James 2: 1 - 26
Thursday, 29 June 2023
“… faith without works is dead.” – James 2: 26
Apostle James wrote this epistle that serves as a manual for Christian living dealing with the practical side of Christianity. While Paul in the Book of Romans established the foundation of Christian faith – ie. Justification by faith, here James speaks of the practice of faith—works. They are two sides of the same coin, one complimenting the other.
When the Book of Romans highlights that “a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” in Romans 3:28, we need to keep in mind that Paul was addressing a group of people who put their trust in the works of the Law. They believed that strict adherence to the various works given in the Law will give them a right standing before God. The intent of the Law was explained by the Lawgiver Himself, Jesus Christ, in Matthew Chapter 5. The Pharisees deliberately avoided the intent of the Law but relied only on its outward actions to suit their convenience -Jesus often called them hypocrites.
That kind of religiosity will only take people away from God, since each one believes in his works. In John 14:1 – Jesus said “believe in God and believe also in Me.” Faith is the starting point of Christian life. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). However, the people that James addresses in his epistle relied only on faith and were advocating that there is no need for good deeds since they have faith. The reality is that if you have faith, works is a natural product. True faith and righteous works go hand in hand.
Works will not lead us to salvation, but only faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:10 explains the connection of works with faith. We are created for good works, which God prepared beforehand.
Good works are inseparable from faith for a born-again Christian. In the book of James a few areas to heed, where effective works will complement our faith are listed:
1. Personal Favoritism (James 2: 1-8)
It is showing favour to people who are wealthy in the congregation-honouring them by giving them special seats in the worship services and ignoring the poor man. True faith will manifest when we treat both the wealthy and the poor alike.
2. Compassion (James 2:14-17)
A person professing faith in Jesus Christ must have a heart to cater to the needs of the deprived brethren. Great acts of compassionate works carried out by Christian Missionaries are still serving humanity for centuries. Sharing with those in need, especially our brethren is Christian duty. The society has a lot of orphans, widows, elderly, terminally ill, mentally sick people. We can’t draw back from our responsibility and challenge to take care of them.
3. Controlling the Tongue (James 3:1-18)
A controlled tongue will always show forth the maturity of a true believer of Jesus Christ. If one has faith, but does not bridle his/her tongue, that faith is of no effect!
4. Worldliness (James 4:1-4)
If a person known to be a believer indulges in worldly passions and are lured to the many attractions of the world, people will reject his faith. May our faith be manifested through the effective work of abstaining from worldly allurements.
5. Pride (James 4:5-17)
A boastful person, always proud of himself brings disgrace to our Lord who was humble while He lived on this earth. Servanthood is what our Master taught us – and we need to demonstrate this through our lives.
6. Passion towards wealth (James 5:1-6)
A believer’s faith has to be seen in his attitude towards wealth-Jesus said it clearly that one cannot serve God and money together. Love of money-root cause of evil!
Can we take effective steps (works) that will go hand in hand with the faith that we profess, so that living faith will be manifested through us?
CHALLENGE FOR THE CHRISTIAN: A call to a LIVING FAITH!