There is a very real connection between faith and works for the Christian. We see it in our own lives, or so we hope. Our faith in Jesus leads us, inspires us, compels us to action, to works for good. This direct relationship between faith and works seems obvious. And yet, the concept as stated by James in the second chapter of the New Testament book that bears his name has been the source of great controversy.
Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, tried to keep the book of James out of the Bible because he so strongly believed that it is faith alone that leads to salvation. His belief, at least for a time, was that James placed too much emphasis on works.
Like Luther, I believe faith alone saves us, no works we do are enough to earn salvation. Indeed, Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Yet I don’t read James 2:14-26 as saying anyone is saved by works. I read it as saying that faith in Jesus, by its very nature, will yield works, and that if there are no works then there is no evidence of faith. Any claim to faith without works to demonstrate the life-changing nature of that faith is useless and dead.
If we claim to be followers of Jesus then there must be evidence beyond our own word to confirm that. And the world in which we find ourselves today is ripe with opportunities to demonstrate and share our faith.
This week during Midday Prayer Time, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM, I’ll be sharing from this portion of James chapter 2.
Mon 07/02 James 2:14 – 17
Tue 07/03 James 2:18
Wed 07/04 James 2:19 – 20
Thu 07/05 James 2:21 – 23
Fri 07/06 James 2:24 – 26
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