Daily Bible Reading – 10.29.2021

Rev. Doug Heiman   -  

James 2:18-26, 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. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 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. 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. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 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? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James said it plainly. If you, merely, state belief in God, your faith is not any greater than the demons whose belief causes them to shudder at God’s holy presence. 

James offers evidence of an authentic faith with Abraham who was willing to offer his son in total trust to God. He had genuine faith because he obediently acted upon God’s message to him. His action was the completion of his faith. Such faith was credited as a right relationship with God and gave him the designation as God’s friend. 

Rahab was a Gentile who covered for the Israelite spies who were preparing to invade and take the Promised Land. In spite of her past, she was deemed to have real faith because of her courageous action in protecting God’s people.  

James’ statement that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone seems to be in tension with Paul who says it is by faith alone that we are saved. They were writing to two different audiences so they had two different perspectives. 

James was combating a superficial faith that was showing no fruit in the life of the professing believers. Paul, on the other hand, was refuting the belief that one may earn salvation by good deeds. So, Paul insisted that salvation is not by works but by faith alone. However, after making that declaration, Paul went on to say, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” (Ephesians 2:10) 

Paul and James would agree that a faith without action is not genuine discipleship. 

Question to Consider: 

What are some specific ways you have seen the fruit of faith at work in your life? 

Weekly Memory Verse:

James 1:22, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.