Faith or Works? Which Is Truly Important?

Updated on October 1, 2017
Christian17 profile image

Hello, I am Christian and I love to read the bible. I want to be able to share the word of God through writing and hopefully, inspire others


Which is truly important? Faith or works?
Apostle Paul tells us that;

" For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; It is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast"

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

According to Apostle Paul, we have been saved through faith and not the result of works. But wait! Let us hear what Apostle James tells us;

" You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone"

James 2:24 ESV

Confused? It seems that they are contradicting right? but the truth is they are both right and they are not contradicting each other. The truth stated in the bible is perfect because it is the word of God and it will never contradict each other. Apostle James would not write about works if it is not important and the same goes to Apostle Paul about Faith, both are very important.

If that is so, what is the explanation behind this?

Let's Ask the Bible!

First, let's ask what is Faith? What is True Faith?

For me, real faith is believing in God no matter what the situation you are in. Even if you have problems in life, even if everything seems difficult, even if you are losing hope, even if you are experiencing deep sorrow, and even if you think that God is not answering your prayers. A person with real faith will still believe and trust God that he will help us no matter what.

According to Apostle Paul;

" Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Apostle Paul tells us that faith is being sure and that we must not doubt that we will receive the things we wished even we still do not see it or received it.
Let's see what Apostle James tells us about faith. According to him;

" But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the lord"

James 1:6-7 NIV

Apostle James and Apostle Paul agree that we must believe, we should not doubt, and be sure of what we ask and that is what real faith is.

Now true Faith comes with a bonus, According to Apostle Paul;

" But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law."

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

And Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what Apostle James Work is all about. The fruit of Faith.

" But someone will say, you have faith; I have deeds, show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do"

James 2:18 NIV

True Faith will be revealed through our deeds, our good works, and our faithfulness to the word of God. Why is this?

It is because;

" Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We are therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life"

Romans 6:3-4 NIV

It is because we are baptized into our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the death of our Lord, we are able to die for our sins and live a new life, because ourLord already washed away the sins of those who have true faith.

We are justified through Faith and our Faith is justified through our Works.

But we must remember that love is still the greatest like Apostle Paul said;

" So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love"

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

Because we must learn to love before having Faith. Faith working through love is the Genuine Faith.

" For Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love"

Galatians 5:6 ESV

And because we learned to love our Lord Jesus Christ, we obtained a genuine faith, and through this love, we keep his commandments in our hearts and follow them through our works.

" If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

John 14:15 ESV

Good works
Good works | Source

For you, Which is more important?

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© 2017 Christian Santos

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    • Christian17 profile image

      Christian Santos 5 months ago from Philippines

      Thank you for your wonderful response. I learned many things from your comments.

    • AF Mind profile image

      AF Mind 5 months ago

      Good post. I hope you do not mind me adding something to it. Here are my thoughts. I believe works and faith coincide with each other. You cannot have one without the other. It is a relationship, works come from faith. We do not do works to be saved but because we are saved.

      Romans 12 3. The doers of the law are justified. Obedience to the law is essential whether you are with or without it. Here is another occurrence of the phrase. Romans 3 19-21 and 27. We can conclude that a man is justified by his faith and not the deeds of the law. But read Romans 3 31. We establish the law by faith. If one does not read until verse 31, one will think the law is irrelevant. Without this verse you will come to such a false conclusion. Paul is simply emphasizing faith over the works of the law. These are good deeds. If you do good deeds but have no faith in the Messiah, then your works cannot save you. Read James 2 as a witness to this. Following the law is the objective by faith. Read James 2 1-11. Verse 10 is often used to say Torah keepers are wrong. Read it within context. James 2 10-11.

      "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

      "For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."

      So what is this saying? It is speaking out against those who are in the faith, but are not following all righteousness. It is saying, "So you aren't an adulterer? Great. But you just murdered someone. You are still sinning even though you aren't committing that other sin", not saying that following the law is a bad thing.

      Just to clarify on something real quick, loving your neighbor as yourself is not a totally new commandment. When the Savior said it was a "new" commandment, he meant he was renewing it. This is a commandment found in Leviticus 19 18. So we see even here there is a reference to the Old Testament law. And that last verse is very true. That is why the Messiah came. He is the priest and mediator. This is emphasized in Hebrews 6 6, where it says those who fall away and come back are crucifying him again. He will not forgive you if you keep on sinning all you want. You do have to try your best to repent. If you mess up a few times there is forgiveness. But grace is not the excuse to sin. We read that in Romans 6 15-17

      Back to James.

      JAMES 2 12

      "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."

      Some may say that the word liberty means we may be free of following the law. But we already established how the royal law was a reference to the law of Moses. This by no means says we can forget the law. They are different terminologies for the same thing. And to clarify on that last verse there was indeed mercy throughout the Old Testament. This is not a new idea that only applies to the New Testament. He was very merciful to his people. There were those who deserved death but he did not kill them.

      James 2 14-26. What does this mean? It means what good does it do to have faith, but to not be a worker for the faith? Your works must reflect your faith. Otherwise there was no use for that faith. Even evil spirits believe. But they work iniquity. They do not do righteousness. Having faith without works makes you just like a demon. Is it not better to be better than a demon? How much more should we shudder than a demon does?

      We read that Abraham was also justified by works. But many will quote Romans 4 1-8 and say that Abraham was justified by faith. He was. But faith is only the first step. Faith and works must coincide. When we take both the scripture that says he had faith and the scripture that says he had works we see that his faith worked with his works and his works perfected his faith. This is what we can call perfected faith. This is why Paul said we do not do away with the law by faith in Romans 3 31.