We are starting a new series called, “Faith works”. Not in the usual sense of faith bringing forth results but in the sense that faith is active and is evidence by our actions and what we do. We’ll be looking at different aspects of this over the next few weeks.
James 2:14, 19, 24 and 26 say, “My dear brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims to have faith but demonstrates no good works to prove it? How could this kind of faith save anyone?… You can believe all you want that there is one true God, that’s wonderful! But even the demons know this and tremble with fear before him, yet they’re unchanged—they remain demons…. So now it’s clear that a person is seen as righteous in God’s eyes not merely by faith alone, but by his works… For just as a human body without the spirit is a dead corpse, so faith without the expression of good works is dead!”
James was the half brother of Jesus. I’ve heard that he did not believe in Jesus until after Jesus’ resurrection. Understandably so. I know my brothers. If we lived say two thousand years ago and one of them came up to me claiming to be the Son of God, I probably would not have believed them either! Anyway, that’s beside the point.
The scriptures I have picked out for our new series summarise the picture that James is painting for us in Chapter 2. He is talking about how we cannot claim to have faith in God and yet have no works to support it. Our lives need to reflect the faith we profess to have. If our lives look opposite to what we say we believe, where is our faith?
James tells us that a person is seen as righteous in God’s eyes not merely by faith alone but by their works. As believers, we need to come to a place where we are uncomfortable living double lives. Where we are uncomfortable being one way on Sunday and another on Monday through to Saturday. Where we are uncomfortable being all sister wonderful or brother awesome in front of our church leaders and be as mean as a cut snake (as my spiritual mama would put it) to the people in our world.
Our faith, our beliefs and what we stand for need to be consistent with our actions and how we live our daily lives. As children of God our faith is in God. What we believe is founded in the word of God. We believe God’s word is truth. A significant part of faith includes obedience to God’s word. We cannot say we have faith in God and disobey Him with our actions. The two don’t add up. Faith requires corresponding actions.
Faith in the living God cannot be dead or passive, it has to be alive and full of action. We model our lives after the One we believe in, Jesus. If we believe Jesus is kind, then we too must show kindness to others. If we believe Jesus is merciful and quick to forgive, then we must also show mercy and be quick to forgive. If we believe God is love, then we need to show others the love of God through us, through our lives and through how we treat them.
After all, we are God’s children. Our faith in our heavenly Father starts us on this journey of inward transformation as we become more like Him. Jesus said, if we have seen Him we have seen His Father (John 14:9). How wonderful would it be if God can say the same about us, “If you have seen Beth, you have seen Me”. Where our lives are so surrendered to Him that when He looks at us, He sees Himself walking on the Earth.
We are made in His image and faith in God means we must also have faith that He can transform us to be more like Him and live lives that show the world that we truly are children of God. Not by what we say but by what we do and how we live our lives, because faith without the expression of good works is dead.
Love and blessings,