There are many believers that confess that they believe in Jesus Christ and actually labor in some way in Christian ministry within the church or even outside in some way touching the lives of others. Some would apply James the brother of Jesus words to their labors. In his discourse on this matter in James 2:14-26 most would interpret these words of James as to meaning just what it says. This would be especially so in James 2:20, in which he says,but do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? However, it is better clarified in James 2:26, which says, for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Faith is the work of the spirit within, and for believers it is directed by the Spirit of God and the labors that proceed from His faith working in us. Anybody can have faith in anything, but a Christians faith is birthed from the new life of Christ within us. (Gal 2:20) In this and this alone is the old nature cast off and the new nature birthed and brought into maturity. 1 Cor 3:11-15 – For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. What is the loss that they will suffer? The loss of the prize. The foundation that Jesus laid was not a work of His own efforts in His flesh, but a work of the spirit as the Spirit of God gave directions through the Father, without which He could not have been perfected. We are not laboring to just make it into heaven and suffer our works being burned up, but to win the prize.
1 Thess 1:2-3 – We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father. Paul was greatly encouraged by the Thessalonian church. He did not see this happening in many of the cities where he established church’s. Faith can grow as it was in Corinth, but be very immature and carnal. Without the love of God and the pursuant labor of the love working in the church it will remain very immature and carnal. The church will die and become ineffective, stale and powerless to change the world. 2 Thess 1:3 – We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other. The love (agape) of God becomes the foundation that faith must rest on to bring transformation and conversely change the world.