James 2:18-26: It’s ALIVE!

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Book of James, Devotions, God's Presence, Holy Spirit, James, Pastoral ministry, Uncategorized

Book of James.00118 Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action. 19 It’s good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear. 20 Are you so slow? Do you need to be shown that faith without actions has no value at all? 21 What about Abraham, our father? Wasn’t he shown to be righteous through his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 See, his faith was at work along with his actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. 23 So the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and God regarded him as righteous. What is more, Abraham was called God’s friend. 24 So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute shown to be righteous when she received the messengers as her guests and then sent them on by another road? 26 As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead. — James 2:18-26 (CEB)

It’s safe to say that we live in a polarized world.  We take sides and there’s very little middle ground.

People are generally labeled as Conservatives or Liberals; Democrats or Republicans; Coke drinkers or Pepsi drinkers; Star Wars or Star Trek fans.  We often don’t find much common ground in the middle area.

The writer of James seems to be addressing one of those polarizing debates of his day and time.  What is really at the heart of salvation?  Some of those in this newly forming church would have been converts from a system that was all about following the rules and the law.  By following the rules and the laws, one could remain closer to God.

Others in this new church would have come from a life outside of the law.  Maybe for them it was all about simply believing.

And then James goes to a place that is in the middle of those polar opposites.   He links believe and action in a BOTH AND statement.

Faith and actions are inseparable.  To believe in God is to act as if one believes in God.  To have the heart of God leads one to live as if one is connected to God’s heart. Faith and action become linked.

Faith is more than just talking about faith.  It’s about putting faith into action.  And belief is more than just an exercise in doing good things.  Anyone can do go things.  Faith and action, then, are linked as a means of living more like Christ in the present world.

And maybe that presents the toughest challenge of all — Believing in God and living for God somewhere in the middle.

Almighty God, thank you again for the reminder that we are called to live faithful lives that lead us to faithful action.  God let our belief in you be more than just something we strive for in our mind and heart.  And God let our belief in you be more than something that just prompts us to do good things.  God, so infuse our lives that in living and breathing, we show the world what it means to be loved by you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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