James is perhaps one of the most practical books in all of scripture and yet even with James’ clear writing there are passages that have been and still are seen in very different light. Our scripture for this week is one of those passages as James 2:14-26 talks about the relationship between faith and works.
What is it that saves us? Is it faith alone? Is it faith plus works? Could works on their own actually save us? People have asked these questions and many more about what is said in these verses, yet it’s not as simple as faith plus works saves or faith without works is what saves. What James wants us to think about and see is that our works are a sign of our faith.
If our works are a sign of our faith, then what does our life say about our faith? When people see how we live and what we do, is it clear that we’ve been saved by the grace of God?
Salvation has been given to us through Jesus Christ and we respond to this great gift with gratitude shown by our works. May our faith and works be united as we live out lives of gratitude to God.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
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