Faith that talks
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. James 2:14-17 NASB
Salvation is by faith through God’s grace alone (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Once a person gets saved, there will be a subsequent transformation. Part of the transformation will be visible in the way a believer relates to others. This is a proof that the believer is maturing in their faith and a lack of demonstration proves that faith is seriously flawed. This is what James has been emphasizing; our faith should be demonstrated in our actions. There is a relationship between faith and works and it is Biblically wrong to believe otherwise. James from the text provided a hypothetical scenario illustrating the fact that real faith involves action. We cannot dodge what is expected of us when we claim that we are followers of Christ when all we have is talk but no action. This is why a rhetorical question is raised by James; “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” No, it is not good if there is no corresponding change in behavior demonstrated by a person of faith if there is no loving action that responds to the needy person. The needy person presented in this illustration is a believer and probably has been a part of the church. There should be an acceptable response and should not be just insensitive words; “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” (James 2:16). What is needed at the moment is a tangible act of mercy. God wants us to be His instruments of His love. Mercy begets mercy. We received God’s mercy so we show mercy. Love begets love. We show love because God loved us first. “‘We love each other because he loved us first. ‘We love because he first loved us...Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister’” (1 John 4:19, 21 NIV). Whenever God provides us in our lives to be His channels of blessing, let us take those opportunities and be blessed as well because we have a relationship with God.