WHAT IS REAL FAITH?
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
James 2:14-18 NLT
Today we hit the heart of James. He is daring to challenge us to think about what’s “real faith”?
James has started out his letter talking about faith that is tested and perfected, then he tells us true believers should be doers not just hearers of the Word, and that people with true faith avoid favoritism to anyone. Now he wants to drive home his point that true faith requires action not just mental agreement to a set of doctrinal statements.
To put it simply I think James is telling us this, “Faith that does nothing is worth nothing.”
Some have tried to suggest that James is contradicting Paul. In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul lets us know we are saved by faith in God’s grace and not by works. I do not believe there is a contradiction because Paul is talking about our relationship with God which is totally by grace and faith.
James is applying that salvation to our relationship with others. How will others know we have a transformed life if there is nothing about our life that demonstrates our faith in God? The great reformer Martin Luther was quoted as saying, “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.”
Does my neighbor know that I am a follower of Christ because of the service I give to my neighbor? Is there a difference in the way I live? Does my world see Jesus living through me?
Holy Spirit help me to be a tangible expression of Your love to my broken world. Help me to show Your love through my actions.
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