Bonhoeffer writes that “Faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience”. For Bonhoeffer, faith and obedience are inextricably intertwined. When Jesus first calls his disciples he doesn’t ask ‘Do you believe in me?’ Instead, he calls them to follow him.
Faith in Action
The gospel of Jesus is a communal gospel- a wonderful message of hope and transformation, not only for persons, but for people. You have now not only a divine relationship with God, but a divine relationship with your brothers and sisters around the world. The gospel not only transforms your heart, but transforms the community around you.
How should you love the world? Which action should you take? Just like there are different body parts, there are many different roles within the church. If you’ve ever been to the exhibition space at a major Christian conference, you’ll know that there’s an ocean of organisations eager to sign you up for their mission, and it’s easy to end up feeling drowned with options.
Making a difference in the world is about small steps. It can often feel like the problems of the world are too big and we must therefore give up doing anything to make a difference, but God encourages us to do something anyway. If doing something only helps one person, it’s already better than doing nothing and helping no-one at all.
Evangelism. Many of us shudder at the idea of it. We think of it as such a dirty word nowadays. Evangelism conjures up images of Billy Graham, hundreds and thousands of people flocking to his feet. Contemporary evangelism may have grown up a bit, but we still hold that picture in our heads and it gets results, there’s no denying that.