Day 32: Faith Works
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
There is the tendency for us to fall into one of two traps as we think through our saving relationship with Christ : the first is that right beliefs alone justify us and that heaven is our home simply because I believe rightly. That’s a trap! And the second is that one must earn their salvation through good works, that also is a trap!.
While both of these are certainly elements of our saving relationship with Christ; James makes it very clear that you must have both. In fact, in this set of verses we see that belief or faith and works are two sides of the same coin.
“Even the demons believe in God and shudder” – right belief alone is obviously not enough. Rather, James wants us to see that a right belief must be accompanied with right actions or to use his analogy, as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
God, just as Abraham’s faith and actions were working together, I pray that my life would be marked by a faith that works. You haven’t called me to right beliefs only but to a life that is marked by a faith informed by my beliefs. Today, give me the strength and the grace to work out my faith in the big things and the small things that come my way. Like Abraham, I want to be a friend of God!