James – Friday, March 20
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
It is clear that professions of faith are useless, if they are not connected to tangible evidence of faith coming from our lives.
Anyone can say “I have faith.” Jesus even said that there will be many in the day of judgment that will claim to have had faith in Him … but they were actually doers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23).
If our profession of faith doesn’t produce outward evidence, then it’s not real and saving faith. It’s just words. The kind of faith that is real and saving faith is faith that produces works. It is not as though our works save us—we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5). But when a person truly believes, his faith shows up in the way he lives.
Someone has asked the rhetorical question, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That pretty much sums up the heart of James’ argument here.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. What is your profession of faith? What do you say to God, to others, or to yourself about what you believe?
2. How is your profession of faith made manifest by the way you live your life? What evidence is there that you have saving faith?
3. Spend some time asking the Lord to help you live authentically and fruitfully. He is the One that makes it happen.