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Faith and works

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. James 2:14-17

In everyday life, we measure value by performance. If we buy a can opener that doesn’t work, we return it to the store. If we take our car to be repaired but it comes back with the same problem, we demand to the mechanic to fix it again or probably take it to someone else. We have a tendency not to live as we should as believers and that we can do better. From the text, James presented a theological discussion on the relationship between faith and works. He has already stated previously (see James 1:19–27) that our faith needs to be more than talk. Now he must address those who have been led to believe that behavior is not relevant to faith. Our position before God is important if we want to improve our speech and our deeds to be more loving toward others. Faith and works are members of a mutual, binding partnership in which both cooperate to show that a person is truly in Christ. It will be unhealthy and biblically reckless to separate these two vital entities in a believer’s life. A person who claims to be in Christ must be able to do what he or she claimed or credibility is lost. Not only that, such inactivity will mean missing on the opportunity to do the work that needs to be done. Words alone are not sufficient fulfillment of loving one’s neighbor. No, it does no good if a person has no behavior to back up his profession of faith. It is hoped that none of us looks like a spiritual corpse. It is also hoped that none of us is so naive as to think that we demonstrate the credibility of our Christian faith by things like church attendance and participation in religious activities. We are called upon to apply Jesus’ law of love in our everyday lives. We need to make ourselves willing instruments of God’s love whenever life gives us the opportunity.


Noel De Guzman

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