Faith is seen in words, deeds
May 2, 2011
by Rev. Lucas Woodford, Zion Lutheran Church, Mayer

If Christianity were illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? It is a startling thought, isn’t it?

What does it mean to confess the faith? Some say believing in Jesus Christ is something between just you and God. And as long as you believe the right thing, you have your ticket to heaven. Regardless of how you live (so the thinking goes), as long as you have the right belief, you are “in.”

But is that all there is to confessing the faith? Is that what Jesus says it is to follow Him?

Jesus paints a different picture about what it is to believe in and follow Him: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.” (Matthew 24:45-47).

In other words, those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord (those who believe in Him) are to be doing the work He has given them to do. To be sure, this work doesn’t save. It does not forgive sins. Rather, it is simply the living out of one’s faith.

The example Jesus gives is that of a servant faithfully feeding those of a household. When people are hungry, they need to be fed. Likewise, when people are hurt. they need to be cared for. When people are lonely. they need companionship. When people are lost, they need someone to go looking for them. When people are burdened by sin, they need the truth of Jesus Christ.

Faith is confessed in word and deed – not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Faith is more than just a private, personal conviction. It is a way of life, lived in and among other people.

If you attend weekly worship, why is it that you go? In the Lutheran tradition, we attend the Divine Service so that our souls can be fed – so that we can be fed by God’s Word and sacraments. Lutheran liturgy reminds worshipers that when we hurt, God brings healing; when we feel lonely, God is still present; when we are lost, Jesus comes after us; and when we sin, Jesus’ body and blood feeds us forgiveness.

When souls are hungry, they need to be fed. God first serves us with His gifts of grace so that we might be renewed and refreshed, forgiven and freed, discipled, and dispersed to go out and serve those in and around our lives.

In other words, confessing the faith is seen in our words and it is seen in our deeds. They go together. They are two sides of the same coin. Merely flipping the coin to see which you want to display is not what it is to confess the faith.

If we were to go to tsunami-stricken Japan and simply walk up and down the streets, passing by all the hurt, the injured, and the hungry, saying, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord. Believe in Jesus,” we may be talking true words, but people would not be able to hear us because we were not walking with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ not only taught with words, but he also taught with His actions. That evidence was clear. In faith, Jesus obeyed the Heavenly Father. In love, He bore our sin. In steadfastness, He cared for those in need. With gentleness, He spoke the truth and called doubters to believe in Him.

To be sure, Jesus talked the talk, and He certainly walked the walk, all the way to Calvary’s cross. But he didn’t stop there, for he also walked right out of the tomb Easter morning and unleashed His love and His resurrection power on the people of this world!

To confess the faith is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and let the evidence of our lives convict us of this faith.