Tuesday 9 July 2019
Genuine Faith (Part 2)
James 2:14-20 (New Living Translation)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Our faith in Christ should move us to be ready to give practical help to anyone in times of need. In 1 Corinthians 13:2b, we learn that if we have faith that is able to move mountains, but have no love, it amounts to nothing. James highlights in verse 19 that, “even the demons believe”, but what differentiates the faith of a Christian from that of the demons is the act of obedience to God; i.e. love, compassion, kindness, mercy etc, which the devil cannot produce.
Thus, faith without good deeds is of no use. It is just an empty religious expression- ‘a clanging cymbal’, which does not profit. On the reverse side, good deeds without faith have no spiritual benefit either. The two work harmoniously together.
Often, we wish a relative, a friend, a neighbour or a colleague would give their lives to Christ, but rarely do we take that extra practical step of sharing our faith with them. For some, making peace with a relative or a friend, being gracious or compassionate towards others might be what we ought to do in demonstrating our faith. Whatever it might be, unless our faith is put into action, James says, it profits nothing.
We need to recognise that we have been saved by grace through faith not just for ourselves, but to bear fruit that will last for eternity. In all these, we can learn from our master, Jesus, who went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Genuine faith is not only an inner invisible expression, but also outward conduct that has a positive and eternal impact on others. In Habakkuk 2:4b, ‘the one who is right and good shall live by faith.’
True faith is reflected in our love towards all people and true love gives out wholeheartedly.
Finally, let’s remember this; “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6b), and faith without good deeds is dead (James 2:17).
Lord, it is you who causes us to will and to do according to your good pleasure, so help me to act according to your will. Put in me a heart of compassion and love that I may act according to your will. Increase my faith and grant me your grace to act upon my faith in you. Forgive me for the moments that I have not acted in faith, in Jesus’ name.
I Corinthians 13
Eric K Mensah – Leadership Team (Sawyers Church)