My thoughts (David Zier):
This is a short verse that can sound a little complicated. Paul can do that!
When someone makes a promise to you, how do you receive that promise? What do you do?
It seems to me that it is by faith on the person’s word that you accept that promise. If you don’t have much faith in that person, I suspect you will hound him or her until the person does what he or she said because you don’t have much faith. You have to put a lot of work into getting what you thought you were getting.
When God makes the promise to Abraham, in the Book of Genesis, to bless his family and his offspring, and provide them the land, they live by faith that this will happen. They live their lives expecting this promise. When the law comes (commandments) much later, the law was in the form of keeping to specific works and doing these things to remain faithful.
It seems to me that Paul is explaining faith versus works. Christ reminds us that it is by Faith that we stay connected to God, not just the act of doing. Yes, Faith will produce works, but the works themselves do not produce faith. Remember my example in the first paragraph above? Hounding someone to follow through on a promise does not give us more faith in the person. It probably just makes us tired!
So it is with works. Faith in God produces good fruit, which includes good works. But just doing the works will not produce a relationship with God or help me feel secure in God’s grace. That can only come through Faith. Therefore, we must cultivate that Faith so that it is on a trajectory of growth.
Thought for the day: How am I cultivating my Faith in God? How can I do more of that? Pray, worship, invite God into all areas of my life, live generously, and act as if Jesus is standing right beside me.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.