James 2:14, 19, 24 and 26 says, “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!”
We are continuing on with our discussion on faith and works. In its simplest form, faith is acting on what you believe. The verse in bold is in relation to Abraham, the verses before it say, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend,” James 2:20-23.
Take note that, “his faith was made complete by what he did”. These verses are not encouraging us to be silly and take things to the extreme. They are encouraging us to act in faith. As far as I am aware, Abraham was the only person who was tested by being asked to sacrifice his only son. This was a shadow of what was to come when God would sacrifice his one and only Son for the sins of the world.
By way of clarification, if there is one verse where someone stabbed someone, we don’t all start carrying pocket-knives looking for whom we might stab. That’s not God and that’s not faith. It may sound dramatic but I am trying to say is that our faith should be directed by the revelation we receive from God’s word through His Spirit. It is God’s Spirit that brings us revelation and directs us in what we ought to do (1 Corinth 2:10-13; Romans 8:14).
When we act in faith, it must be in accordance with God’s word. You can dig a hole and stick your feet in it, cover it up and call yourself a tree all day, wave your hands with the wind if you like, but no matter how much “faith” you put in that, you will still not be a tree. Why? Because it is not supported by the word of God. Our faith must be guided by the word of God. Not just one lone verse but all of Scripture being read together as painting a picture of who God is and what He expects from us.
My pastor Esther said something that helped me heaps a while ago. She said, “the devil drives but God leads”. Meaning, the devil is pushy. He makes you feel like everything is urgent, “You better do this right now otherwise you are not acting in faith”. “Where is your faith, you should be doing this or that!” He tries to push us and drive us into doing things and we end up operating in fear not faith. We become afraid of what might happen if we don’t act. But that’s not God and it’s not faith.
Faith knows that only God can bring to pass what we are hoping for and it trusts God with taking the next step in the direction He is leading us. This is why the Bible tells us to let the peace of God be our umpire (Colossians 3:15). Don’t just do things. Wait until you get that internal unshakeable peace of God and do what God asks you to do from that place of peace. God does not scare us into action but He lovingly leads us into taking the next step towards where we need to go.
Love and blessings,