Wise Walking

Opening Prayer

Lord, increase my faith today as I meet You in Your Word.

Read James 2:14–26

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.

Reflect

Are you ever tempted to take an intellectual approach to your faith, at the expense of practical service?

The way of wisdom means that Christians should “walk the talk.” It’s important to remember that James is writing to the believing Christian. In this passage James enlarges his theme of “doing the word,” introduced in chapter 1 (22–26). James uses the example of some wildly different characters to show how faith and deeds are inseparable.

This passage also continues James’s focus on the importance of showing mercy to the poor (16). As Christians we are called to active responsibility.
Here we see the use of two illustrations that show what faith is not (15–17), and then two illustrations to show what true faith looks like (21–24). Negatively, what do the inactive Christian and the believing demons have in common? Positively, what do the two very different characters, Abraham and Rahab, share in terms of true faith?

J. I. Packer writes: “James’s whole letter shows him agreeing with Paul that faith must change one’s life… The truth is that, though we are justified by faith alone, the faith that justifies is never alone. It produces moral fruit; it expresses itself ‘through love’ (Gal. 5:6).”

Apply

James insists that a life of faith is one of continued transformation. How can you allow God to transform you today?

Closing prayer

Father, I pray that Your Spirit will work deeply in me so that I will become transformed into more of who You created me to be.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider