The term believe appears 124 times in the King James Bible. Meanwhile, the word faith appears 521 times in the Good News Bible. In the context of the Word of God, believe is more than simply agreeing in your mind that something might be true. Rather, believe involves trusting God so much that you are willing to dedicate your life to Jesus. Meanwhile, faith refers to the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works,] James 2:14.
One of the barriers that deters believers in God from acting out their faith is mere intellectual assent. In laymen terms, this is simply head knowledge about God, Jesus and the Bible. Perhaps, this factor prevented the earthly brother of Jesus, James, from becoming a disciple prior the crucifixion. After being an eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrection, conviction within James’ own heart instilled a desire to pursue good works as evidence of his new found faith. James claims that to be a believer isn’t good enough, genuine faith inspires daily action.
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish [spiritually shallow] person, that faith without [good] works is useless? – James 2:20
While listening to a sermon last weekend, I became troubled by my own lack of action. The passage above is blunt, faith without works is useless. Another translation states “faith without works is dead.” You may be able to fool some people, but God isn’t buying inactive Christians. John the Revelator writes in the book of Revelation that God will spit out lukewarm believers. In view of this warning, Get up now while there is time to act by making a difference in your spheres of influence.
by Jay Mankus