”In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
James 2:17 and 26
The Bible has a way of cutting through all the spiritual junk which sometimes surrounds our lives and getting to the nub of a situation or problem in a few uncompromising and deeply challenging words. None of us needs to use much imagination to know what a dead human body looks like – totally lifeless, without response and completely incapable of doing anything. And that is exactly the image which James uses to stir his readers, by saying that unless your faith leads to a changed life, as evidenced by the actions which result from your beliefs, then you are just like a dead body – lifeless!
We are definitely not ‘saved’ by our deeds, for our salvation is entirely the gift of God, an act of grace and mercy, as Paul expressed it so clearly in Ephesians Chapter 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” But then he went on to say in verse 10, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So there we have it, salvation is a gift, but once having received such a wonderful gift, God looks for the fruit (the good works) which He prepared in advance for us to do, which will witness into a fallen world about the truth and love of God and help build His Kingdom.
We each have a part to play – and if there is no evidence of the faith we profess, as expressed by the works we do as a result of having faith, then there is only one conclusion – our faith isn’t real and as far as God is concerned we are as lifeless (spiritually) as a dead body is physically!
I pray that today the Lord will speak into your heart about both the faith you possess and the works that God has called you to do. I was impacted as a child by the song “there’s a work for Jesus none but you can do” As a ‘not-so young’ child of God I still remember and believe those words and am still impacted and challenged by the call to action that our faith demands.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the extraordinary gift of salvation that, in Your mercy, You gave to all those who believe. Help me, Lord, today, to rise to the challenge of walking in obedience to Your call upon my life to do the works that You have prepared in advance for me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.