Read: James 1:1-2:26
Faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17
James, Jesus half brother, didn’t believe in Jesus before the resurrection, but afterward became a follower of his brother and a leader in the early church. James writes this letter to the Jewish believers who had been scattered by the persecution in Jerusalem.
James covers a lot of ground in this letter, but one huge theological point that he lays out is that faith without actions to back it up is just talk.
Now, if you’ve read the book of Romans, you know that the Apostle Paul argues that it’s by faith alone that we’re saved, not by works of the law. It almost seems as if these two church fathers are having a debate, one coming down on the side of faith alone and the other on the side of good works that save us.
Under the surface though, what we find is two men who agree on this point. Paul was writing in regards to the works of the law – that following the Jewish law was not what saved people, but faith in Christ alone. James was saying that if you had faith in Christ – your life will look different. You will be a person of good deeds, kindness, generosity, and obedience to Him.
James is saying that if you claim to be a follower of Jesus you better live like it. Because anyone can claim to be a follower just like anyone can claim to be the president. But real faith, real followership is observable.
I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that, like in our day, there were Christians that were believing the “right things” (Jesus died on the cross, etc.), but went on living for themselves instead of Him. For James, belief wasn’t enough – you had to have faith evidenced by a changed life.
Take a look at your life and assess your faith by your actions. Your actions don’t save you – they just prove that you’re living for Christ. So how are you doing?
Lord help me to live my faith, not just believe it. I surrender my life and my agenda to you today. In Jesus’ name, amen.