Today you should read: James 2:14-26
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
What a compelling question from James. This is a passage that has been misunderstood as a claim to a works based salvation. Seemingly contradicting Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” How can one author of scripture talk all about grace and the other talk all about works? Which one is it? Well both are talking about two sides of the same coin because James and Paul speak about works (see Ephesians 2:10).
So my question today for us to chew on is what relation does our works have with our faith? Since we know that our salvation is a gift from God and God is the one who draws us to himself so that we can believe as referenced in Ephesians 2, then what do works have to do with anything? Well James shows us that our works are a direct result of our faith (v.18). To explain this a little further I have come up with two different types of belief that we all wrestle with.
1. Theoretical Belief.
Theoretical belief is things that we know or have knowledge of but we do not do. For instance, I know that a parachute will save me if I jump out of an air plane. I know many of folks who have done it and lived to tell about it. However, you aren’t getting me to try it out. Another good example for me is hot air balloons. They look like fun and I know that if driven by an experienced flyer of hot air balloons (not sure what their official title is) then you will be safe. However, I don’t trust it and will not be taking any hot air balloon rides anytime soon.
Theoretical Belief is missing one key element: trust. Without trust it is just knowledge that will never be put in practice in your own life. You can say that God is number one in your life but without trusting his word and following through on it you don’t really have faith.
2. Practical Belief
Practical belief is acting on what you know to be true. So I would show you I had faith in the parachute if I got in the plane and jumped out. True faith/belief is knowledge + trust. That is what James and Paul teach us. Because of our true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we act.
Question to ponder:
What do you actions reveal about what you believe? What have you said that you believe that is not true when measured by your actions?
Posted by: Chad Wiles