Every once in a while a crazy, yet awesome, physics teacher will put his own life into the hands of physics. Andreas Wahl, a Norwegian physicist, decided to do just this. He knew that objects will begin to rotate faster when they come toward a center point. To prove this is true, Wahl suspended himself 46 feet in the air from a rope attached to a small weight. The rope took a 90-degree turn on a pole above him and over to a skylift. On his signal, someone was to release the weight, he would fall, and the rope would hopefully wrap around the pole in a superhero gadget like fashion and save him from falling to the ground.
Wahl had studied and conducted this experiment multiple times on smaller and less life threatening scales. Sure, he had faith that it would work. But did he really believe this would work? The only way to prove his faith in this law was through action. Check out what happened below.
The religious world is all about faith. One would be very hard-pressed to find a denomination that wouldn’t defend faith until blue in the face. And without a doubt, faith is the essential foundation of Christianity (John 3:16; 8:24; Romans 10:17; etc). Unfortunately, this defense of faith usually comes at the utter abandonment of the actions, or the “bad word” known as works, which God says lead to salvation.
James 2:14-26 shows the proper balance. Here God communicates just how He feels about faith and works. He said that faith without works is useless (14, 20). He indicates faith without works is unable to save (14). He calls faith without works un-justifying (24). He even goes so far as to say that faith without works is dead (17, 26). To put it simply, if someone claims to have faith but never puts it into action, that faith does absolutely nothing.
“But we can’t ever do anything to earn or deserve our salvation,” someone might demand. Exact right! The two concepts are not opposites of each other. Works are not things a person does to earn or to deserve salvation. Works are things we do simply because God told us to do them. A person doesn’t repent of sins or confess Jesus as Lord in order to “earn” salvation. A person does these because he has faith God will provide salvation just like He promised (Luke 13:3; Romans 10:9-10). In the same way, a person doesn’t get baptized to “earn” salvation. A person is baptized because he has faith God will provide forgiveness of sins and salvation after this is done, just like He promised (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:37-38; Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16).
The point should be clear, both faith and works are essential. Not that works earn us salvation, but that our faith drives us to obey the actions God has commanded us to do. Then, once God sees our faith in action, He gives us His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and salvation. What an awesome Lord we serve! Let’s not just have faith. Let’s not just do works. Let’s put our faith into actions of obedience!