James – Monday, March 23
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Apart from what we do, it’s impossible to prove that a person has true faith. Our actions prove that we really trust God.
Abraham was justified by faith before God in Genesis 15:1-6. But when he obeyed and trusted God in the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22, his faith was proved. We watch Abraham up on the mount with his only son and we marvel. “What faith this man had!” we say to ourselves.
Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us of the intensity of Abraham’s faith—that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if he had to carry out that unthinkable deed.
Rahab also had faith, but when she hid the two spies so they could scout out the city of Jericho, she was putting her own life in danger. She believed God thoroughly, and her deeds proved it (Joshua 2:1-24).
James does not contradict the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith before God (Genesis 15:6; Romans 3:21-4:25). He’s simply showing that real faith becomes visible before men by what we do. He’s talking about faith that works.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. Read Romans 4:1-8, then re-read this morning’s passage. Do you see how Paul’s emphasis differs from that of James, but that they are complimentary to each other and not contradictory?
2. Sometimes we hear people say something like this: “What I believe is a very private thing, very personal. It’s just between me and God.” Do you agree with that statement? Disagree? What does today’s passage have to say about it?
3. How/when have you proved your faith so that others could see that you truly trust God? Cite examples from your own life.