True Christian faith is seen in its works.
Paul expresses that salvation is God’s free demonstration of grace, which we receive by faith, and not by acts of merit (Romans 3:28). James states by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24). Indeed, even the demons possess a faith in God, yet have no genuine trust in Christ (James 2:19). Wisdom does not lie in purely intellectual cleverness; it lies in the ethical astuteness that God gives to those who seek Him. James focuses on the connection among conviction and practice, theology and ethics, and to put God’s Word into practice, not simply in principle (James 1:22). Therefore, is it not true that the goal of Christian life is reached when we put God’s Word into practice?
In verses 14-19:
Intellectual assent is the agreement with biblical teachings but is an incomplete faith. True faith not only transforms our conduct but our thoughts and actions as well. If our lives are not changed, devoid of Christian actions, then the truth we claim to believe is false.
We cannot earn or work our way into heaven. We must obey and serve God, in doing so, the works we display should reflect our commitment to God. Our loving works of service should verify our faith and trust in Christ.
True faith should always reflect that our lives are changed as we do good works. Paul spoke against those who tried to get saved by their works, and James spoke against those who misinterpreted true faith with intellectual assent. Have we committed our whole self to God? That should show our true faith.
In verses 20-26:
In Romans 4:1-5, Paul wrote that Abraham was justified for what he believed. Here, James is stating that Abraham was justified for what he did. These two passages of scripture do not contradict each other, rather they complement each other. Believing brings us to salvation and active obedience shows our faith is genuine.
In Joshua 2, Rahab hid Israel’s spies when they went into Jericho and helped them to escape. By doing so, she was showing her faith in the purpose that God had for Israel. This action of faith resulted in her and her family being saved when the city was destroyed. The book of Hebrews has her listed on the heroes of faith.
The response of faith should involve the human will surrendering to God’s Will (Acts 9:6). Faith should lead to us separating from worldly habits (Matthew 9:9), turning away from worldly idols (1 Thessalonians 1:9), and becoming servants of righteousness (Romans 6:18). Faith should lead us to service (James 2:26). When we take action on our understanding of God’s grace, on His power, and on His purpose of redemption for those who believe in Jesus Christ, our faith becomes genuine and expresses itself in our trust and commitment.
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