Saturday 08 February 2020

Bible Book:

Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. (v. 18)

James 2:8-26 Saturday 8 February 2020

Psalm: Psalm 133


James can be remarkably blunt in his epistle. The rich come in for a pasting as do those who profess to be followers of Jesus but do nothing about it.

In My Fair Lady there’s a song shared between Eliza and Freddy called 'Show Me'. Freddy starts singing about his heart “winging high above the birds” and beginning to crumble. Eliza cuts in and, more than once, tells Freddy not to talk of love but to show her!

We don’t know whether James is answering a specific person or generalising, but he has little time for the idea that faith on its own is sufficient. In a very personal outburst he says: “I by my works will show you my faith.” (v. 18)

A personal piety, even if grounded in the person of Jesus, cannot be enough on its own, he says. Neither is it acceptable to engage in good works without faith. Faith is essential and, if it is genuine, will lead to acts of kindness, grace, charity in the name of Jesus.

This was a reaction against those who argued for an intellectual faith and against others who might argue that good works would satisfy God. We can’t just say we believe – we need to show it, to quote Eliza Dolittle. And we show it because we believe in our hearts and declare with our mouths that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9).

James uses Scripture to prove his case, quoting the examples of Abraham and Rahab whose active faith made a difference to those around them. In fact he says that Abraham’s faith was “brought to completion” (v. 22) by what he did. It led to him being called the friend of God.


To Ponder:

  • It’s often easier to get church folk to do something than pray. How can we properly encourage faith and deeds?
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