Guest post by Jeanette Andrade
November 20 Scripture Selection: James 2
Food for Thought: James 2:14, 17-16
Who could resist this hot topic?! Well, I sure can’t. But before we address today’s selection, let us review Romans 10:8-10: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Drawing from both James and Romans, we can come to some conclusions regarding the whole faith versus works question: First, believing that there is a God is not what saves you from your sins and the consequences of them. (Remember, even the demons believe and tremble!) Nor does faith alone save you. There are plenty of people who put their faith in a false religion, and though they may be sincere, they still have not entered the saving faith. The apostle Paul makes it clear that the faith must be based on the “word of faith” which he and his co-laborers preached (Rom. 10:8). If it is based on some false teaching, the foundation will crumble. Once someone believes in the truth of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then there is something to do, something that should naturally flow from his/her lips: the profession of faith. If he/she truly believes it, it will come out of his/her mouth. That is an action. In addition, precisely because he/she believes, he/she will take action as evidence of that faith.
James 2: 21-25 gives the examples of the faith in action of Abraham and Rahab. Abraham could not just say, “Yes, Lord, I believe you,” and stay where he was. He so trusted the word of God that he went where the Lord sent him. He later proved his faith again by taking Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice (vs. 21). If he hadn’t obeyed God, then his so-called faith in God and His word would have been empty. Really, it would not have been true faith. (See Gen. ch. 11-22 for his story.) Likewise, because Rahab believed in the God of the Israelites and knew the destruction that would come to her people, she took action to save herself and her family. Her faith compelled her to do something, something which saved her and her family (See Joshua ch. 2-6 for her story).
Now, just what works are involved in expressing our faith, or as evidence of our faith? Certainly, they are nothing man-imposed. There is not out there (other than believing with our heart and confessing with our mouth) a list of requirements written by any man, council, or denomination in order to be saved or to maintain our salvation. However, if the person has truly been born again, there will be evidence of his/her new spirit and a natural desire to please the Father. That evidence is found in the fruit (that which is produced) of the Spirit. Such fruit is found in Galatians 5:22, 23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” A person, though not yet perfected or mature, who has accepted the new life in Jesus will show signs of it by doing things that reflect the presence of the Spirit within him/her. It is unavoidable because a person who has received Jesus as Savior has received His nature (II Pet. 1:2-4). He/she will do what Jesus does. That is why the Word tells us to be led by the Holy Spirit and walk by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13). Everyone must make decisions as to what to do based on faith according to the situations at hand, not just to fulfill some imposed quota.
It all comes down to this: I do not HAVE to do any particular thing to impress God or earn my salvation; rather, I WANT to do things that please Him because I love Him. No pressure. Just love.
Digging Deeper (What scriptures can further enhance today’s reading?):
Getting Personal (What has God shown you in today’s reading?):
Confession of Faith (Example: Lord, based on Mat. 1:21 and 23, I understand that Jesus is God…)
Important Events on This Day (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.):