JC Ryle has been one of my favorite books for more than a decade. I try to reread it once a year. I'm currently taking a group of guys through it. Last week we were in chapter 8 Moses. Ryle postulates that Moses can be an example for us of faith. During our conversation, the youngest member of our group, a high school senior, asked the question, "How do I know my faith is real and not just head knowledge." This sparked a great conversation. Have you ever had that thought? Here are 3 ways you can know your faith is real and not simply knowledge about God.
Faith is real when it's LOVING
First John 4:7 - 12 reminds us that a demonstration of faith is seen in the way we love one another. When believers show love to one another, even those that are "less than lovable," we are demonstrating faith. Loving one another shows we've been born of God and know God (vs. 7). God's love for us is demonstrated to us by Christ's propitiation for our sins. If we have experienced God's love by His grace, how can we not show it to others? The promise of this passage of Scripture is this, if we love one another (the way Christ loves us - sacrificially) God's love abides in us and His love is perfected in us (vs. 12). Without a love that is demonstrated, there is no faith and, therefore, no reason to hope. This begs the question, do you love?
Faith is real when there's FRUIT
Colossians 1:10 - 11 tells us that a part of faith is bearing fruit. This means faith is active; it is active in such a way that God is glorified and His kingdom is increased. The blessing here is that as we bear fruit, our knowledge of God is increased and our faith is strengthened with endurance and joy. We need to be about our heavenly Father's business if we not only want to demonstrate our faith but expect it to grow. This brings up to the question, is there fruit of your faith?
Faith is real when it's ACTED UPON
James 2:26 reinforces for us the fact that our faith must be acted upon. Without work our faith is dead. God calls us to do certain things for Him, not because He needs our help, but because it is a demonstration of our faithfulness. What work should believers be doing? Make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). This takes many forms and is seen throughout the New Testament in the "one another" passages. Final question, is your faith acted upon?
So, if this is what real faith looks like, how are you doing? Is your faith real? Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let's talk.
Get a copy of the book Holiness here.