Saturday 04 February 2017

Bible Book:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?” (v. 14)

James 2:8-26 Saturday 4 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm 100

The Methodist Church's Bible Month this year focuses on theletter of James. It takes place in June, although churches andcircuits may choose a different time if that is more convenient.For more information (including training and resources), goto


That it matters what you do as much as what you believe is atheme in the Letter of James, which is spelt out clearly andunderlined several times! In this passage the theme is underlinedwith the help of "the royal law according to the scripture, 'Youshall love your neighbour as yourself'" (v. 8). If a fellow humanbeing is without clothing or sustenance and we do nothing about it,what is the good of that? How is that loving your neighbour asyourself? If we neglect those in need we fail to fulfil the royallaw and faith "is dead" (v. 17).

Examples are cited from Scripture of those who were "justifiedby works and not by faith alone" (v. 24). Even Abraham, father ofthe nation, father of faith, worked out his faith in obedientaction and likewise Rahab is revered for her actions in aiding andabetting the spies sent out into the promised land by Joshua (Joshua2).

The well-rehearsed debates about faith and works can be a littlecircular and sterile. Perhaps the Letter of James hints at ahelpful distinction in speaking of belief and faith? "You believethat God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe - andshudder" (v. 19). Can this kind of belief (faith) save you? Clearlynot, as it is empty and barren and dead. It is simply an assent tofacts about God and 'our glorious Lord Jesus Christ' and not aliving faith, which by definition will result in loving action.

Works and deeds are not the means by which we earn God's favour,but they do indicate that we have grasped what it means really tohave faith - and who it is in whom we have faith. To have faith isto embody a commitment to the object of faith - in this instance acommitment to following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, whorevealed God to us and showed us the way to life. The Letter ofJames recognises that things are always easier said than done; thatthe human condition is often prone to following the wider, gentlerpath; and that the way of faith is ultimately a costly anddemanding one.

To Ponder

  • Think of some very practical ways in which you could 'love yourneighbour as yourself'.
  • Reflect on the analogy of "the body without the spirit" beinglike "faith without works" (v. 26).
  • In what ways do you find it costly and demanding to have faithin Jesus Christ? 
Previous Page Friday 03 February 2017
Next Page Sunday 22 January 2017