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Faith and Works
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Nov 20, 2002, 11:44

The Adventure Link
Greetings and welcome to the latest edition of this month’s series called: High Performance. We are looking at some lessons taught in the book of James that encourages us to be high performance in our spiritual walk.

Up to this point we have looked at facing trials and temptations, and we have talked about the importance of listening and doing the things in God’s Word.

As we move in the second chapter of James, we get to verse 14 and James begins discussing another topic that relates to high performance living. Lets read the following verses…

James 2:14-26 (NIV) 
    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? [15] Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. [16] If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his 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 what I do. [19] You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
    [20] You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? [21] Was not our ancestor 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 justified by what he does 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.

In verse 14 James refers to “faith”. He uses this word in a special way. The faith he is speaking of here is mere intellectual affirmation. This is not a faith that is a whole life commitment that characterizes the faith we find in the New Testament of those who have given their lives to Jesus. These are people who verbalize they have faith, but they have lifestyles that don’t reflect that. This is what sets up the whole topic of faith and deeds.

In the same verse we see that James uses the word “deeds” as well. He is trying to communicate that faith is invisible without deeds. If faith does not make itself known in one’s lifestyle, then it is only fair to ask, Does it exist at all? He very clearly states that deeds or works are an outward demonstration of an inward faith in Christ.

When James writes in verse 14, “can such a faith save him?” Remember at this point, James is talking about an intellectual faith, not a faith that truly believes and embraces the gift of salvation that Christ offers. James then offers a test case of sorts in verse 15 with a situation in which the person has the chance to respond to a need. The implication is that the Christian to whom the appeal has been made could meet the need but chooses not to, and instead offers pious sounding platitudes. James ends this whole scenario with the conclusion that your faith is not real; it is a sham…you are playing at being a Christian!

Faith in Jesus should change us. It does not make us perfect, as a matter of fact we are a mess. As of late I have been calling it the Messy Christians Club. But our faith should change the way we view the world and they way we ATTEMPT to live our lives. Faith and works go hand in hand. They are a natural fit and should be evident in the life of a growing believer.

Ask the Father this day to let you live your life in a way that reflects your faith!

The adventure continues…

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