The image represents that which we believe without having any literal observation.
• Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV-New International Version)
There are as many ways to express faith as there are people with opinions. However, Saving Faith is central to Christianity. Without faith in our one Living and True God, we have nothing. (Jeremiah 10:10). We are repeatedly reminded that our Savior, Redeemer, and King is the Lord Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:15-23). Until we are settled in our belief that Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua, in Hebrew) is our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King, we do not have saving faith.
At the time of the reformation, the nature of saving faith was the predominately debated question. The idea of being justified by faith requires one to ask what quality of trust is required to satisfy the giver of this great gift of Justification (not now a sinner). Some say that being justified by faith alone allows those with the faith to live as they wish without consequences. But the Old Testament is repeated with those who deviated from God’s commands to live like those who lived near them being disciplined by God for their disobedience. With this real and true history of God requiring something different than humanism for life, we must wrestle with the question of what is saving faith.
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” This does not render us, sinners, forever until we are saved by Grace. It does mean that we have obligations and responsibilities that our initial obedience to the Gospel now requires. We understand that our deliverance comes when Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) returns to gather His community of believers to live with him during the thousand-year reign prior to the destruction of our heaven and earth. The New Heaven and Earth will come into being (or inhabited by believers) at the end of this earthly reign (see, Revelation 20 & 21; Zechariah 14).
The ancient writings refer to Christians as very loving people who do turn the other cheek when assaulted on one cheek (Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol 1, circa 177 CE). The Letter to Diognetus is rich with these compliments of the early Christians. There was something about them that an observer would describe as “different” from the other citizens.
In James 2:14, 17, “What good is it, my brothers, if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?… In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” No, this isn’t “works” religion. Luther described real faith as “living faith,” one that inevitably, necessarily, and immediately yields the fruit of righteousness. Yes, Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is along. True Living Faith will produce deeds consistent with one’s faith.
Romans 1:5, “…obedience that comes from faith.” Saving faith will motivate each to accomplish the “…good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10b). You should be able to see a Christian by observing their daily behavior. Therefore, we can say that deeds are the natural consequence of true faith.