James 2:14-26. SHOW ME YOUR FAITH -5-13-19 devotional

James 2:14-26. SHOW ME YOUR FAITH -5-13-19 devotional

James 2:13-26         Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 2:18     5-13-19

“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Dear Lord God Almighty. Thank you for showing us the most satisfying path in life and leading along this path until we see you face to face in the Kingdom of God. Seeing different places and meditating on humanistic self-help statements only satisfy so much. We need your word and your grace and your guiding hand to truly satisfy our souls. Thank you for being there so that I can turn to you and meditate on your grace and truth. Help me to understand something about this passage today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Part 1: Saving Faith Will Be Accompanied by Action (14-19)

Verses 14-19: “14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! “ (ESV)

Apparently, there were some Christians who were saying that a person could have saving faith without accompanying works. They were saying that believing that “God is one” was enough to be considered saved and a member of God’s household. James wanted to set them straight. True Christian faith is necessarily accompanied by good works. And simply believing that God is one is not enough. James says that even demons believe that and yet the demons are definitely not saved.

Similar ideas are floating around today. There are some Christians that are so against associating salvation with works that they completely divorce saving faith from works. They rightly say that works cannot save you and that works are simply expressions of faith. Works are an act of worship. They are acts of obedience and expressions of thanksgiving to God. But they separate works from salvation. Some site the thief on the cross next to Jesus, who was saved by his faith alone, for he was unable to do any good works for he was nailed to the cross.

But, from this passage, we see that Biblical faith is expressed in action. If our faith does not take root in our hearts and flow into our hands and feet, it is dead. Faith that does not affect our lives is not real faith. Such faith is insincere. It is just like saying to a hungry brother, “Good luck. I’ll see you around,” and then doing nothing to help him.

How we reconcile all of this. I look at it this way…. faith in Christ and the Gospel is what saves you. Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior makes us into children of God. John 1:12 reads, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (ESV). The thief on the cross was saved through believing. He would go to paradise with Jesus.

But, if our faith is genuine, God will transform our lives. We will become new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV) Our hearts are not the same. We will want to do good works. The Holy Spirit will work in hearts and compel us to do good works. Our life will be marked by good works that bring glory to God. It will flow from within us and out to others. God does this so that the goods works God produces in our lives will bring glory to Jesus and his Gospel. Our lives will also be blessed through them. We will taste heavenly joy. This is not saying that our works saves us at all. Works do not save. Faith saves. But if our lives are not producing good works, then we need to stop a moment and ponder our spiritual condition.

If we claim to be Christians and do not have good works pouring out from our lives, we need to step back and assess ourselves. According to James, even demons believe that God is one. But demons do not have good works. That is the equivalent to a person saying that they are Christians and believe that Jesus is the Messiah who came to save us from our sins and give us eternal life, and they do not live a Christian life at all. It is like a Mafioso that goes to church and at the same time shakes down people and murders them. Does that make any sense?

I am not saying that once you are saved then you go out and start up orphanages, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens and donate your kidney to a stranger. No. But you will begin to show acts of kindness and concern for others. A person who was always angry begins to be patient, kind and compassionate. A person may serve in the church. They may volunteer at the local soup kitchen or food pantry. They may start to show more attention to their kids, and show love and concern to their spouses. They may begin to obey some of the practical direction that they hear from their pastor in the pulpit…etc…etc.

If our lives are not marked by godly works, then we need to be slow to speak and be quick to listen to God’s word. We need to look into God’s word and keep looking intently into it as looking into a mirror until God speaks his truth into our hearts. If a person claims to be a Christian, then they can surely pray to God to help them overflow with good works for God’s glory.

Part 2: Examples of The Obedience of Faith From The Bible (20-26)

Verses 20-26, “20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (ESV)

James gives two examples of faith that is seen in actions. One is Abraham. He was called God’s friend. He trusted God so fully that he could obey him even to the point of offering his only son on the altar. Paul tells us that obedience comes from faith (Ro 1:5).

Romans 4b-6 reads, “…Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” (ESV)

The other person James uses as an example is Rahab. She was a prostitute and a Canaanite–one of those destined for destruction. But she believed that the God of Israel was the Creator and Lord of the earth. She showed her faith by risking her life to help two Israelite spies. God considered her righteous, and she was saved.

There is definitely enough evidence from the Bible telling us that faith and obedience go hand in hand. Apostle Paul called it, “Bringing out the obedience of faith.” (Romans 1:5) Why do we call Jesus our Lord and Savior? If he is our Lord then we need to obey him.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have practical faith. Help me couple faith and works so that you can shine froth from my life.

One Word: Show faith by obedient actions

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