Showing faith by deeds!
Scripture reading for November 19th: James 2:13-3:18
James was writing to counter a teaching about faith that emphasized believing but not repentance. Today, many have been told that all they need to do is believe in Jesus and say a sinner’s prayer and they are saved. Many have done this but never have any further fruit of faith demonstrated in their lives. They never go to church, pray, read their Bibles, or help the poor and needy. James, the Apostle and half-brother of Jesus, doesn’t come against salvation through faith alone. He simply states that true faith produces corresponding actions and fruit that demonstrates our true converted state.
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17) James uses a practical example of a common need in the body of Christ. Who would say that a simple declaration of of wishing a needy brother or sister well would demonstrate a true heart of Christ’s compassion? If we have means to help, we would help this person practically. Likewise, if we have faith in God’s grace to us, we will have deeds reflecting our faith.
James goes on to cite Abraham as another example of faith in God that was demonstrated by corresponding action. Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, on a mountain God would show him. Abraham had been told that through this son, all nations of the earth would be blessed. (Genesis 12:3) Abraham believed God and obeyed him and God credited his faith demonstrated in this way as righteousness. (James 2:23)
James final example was the prostitute Rahab, who hid the spies and obtained God’s approval and righteousness. God is always looking for those who believe Him and obey His word and revelation to them. True faith always produces actions. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26)