Faith Demonstrated

Text: James 2:18
But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. (NRSV)

This text speaks to a deeper truth than simply an argument about salvation by faith or by works.  I really doubt that James is trying to argue for salvation by works.  He is not saying here that it is only by his works that faith is made active.  In fact, I believe he is saying just the opposite.

I believe that James is saying it is only by true faith that works are activated.  Works, for James, are an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual faith that one has.  And don’t you find that true in all things.  Unless we genuinely believe something, that is, have faith in something, trust something, it is extremely unlikely that we will act upon the premise in question.  

It is as simple as thinking about sitting in a chair.  If we did not have faith that the chair would hold us, we would not sit ourselves down on the chair in question.  If we did not have reasonable faith in the airplane, we would not get on board to fly to our destination.  Our faith in the chair or the airplane activates our work of sitting or flying.

Faith in God is shown only when we choose to live out the life God has shown us through Jesus Christ.  If we trust God, we will do the good works that God has prepared for us as our way of life (see Ephesians 2:10).  It is a genuine faith placed in God and the truth of his word as brought to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that activates our work on behalf of the Kingdom of God.  If we did not have faith, we would not live under the rules of the Kingdom of God, but we would instead, live under the rules of this broken world God seeks to transform.

Have you shown your faith in God by your works?  Does your life indicate to others the level of faith you claim?  Has faith in God activated the good works in you that God has prepared to be your way of life?

Pray with me:

God of love and life forgive me when my faith is not strong enough to live out the works you have prepared for me.  Through your Holy Spirit, fill me with the trust in you I need to demonstrate your love for the world by my good works which you have prepared for me as my way of life.  AMEN.

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