“Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever.”
— Martin Luther (1483–1546)
The above quote is such a salient clarification of how Faith and Works are eternally and mysteriously melded together. Neither can they be separated in the heavens nor should they be here on earth.
God always designed these two to run together in loving unison.
These two, as they come together, faith by its evidenced works that may always be observed, are such an ideal reflection point for the believer as they consider the penetration of the Spirit into their hearts. For, there are times when we might implicitly do things as we are led by the Spirit, without thought, just as Luther describes above. But there are also times when we don’t feel like it, and we may shrink within ourselves, and live again as unbelievers do. We are always on this faith–unbelief continuum. What is our saving grace in the latter situation, when we do not do these good works inspired of faith, is the fact of repentance. We come back to God, admit our error, which is a heart-born tragedy of morality, and we are restored in the moment.
When Faith and Works Are Married by Love
As a man and a woman come before God and are joined in marriage, so do faith and works, as they become the same thing, which we may call love. Love sees to it that opportunities to bless people relationally are pounced upon. Love doesn’t miss much. And where love does miss, love apologises; it makes restitution and seeks reconciliation, never giving up.
Works done out of the motive of love, where there are no strings attached, and the work is done without condition, are evidence of faith, where faith is always motivated by love.
But those who are not won to love never truly get faith until their pride is crushed sufficiently that they are fervently won to God. These are those ones who do their works for favour. And we might all fit, at least occasionally, into this category of unbeliever, though our salvation – once it’s received – is never truly at jeopardy.
We cannot be blessed by God in the spiritual realm, as we exist, as we experience blessing, without throwing ourselves away. As soon as we do throw ourselves away, God gives our true selves to us. By our faith we experience love. But in our unbelief we cannot see love let alone receive it.
Faith means Works, together by love,
And everything of love is from above.
When we see love there are these two parts:
Faith evident in Works and both are about hearts.
Faith and Works are joined in marriage, and when these two become one it’s called love. Love gives without thought, without strings attached, and it desires to receive nothing in return. Love gives because it can. Such is faith. Faith, like love, gives itself away. Works are merely evidence of a love-borne faith.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.