Real faith uses information for the purpose of transformation. D. L. Moody said, “the Bible was not given for merely our information, but for our transformation.” That is to say, Scripture, the Bible, was not just given to give us facts. It’s not just given to give you a bulleted list of things to know.
Instead, the purpose of the information contained in the Bible is to produce actual, lasting, tangible change in your life. It’s to change the condition of your soul and your heart and your Spirit, so that you live differently than you did before. That’s what James meant when he comes to this passage in chapter two of his letter.
At the end of verse 17, he says, “Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV)
In other words, real faith does something. It changes me in some way.
I can remember the time when I went to church, heard about Jesus, and decided to give my life to him. In that moment, there was a lot going on. I needed to believe that fact that Jesus Christ was the son of God. I needed to believe that he had died for my sins. And I needed to believe that he had risen again from the dead. I believe all of that.
But, I also needed to act. I needed to allow him to transform my life.
The way that we do that is by stepping out in faith, by resting in him. Not just believing that he’s there, but saying, “I take my life and I put it into your hands. I’m going to be different because I am now following you. My faith is going to be a faith in action. It’s going to be faith that works.”
Real faith is not just collecting information. A lot of us grew up in an atmosphere where we thought the most spiritually mature people were the people who knew the most about the Bible. Hopefully we’re coming to understand that that’s simply not the case.
We should increase our knowledge of the Bible, definitely. It’s in studying the Bible that I hear from God. But the most spiritually mature people that I know are not the people who know the most information. They’re the people who’ve experienced the most transformation.
So like at your life and ask: How am I different because of what the Bible has taught me? Have I gone deeper? Have I gotten clean? Have I gotten over some things that are hurts, habits, and hangups? Am I working through those things as a result of what I claim to believe about Christ? I don’t just know more, I’m doing more than I did before.
Check your faith. Real faith uses information for the purpose of transformation.