Faith without works is dead
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:26 NLT
James, after giving two contrasting types of people who surrendered their lives to God and had proven such relationship with Him through their actions, once again gave a stern warning. God knows how much we need to have this warning for this is what churches deal in our times. People who walked in the aisle to profess faith in God yet will not show any interest in growing in their relationship with Him. They will not take any responsibility in serving God and will remain unchanged in their attitudes. To this matter, James gives a resounding admonition, faith without works is dead. We cannot just claim we have faith and sit idly. Abraham’s and Rahab’s faith led them to action. James’s point is that such teaching did not change through the centuries. What was expected of believers in the Old Testament times is the same throughout the history. Authentic faith will lead to action! Faith that is alive expresses itself in obedience to God’s Word. This is why James compared a faith without works to a dead body. The readers of the epistle know that they are not supposed to touch a corpse. The body without the spirit is dead and so is the faith by itself without works is dead. James compared faith and deeds to man’s body and soul. These two belong together for it is what constitutes a living soul. “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (Genesis 2:7). When we realized we are sinners and come to God for repentance, we are saved by faith (see Ephesians 2:8–9). Then, we live out the new life God gave us and we must walk by faith (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). As we grow in our relationship with God, we realize that without faith it is impossible to please God (see Hebrews 11:6). We grow in discernment and wisdom that is why we avoid temptations for whatever we do apart from faith is sin (see Romans 14:23). Somebody has said it well, “Faith is not believing in spite of evidence, but obeying in spite of consequence.” When we read the Scriptures, we meet men and women who acted on God’s Word, no matter what the cost. Faith is not some kind of a vague feeling that we work up, for it is having confidence that God’s Word is true and a conviction that when I act on that Word, it will result to experiencing God’s approval and His blessing.