Speak and act
So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. 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? James 2:12-16 NLT
James, once again from the text, repeated what he already alluded to about the value of acting on what we have said (see James 1:26-27). Words without actions are useless. We speak and act based on the freedom we received when we came to know Christ. It is His love working within that prompts us to take actions on what we claim we believe. Let us not forget that God is watching our actions. “For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes” (Proverbs 5:21). And God will judge our actions based upon what He had accomplished on our behalf when He freed us from the power of sin and selfishness. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable: (Hebrews 4:13). That is why James can say that God is pleased when we act upon our beliefs guided by biblical principles. This is why when we live our lives obeying God, we experience joy and freedom. God had shown us His unmerited favor when we asked Him forgiveness of our sin, therefore we also have to show mercy to others. Rahab protected the Israelite spies by showing them mercy when they are pursued. Then, when Joshua attacked Jericho, Rahab and her family received mercy from the Israelites. Rahab who is a Gentile and a prostitute received mercy that trumps justice. Mercy has to be expressed through our actions or else God will judge us and will not allow us to receive His mercy. We did not earn God’s mercy for He freely gave it to us when we sought it and admitted that we are sinners. Our gratefulness to His mercy is what will motivate us to take actions by caring for others.