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A critic for James
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Nov 21, 2002, 11:45

High Performance continues….

We continue our look at James and the instruction that he gives about what we have called a High Performance lifestyle. Yesterday we waded into the topic of faith and works, and we were reminded that we should live in a way that reflects our faith. We are going to continue to do a bit more work in that passage today before we move on. So lets review the passage found in James 2….

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 18 James continues to press his point by responding to an imaginary critic who raises a new issue. This imaginary person contends that both faith and works are good on their own. The critic contends that both are good things and worthy of praise. James disagrees, he states that faith and works are not an either or relationship, but instead a both/and, as he points out in the verses that follow.

This brings us back to a point that we made yesterday. When Jesus changes us, we change from the inside out, and that will spill over into the way we live our life. In verse 18 James says it with a bit more when he says, “show me your faith without deeds”. James is saying that faith is invisible without deeds. If personal faith does not make itself known in one’s lifestyle, then your faith is struggling, to say the least.

At the heart of this section of scripture is the idea that faith and works, hand in hand and functioning together characterize the life of a person who is growing in a dynamic relationship with the Savior. Faith spurs and motivates action. As one gets active there is a maturing that begins to happen in your faith.

This is not a plea to get you to do more! This is an encouragement to help you understand that real faith changes everything. Our lives become different and we become a people that are truly on mission for Christ. Your faith is not made stronger by doing stuff, but you find a new maturity comes as you are obedient.

Perhaps this is a good time of year to take inventory of what we have been given, and how we live our lives. Take a few moments to be thankful and reflect on all that God has given you. Then take the time and honestly ask God what he would have you do to better touch and change the world with the love of Jesus. Real people making a difference in the real world….that is high performance living.

Next time we move forward and look at a few more things as we hit the homestretch of this month. Next month on the Adventure Link we start our celebration of Christmas with a series called…Are you ready to believe?

The adventure continues….

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