Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Faith and Works - Part 1

Let's get started with the good stuff!

First of all, read James 2:14-26.  If you don't have a Bible near you, click here to read it online.

Abraham and Isaac
For starters, let's look at Abraham and Rahab.  The stories of Abraham are told in Genesis chapters 12 - 25.  Abraham is used as an example throughout the New Testament as the man who embodies righteousness and justification before God.  Rahab, on the other hand, was a prostitute.  You can read about her in Joshua chapters 2 - 5.  Even though she may not have been morally pure, she assisted the people of God in their quest to enter the promised land.  So by her works, she was a righteous woman.

Let's compare this with Paul.  Now on the surface, it appears that James and Paul disagree with one another.  Paul says, "Yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ" (Galatians 2:15).

But pay close attention: Paul abhors works of the law, not works in general.  Paul is simply arguing that justification before God does not come from ritual purity (circumcision, appointed sacrifices, etc.).

James takes this one step further.  Faith in Jesus Christ is only fruitful and alive when it produces good works of charity and trust in God.  For James, faith is not something you possess - it is something you do.

Question for reflection: Where have you seen works of charity enlivened by faith in Jesus?

No comments:

Post a Comment