Faith is key in Christianity. In the book of Hebrews, it says it is impossible to please God without faith. From the outside looking in, faith seems like something we possess, which is true but only half of the picture. Faith isn’t something we just claim – it’s a lifestyle we have chosen to live by. It’s active. If it isn’t, we’ve gone wrong somewhere.

As a Christian, you can possess a dead faith. One of the ways that faith is measured is by its “fruit” or “works”. Here is where faith may get confusing. How does someone measure faith? Is it supposed to be measured? If we measure, isn’t that legalism? Confusing stuff.

To be honest, the church hasn’t always helped gain clarity. We’ve added to the confusion by perpetuating the idea that faith is just a proclamation. Some may think they are Christians because they’ve said the words, ‘Jesus, be my Lord and Savior and come into my heart’ or whatever salvation prayer a church may use. But salvation is much more than saying the right words. The concept of salvation in scripture is always attached to the concept that we “follow” Jesus and we become His disciple. Somehow, the American church has done a great job of separating those two things.

Now, proclamations are powerful and need to be made, but that’s only the beginning. Some have settled there and it’s sad to watch. It’s hard to watch someone come to Christ and experience His extravagant love and forgiveness and then just settle on the porch. They never enter into the fullness of what Jesus has for them.

One encounter with Jesus can change your life. But that one encounter with Jesus doesn’t lead to a transformed life. The word ‘salvation’ is described in scripture in three different words, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. These words simply mean that we are saved, we are being saved, and one day we will be saved.

Transformation comes in the process of salvation. It’s an encounter with Jesus but also a continuous process that will be made complete after we cross the veil of death. Your Christianity is anemic if you live from one encounter to the next. You are living your faith on a hamster wheel. You feel that something is at work inside of you but find yourself in the same place over and over again

To clarify, we can believe what the Bible says about salvation. Salvation comes through grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). You can’t earn salvation; it’s a gift. Grace plus doing good works does not equal salvation. Grace alone brings salvation. “Works” is not part of the salvation equation, it’s the fruit (byproduct) of it. Jesus gave it freely. The problem is we don’t steward grace well which ends up being dead faith. You have to take care and respond to God’s grace.

You know you’ve neglected the grace of salvation when you feel like you are on the hamster wheel. Grace is dangerous in that way. It will keep washing over you and forgiving you every time you repent for the bad habit(s) you are stuck in. You need to understand that grace was given to empower you into a new lifestyle. Once you understand that, you will begin to take the proper steps of faith to get yourself out of an unhealthy lifestyle and/or generational dysfunction.

In Romans 5, the apostle Paul describes grace to a religious and nonreligious group of people. He says, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Sin is powerful, but grace is much more powerful!

Simply put, sin doesn’t have the final word, grace does. Jesus is so good to us, every time we return to Him, He allows grace to restore us, no matter the sin or the number of times we commit that sin.

Grace is meant to propel you forward, not perpetuate your sinfulness while making you feel good.

The warning is this – don’t get stuck in the cycle of dead faith! Dead faith leads to callousness. After a while, your perversion of God’s grace will cause you to be numb toward His leading – not because His grace ever runs out but because your faith in Him has withered away.

Keep your faith alive by responding to Him continuously.

If you need help and want to learn how to follow Jesus, visit us at Koinonia Church or send me an email I’d be honored to help.

Pastor Chad

Chad Fagundes is Men’s and Outreach Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at or 559-582-1528.