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God's way

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. James 2:2-24 NLT

From the text, James alludes to what Abraham did when he obediently prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. His act of obedience was an example of the relationship between faith and action. As Paul writes “we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith” (Romans 4:9). It was a demonstration of faith and his relationship with God. “You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete” (James 2:22). Once again, James emphasizes that faith and action are never separated. Abraham’s action was a natural overflow of his faith to God. Deeds will originate from faith and that faith proves relationship with God. James’s readers will readily admit that Abraham’s action was done out of his trust and dependence from God. This is why a voice was heard saying, “‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son’” (Genesis 2:12). Abraham’s action as James said made his faith complete. Abraham had shown trust and confidence in God by traveling to the promised land, waiting decades for his promised son Isaac, and finally demonstrating his obedience by being willing to sacrifice him. The supreme test was not so much in his traveling or waiting but in preparing to sacrifice Isaac. Killing his own son meant that the promise would end. But as the writer of Hebrews sums it up, “Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead” (11:19). Not only did Abraham has proven his faith to God but also, James said, it has proven what the Scripture said, “And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6). We are not saved because of our works of righteousness for no matter how much effort we have exerted in doing something that we think will please God so we can earn our place in heaven, they will not amount to anything for those actions will be incomplete. God wants us to be grateful that He is the one who saved us so that we will not boast. “If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way” (Romans 4:2). It is God’s way that we are justified by believing Him that His sacrifice at the cross was enough to save us from our sin. We are justified because we fully trust God through Jesus Christ our Lord and we demonstrate our love to Him when we obediently listen to His Word and acts accordingly.



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