Real In Me

November 21, 2019

James 2:14-26

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” - James 2:26

Have you ever heard the phrase; “Actions speak louder than words”? How about, “The proof is in the pudding”? When I was a kid, there was a familiar scene on the elementary school playground almost every day. Inevitably someone would boast about how fast he could run or how high he could climb, and his bragging would be met with a familiar, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” If I could sum up James 2:14-26 into a simple phrase it would be, “Prove it.”

On the “playground” of religion, many claim to have faith. Research shows that 92% of Americans say they believe in God, and 76% say they believe in Jesus Christ. Why, then, is there a continuing moral decline in our country? If the overwhelming majority of people believe in Jesus Christ, why isn’t that supposed faith translating into our culture?

There is a difference in saying you believe and actually believing. The first involves only lip service, but the second requires the messy business of living out your faith in Jesus Christ. And according to James 2:26, the two are inseparable. True faith will always be accompanied by life proof. Deeds are the life of faith just as the spirit is the life of the body. James is not suggesting that we are saved by our deeds. The root of salvation is always and only grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Deeds, however, are the fruit…the evidence that the root, which is unseen, is indeed there.

Abraham is the example James gives in this passage (verse 23). When he obediently offered Isaac as a sacrifice, his deed fulfilled what God had said about him. God credited Abraham’s faith as righteousness before Isaac was even born. This proves that it wasn’t Abraham’s obedience that saved him, but it proved his salvation was real. His faith and actions were working together. The two are inseparable.

How can faith be proven without deeds? Even Almighty God, who is invisible, proves His existence and character by His works. How much more so then should we, His children, do the same? Salvation is eternal. It is an unseen work that shifts us from the physical to the spiritual realm, moving us from death to life. On the outside we look the same, yet in reality something has drastically changed. And if you try to explain that to someone, you are likely to be met with a schoolyard, “Prove it!” And while it is not our job to prove God is real; it is our job to prove He is real in us.

Dear God, All of the good works in the universe could not save me…I know this. You alone deserve the credit for that; and I boast in Your work alone. Thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. Help me today to prove this unseen faith and joy by how I live. 

 In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Topics: Faith

Bible Reference

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
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.
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
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?
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.