Faith and Obedience

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

James 2:15–17

Faith and obedience are opposite sides of the same coin.—A.W. Tozer

As a young man preparing to go to China, Hudson Taylor determined to learn to live by faith alone while he was still in England. His resolve was “to learn before leaving England to move man through God by prayer alone.” He worked for a doctor and was paid quarterly. When the time drew near to receive his salary, Taylor was disturbed that his employer said nothing about it. Taylor had only one half-crown piece, but he determined not to break his resolution and ask for his salary. While visiting a needy home on the Lord's Day, Taylor felt led of God to give his last coin to the needy family.

The next day he received an anonymous gift through the mail, four times what he had given to the poor! The following Saturday, the doctor finished up his work and said, “Taylor, is not your salary due again?” Taylor told him that it was and became disappointed when he learned that the doctor had forgotten about the salary due and sent all his funds to the bank! He prayed about the matter (for he had bills of his own to pay) and left it with the Lord. That evening, the doctor visited him and said that one of his richest patients had come over after hours to pay his bill! He gave the money to Taylor, who rejoiced. He had learned that he could trust God and that therefore he could go to China as a missionary.

Hudson Taylor learned faith by trusting God even when things didn’t make sense. But he didn’t sit around, waiting for God to provide money out of thin air, although God could have done so if He had desired to. Rather Hudson Taylor was hard at work, honoring God by obeying Him.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Without faith, it is impossible for us to please God. We must have faith in all we do.

In the same way, we see in our verses that faith without works is dead. If I were to tell you that I have faith that God will save my neighbor, yet I never witness to him, would I see the joy of his salvation? God could use someone else as a witness to my neighbor, but if I truly want to see him saved, I will be obedient in witnessing to him.

A.W. Tozer put it this way, “The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin.” Faith and obedience go hand-in-hand.

Do you have faith that God will save someone you know, provide for you, or heal a loved one? Then be obedient in witnessing to your friend, working and stewarding your money wisely, and praying for God’s will in your loved one’s healing. Believe that God will answer your prayer but also obey His commands today.

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Daily Bible Reading
Numbers 26-28 • Mark 8

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