Faith Without Faithfulness Is Dead

Dr. Douglas Wingate, Ph.D.
Life Christian University

This past January 13th, Jesus gave me a mini-vision that has proven to be prophetic for a number of people. In the vision, I simply saw a door that opened and beyond that door was another door. Each door opened successively until I saw about 10 doors and their openings. Right after that, the Lord spoke to me and said, “This will be a year of open doors for you.” At the time I didn’t know this word would be meant for others as well, but soon after, my wife, Susan, began telling me that a number of prophetic ministries she had been following were declaring the same word.

When a prophetic word comes that we believe is for us personally, it is vital that we realize the importance of our responsibility to that word. When God reveals something about His future will for us, He is doing so in the context of covenant. He is always thinking of our partnership. We must be faithful stewards of our part of the covenant, which, in this case, is to bathe the prophetic word in prayer so that we will recognize the doors when they open. Most of these prophecies are conditional words that will not come to complete fruition without our faithful participation.

I love the book of James. In James 2:17 and 20, James tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” We know that James is referring to the corresponding actions that result from hearing God. He is using the illustration of Abraham offering his son Isaac on the altar at God’s command in verse 21. I believe that it would be suitable to substitute the word “faithfulness” for the word “works” in this entire passage. In other words, faithfulness is the reasonable and appropriate response of a believer when they hear directions from such a loving Heavenly Father, or from such a compassionate Lord and Savior. So now we can easily say, “Faith without (faithfulness) is dead.”

I love the understanding that comes when we read verse 22 and substitute the word “faithfulness” for “works.” It says, “Do you see that faith was working together with his (faithfulness) and by (faithfulness) faith was made perfect.” Also verse 24, which says, “You see then that a man is justified by (faithfulness), and not by faith only. The reason I believe we should revere the perspective of James is this: no other human on earth spent as much time with Jesus as this man. As Jesus’ half-brother, and the second son born to Mary, James would have lived and worked right next to his older brother, Jesus, for perhaps 25 years or more. Jesus knew from the age of 12 that He had to be about His “Father’s business.” I am sure that He developed His teaching ministry by constantly sharing His insights with His own family.

James probably heard more of the Word of God taught by the Messiah than any other man alive. And yet, he did not believe in his own brother’s ministry when Jesus launched out around the whole country. We don’t know why he didn’t follow his brother, or even if he had been asked to go, but if he didn’t believe in his brother’s cause, he very well may have felt that Jesus had abandoned the family carpentry business, leaving him, James, with the all the responsibilities.

When Jesus and His disciples were so busy ministering to the people that they couldn’t even eat, James and the family came to take Jesus away, thinking that He had gone insane. Mark 3:21 says, “But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’” We are familiar with the deep remorse that Peter had, having denied knowing the Lord right before the Crucifixion. Can you imagine how James must have felt after Jesus was raised from the dead? He had listened to his brother for 25 years and never believed in Him. When he came to the realization that his own brother really was the Son of God, who died for him, and is now his Savior and Lord, he must have also felt great remorse. I believe that he determined right then to be the most faithful of all the disciples. He began to use the great wealth of understanding, now flooding his mind by revelation, from all of those years of mentoring by Jesus.

James’ deep commitment and faithfulness to Jesus found him exceeding the influence of even the Apostles of the Lamb. He became the Pastor of the Church at Jerusalem, from which the Apostles themselves traveled out and came back to report.

I believe if we diligently pray about God’s open doors for our lives and ministries, and determine, like James, to faithfully do what the Lord is leading us to do this next year, that we will find greater fruitfulness for His kingdom than we have ever seen before.

Dr. Douglas J. Wingate,
President and Founder of Life Christian
410 E. Chapman Rd.
Lutz, FL 33546


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