Wednesday 10 July 2019
Faith in Action (Part 1)
James 2:21-26 (New Living Translation)
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.
So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
In these verses, we learn that God credited Abraham with righteousness as a result of his faith. James explains that Abraham’s faith was made complete by his actions. His act of obedience to the ‘voice’ of God brought his faith to ‘life’. Without action, Abraham’s faith would only have been intellectual assent, clothed in empty words. Thus, faith is only active if it is acted upon. The measure of our faith is the act of our obedience to the word of God – our ability to wait on His promises, follow His instructions and walk in His will.
The question is what guarantees our act of faith? Well, we learn that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). We also learn that God looks upon His word to fulfil it (Jeremiah 1:12). So, we can be confident to act in faith and put His words into action, knowing that there are no lies in Him. Sometimes His promises seem to linger, according to our estimation, but let’s keep the faith alive; wait on Him, act on His word and He will surely accomplish what He has said to you (Habakkuk 2).
In the verse 23b, we see Abraham was considered to be a friend of God, because he believed God and acted on His word. We read in Genesis 22 and Romans 4 that Abraham waited for the promises of God for as long as it took, despite the weakness in his body. He was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.
For a Christian, acting in faith is not an option. It is by faith that we receive the righteousness of God and are justified through grace to be called the children of God. We learn from Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” To diligently seek God is to diligently seek to act on His Word. Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “why do you call Me Lord, Lord but do not do what I say?
The only way to see the glory of God in and around us is to arise and act upon His word through faith, empowered by His Spirit. Until we make our will lost in His will and make the effort to act in His Word, our faith remains an empty religious expression without real impact. It is our act of faith that reveals the awesomeness of God in our lives.
Eric K. Mensah – Leadership Team – Sawyers Church