Daily Devotional Friday 27th November 2020by William Moody
20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
To highlight the importance of faith and deeds existing side by side in a believer’s life James points us to Abraham and then to Rahab.
If Abraham had not obeyed God by placing Isaac on the altar (v20-22) could he have truly said that he trusted God? In Abraham’s life faith and actions had to exist side by side. If deeds were not present then it was not real faith.
In saying Abraham was justified through faith (v23-24) James is not saying people are saved through their deeds. The Bible is very clear that people are saved through faith in Christ and not by works (Rom. 3 v22-25, Eph. 2 v8-9).
What James is teaching is that people are declared or shown to be righteous through the deeds of a changed life which accompanies saving faith. Do the deeds of your life give the evidence of true saving faith in Christ existing within you?
The prostitute Rahab is the second example of how true faith produces right actions (v25). It was her faith in the true God that caused her to protect his people the spies who had come to her. We can’t say we have faith and then sit back and do nothing. True faith is like a power within that must bring change and produce God honouring actions in our lives (v26).
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