What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
The Bible tells us that there are many counterfeits in the world: counterfeit Christs, counterfeit gospels, counterfeit prophets, counterfeit Christians and counterfeit faith. It is a sad reality that the pews (or stadium seats) of many churches are filled with those who profess to know Christ and to have been saved by Him, but whose lives fail to bear even the tiniest speck of fruit to demonstrate that faith. Rather, their lives stand in direct contradiction to the Gospel by which they claim to be saved. Not that men are saved by their works, but that good works necessarily will be found in the life of a true believer. The glorious truth of Ephesians 2:8–9 stands strong and true, that it is by grace that men are saved through faith—not by the work of men, but by the person and work of Christ, a merciful gift from God to sinners. Yet, as dearly as the believer loves those verses, how often the following verse is forgotten:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8–10)
True salvation wrought within a sinner by the power of the Holy Spirit will result in a changed life. Those who have not been changed by Him have not been saved by Him. How tragic it is to watch those whom we love walk down a wide path of destruction, misled by a false conversion and a counterfeit faith. Christians must understand the gravity of such deception and be prepared to confront it.
May you find the following sermon, delivered Sunday, February 10, by Pastor Mike Abendroth of Bethlehem Bible Church, to be a helpful and motivating tool in developing a greater understanding of and zeal to challenge counterfeit faith. Each one of us knows someone who professes Christ with his lips but denies the Lord with his life. May we not stand silent when faced with such false faith…faith that is worse than that of the demons.