Today we are studying James 2: 14-26 which is the second half of chapter two. James gives another warning to Christ followers, to take time to consider the condition of their faith. Is it active, alive? Have we let it die, although it used to be very active? James describes faith as being either alive or dead. That’s pretty extreme, huh? Only two choices, no in-between!
Sort of a sidenote…I have always been awed that the Bible is full of extreme opposites…good and bad, right or wrong, righteous or unrighteous, life or death and truth or lies. You don’t read that Jesus partly died for us or partly rose again. We are not called to be sort of righteous. It is all or nothing. We do not kind of tell the truth. God’s Word is not kind of true. It is totally true!
So when James says faith is either alive or dead, we fit into one of only two extreme categories. He gives a hypothetical example of someone being naked or hungry and a person of faith responds by telling them to go peace and be warm and full. Then, he asks the important question:
“(If) you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:16b-17 NKJV
Wow. He tells it like it is. What good is faith if we do not act on it? It makes sense though! What if Abraham did not act on what God told him to do? Have you ever thought how it would be a whole different story in that case? James explains how faith and works go together. Abraham had faith AND works.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. James 2:21-23 NKJV
Rahab, in the Bible, was also justified by works, James says…
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? James 2:25 NKJV
I love how James used examples of faith with, and without, works to help Christians understand how to live out what we believe. I like that he is blunt and to the point! He is extreme in his care and concern for the Jewish Christians. He may think, with all the trials they had, that they may need reminders of things to watch out for, so the enemy does not get a foothold.
And don’t we all need reminders! James’ final thought in chapter two is a powerful analogy. It is a great thought on which to end this devotion.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 NKJV
Faith is like a body full of works. If we do not have works, then our faith is dead. It is that simple but that profound. I can compare this working faith to a working car. If a car does not run, is it any good? Is it helping anyone? Cars were made to run and we were made to act. A car runs on gas and we run on the Holy Spirit!
I don’t know about you, but I feel challenged to step up my faith a bit. Will you pray this with me?
More than anything I want to please You. Please forgive me for paying too much attention to my own to-do list when I can be doing for others too. Will You help me make a to-do list for those that need my actions? Oh, that I could glorify You in that way! Please keep me in remembrance of James words that You inspired him to write about a living faith. Thank You for each new day that You give me. Show me how to best use them please. I love You so much! Amen
I hope you have a great day! With love from the Father to you,