Today’s Bible Reading
What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.—James 2:16-17
More thoughts for meditation
In Romans 6, Paul tells us that our free gift of eternal life is not a license to sin. James in the above passage makes the point even stronger, suggesting that if we have faith, but it doesn’t bear faithful fruit and outcomes, our faith is dead. That is to say, if we continue to labor for deadly wages, instead of for faithful activity, we really are not expressing the transformation that occurs because of allegiance to Christ.
James argues that true faith is full of faithful actions. And we are truly servants of righteousness, also translated as justice, then we will indeed fulfill that righteousness through faithful action and work. As we enjoy the bounty of God’s grace, we must remember that even though our work didn’t not earn us the favor, the results of our transformation is faithful action and activity. Our action occurs as a result of an overflowing of God’s love.
Ultimately, James is arguing that our faith needs to have material outcomes and consequences. It has to really matter. He is saying it’s not enough or us to “believe,” the gift we receive does far more than simply change our minds or our beliefs , it changes are behavior and our action, too.
Suggestions for action
It can be easy to revert to the ways of sin and death because of how we have been conditioned by the world even after we receive the free gift of Christ. It’s true that we are fully assured of our salvation because it is not a matter of our own labor, but that doesn’t excuse us from disciplining ourselves in the Way of Jesus. James is saying it’s not good enough to say we have faith, we need to demonstrate it. And we need to demonstrate it in a material and knowable way. The work of our Compassion Teams is an example of faithful activity, they lead us to overflow God’s love and help to make our faith really real. Today, pray for them one-by-one.