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Summary: Faith without works is dead. How often have I heard that sitting in the pews. James talks about meeting peoples needs as a way of showing faith. I want to take that a step further.

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James 2:14-26 what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (16) If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. (18) But some will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (19) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that -- and shudder. (20) You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the alter? (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 justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (25) In the same way, was not 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.

Faith without works is dead. How often have I heard that sitting in the pews. James talks about meeting peoples needs as a way of showing faith. I want to take that a step further.

(14) What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (16) If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.

In the previous verses of chapter 2, James talked about prejudice, pride and discrimination and he concluded with “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Putting that together with the reading this week, and I see that a way of showing our faith by our deeds is to not be prejudice or discriminatory.

Jesus taught us about giving in Matthew 6:1-4.

He told us not to do our acts in front of men but to do them in secret. Do not let our left hand know what your right hand is doing. Our honor is not what is important. What is important is how we portray or faith in our everyday lives. Our actions must be out of mercy and compassion. There is not a single example in the bible where Jesus Christ did anything to honor himself. Rather, he was always seeking to honor his father. His life was a living example of mercy and compassion.

(18) But some will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

As believers in Jesus Christ, it is our responsibility to show our faith by our actions. No matter how long a person has believed, unless his actions show a belief, there is no way to tell. How can a love that fills and changes your life not affect how you act? The answer is that it is not real belief but rather an intellectual agreement with the principles Of Jesus Christ. Some of the more astute scholars I have read refer to this as intellectual assent. That is not true belief or love. It is an incomplete faith with the beginning of a foundation but concrete to build on. If our lives were to remain unchanged, then we would not be an effective witness for Jesus Christ.


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