Justified by true faith
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. James 2:24-26 NLT
A sinner is justified by having true faith. This is what James is emphasizing in his epistle. In fact, James mentioned the word “faith” eleven times just in James 2 alone. True faith is alive and expresses itself in actions not just in words. By citing Abraham as an example of a person having a true faith in God might create a problem for a believer who might think that he or she cannot match Abraham’s exemplary life. This is why James gave a second example. Rahab was a prostitute who also demonstrated true faith for she too acted out her life of faith in God. Abraham is a man of refutation and he represents the Israelites when God established His covenant with His people. Rahab knew about Israel’s God only by hearsay; yet upon trusting God, she displayed her faith by identifying herself with God’s people. Though Rahab was a Gentile, she lived among the Israelites. God had shown her to be “right with God by her actions.” This display of her true faith took place when he told the two spies about her faith in the God of Israel. “‘I know the Lord has given you this land,’ she told them. ‘We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below’” Joshua 2:9-11). Rahab’s testimony was placed side by side with Abraham’s, for she, too, displays her faith in Israel’s God and acts in faith. For this reason, she is considered righteous and is justified. Rahab, like Abraham, placed her faith to work in daily life and under dangerous conditions. God justifies her because of her faith that comes to life through her actions prompted by her confidence and trust to God.