I remember sitting in my biology class looking down at a fetal pig as the teacher explained how we were going to dissect it. This was not a class I looked forward to. The final for this unit was not a whole lot better. Part of the final consisted of dissected organs in various trays around the lab. We were to identify the organ by sight.
As I was reflecting on this particular column, it was fitting that my mind drifted back to those grueling days in my high school science class. Did any of those specimens equal a pig? Of course not. Each part, organ, and tissue sample by itself is nothing unless they are connected and working together as an organism.
It is the same way with our faith. Faith is made up of several parts that amount to nothing if they are dissected and left by themselves. If you exclude action from faith, it is not true faith. Even the demons believe (Jas 2:19), but it does them no good. Why? The reason is they do not live according to their belief. If I were to believe that a doctor could cure me, it does me no good unless act on me belief. I must go to him and submit to his procedure. We usually call that “trust,” which is what faith is really all about.
No faithful first century Christians one would have ever conceived of trying to dissect faith from repentance, confession, baptism, and a faithful life. This is why they often called Christians simply, "believers". It is assumed that believers are faithful and obedient. Believers actively trust in their Lord by submitting to his will, knowing that he will work all things together for good.
“Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself (James 2:17)”. We can not dissect faith, or it will be dead and useless as it sits there in a specimen tray.
So the question is not merely, “Do I believe in Jesus the Messiah?” The question is, “Do I trust in Jesus the Messiah enough to accept him as Lord and Savior, and live according to him?”