Faith without actions is dead.
But what comes of actions without faith?
When someone gets saved, many times our (Christians) emphasis immediately shifts from the grace of God to what they need to do to change their life: stop smoking, stop gambling, start tithing, be at the church every time the doors are open… It’s more like joining the Boy Scouts than embarking on an exciting faith journey.
But just like our relationship with God grows, our actions should grow as a result of what He’s doing in our lives. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…the body does…the wallet spends…’ If we’re expecting newly saved people to immediately “join the club,” are we doing them a disservice? I mean, if we’re putting so much emphasis on living a life of faith rather than actually having faith, are we really trusting that grace is so amazing?
I wonder if that’s what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They sold their property and (sort of) gave the proceeds for the work of the Lord. They wanted to be a part of what the apostles were doing, but their hearts weren’t completely there yet. So they were struck dead.
Struck dead. D-E-D, dead.
Perhaps we’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy by expecting too much of their actions without any development of faith. Are we so anxious to add to our numbers that we neglect organic growth with Jesus in the name of another helper, partner, or member?
I think what we learn in Acts 5 is that motivation matters. Doing what everybody else is doing simply is not enough. God accepts you for who you are, not what you do. But as your faith grows, your actions will follow. A little faith, a little doing. We are still saved by grace, through faith. Even faith the size of the period at the end of this sentence.