The connection between faith and works
Here it may be observed, - that true faith is visible -that it is made so by its fruits - and that those therefore who pretend to faith while destitute of good works, are awfully deceived.
II. True faith is made visible by its fruits
1. We may observe that though works are distinct from faith, so distinct that they are frequently opposed to it, yet they always accompany it as the proper fruit and effect of saving faith, like water from the fountain or light from the sun.
2. As good works are the concomitants, so also the touchstone of faith, and the rule by which we are to judge of its being genuine.
3. The truth of these propositions is confirmed by the examples which the apostle adduces - Abraham and Rahab.
III. Those who pretend to faith and yet are destitute of good works are awfully deceived.
(2.) All works performed before faith, or while in a state of state of unbelief, are no better than dead works, and cannot be acceptable with God. Works do not give value to faith, but it is faith that makes works acceptable: it is the tree that makes the fruit good, and not the fruit that makes the tree good. Enoch was uniform and constant in his obedience, and walked with God; but it was by faith that he obtained this testimony that he pleased God. Let our affections be ever so warm and lively, and our conduct ever so consistent yet both the one and the other must be influenced by faith as the vital principle of all true religion. Faith in the promises, in the sacrifice and righteousness of’ our Saviour, is that only which brings us near to God, and renders our persons and services acceptable. Let it be our care to preserve that connexion between faith and holiness which the scriptures teach, and not put that asunder that which they have joined together, knowing that as works without faith are dead, so faith without works is dead also.