Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. Philemon 1:4-7 Msg
It’s amazing how many times in Scripture blessings and curses are tied to our actions. Some say faith without works is dead, and I think they are right. Our faith in Christ is impotent unless we tie it to faith-filled actions. As believers, we need to be reaching outside ourselves to speak and behave according to God’s prescribed will every day. To the extent that we keep the gospel message and the change it’s made in us to ourselves, others might rightly question whether we have any faith in God at all.
As there is no point in putting a screen door on a submarine, there is no point to faith without works!
The Apostle Paul’s letter to his friend, Philemon, delivered no small amount of love, encouragement, and testing into the believer’s hands. It proposed a big test of Phil’s faith—one that could only reveal itself through godly action. Would Philemon prove his love for Paul and the Gospel through obedience, or would he fail the test and keep the prize for himself, instead of surrendering it to the mission Phil declared with his lips meant everything to him?
With Paul, we can say, “Oh, thank you, God!” whenever we hear of a brother or a sister who has taken their faith in God out of the closet and put it on display for everyone to see.
That kind of faith wins people to Jesus.
That kind of faith shapes destinies.
That kind of faith encourages us all.
Oh, thank you, God, for that kind of faith!