James- Day 25

Friday, September 30, 2011

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:25-26

Today, we’ll look at our second “case study” that James provides for us.  To find out the history about Rahab go read Joshua 2:1-22.  Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho who heard of the reputation of the nation of Israel, and more specifically of the God of this nation.  Joshua, the leader of the nation of Israel at that time, sent spies into the city to gather relevant information before they conquered the city.  When the spies encountered Rahab, she told them of her faith in their God. Specifically in Joshua 2:11, she says “And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”  She then goes on to help the spies escape, and keep their plans a secret.  Her faith (that Jehovah God is the One, True God) lead her to action (protecting the spies).James then goes on to describe this faith without works as a corpse without a spirit. It’s just not a living, effective faith.


This week we have read an incredible group of verses that describes what living, genuine, authentic faith looks like.  Today, if you know that you’re a child of God, take a few minutes to thank Him for saving you, and for helping you to live out your faith.

James- Day 24

Thursday, September 29, 2011

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:21-14

In the next 2 days James uses some “case studies” to help us understand his point.  To understand today’s passage, go back and read Genesis 15:1-6.  Verse 6 is quoted in today’s text.

Go ahead and read it now.

Did you read it?  Good!  Next go read the incredible story James referenced in verse 21 about Abraham and Isaac.  You can find it in Genesis 22:1-18.

Isn’t that an incredible story?  Now, notice that in chronological order, Abraham had already been “counted as righteous” in Genesis 15:6 by God before Abraham displayed that faith in Genesis 22.  Why?  Because God knew Abraham’s heart.  He knew the kind of faith that Abraham had.  He then asked Abraham to display that faith by the circumstances of Genesis 22.  So, when James says in verse 24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”, he is speaking of justification as a display to mankind of the kind of faith that is authentic enough to show up in the things that Abraham did- namely his willingness to obey God to the point of sacrificing Isaac.  Authentic faith shows up in works.  Dead faith has no works.

Also, read Hebrews 11:17-19 for further reading about Abraham.

I also think that is important here to point out something important.  The works that are being taught here aren’t just any works.  They are the kind of works that God desires, rather than random works that we do out of our flesh.  Works that are being done to try to gain favor with God are dead religion, and can’t save us.

Here is an important question:  Why do you do what you do?  What is your motivation for coming to church, doing your devotions, serving etc.?  Are you trying to earn favor with God?

James- Day 22

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
James 2:18

Today, notice again that James uses the same terminology.  He says, “a man may say” speaking of the person who claims to have faith and displays it with works.  Here, James is saying that this man’s claim to faith is legitimate.  It’s actual faith because it shows up visibly in his life.  The works don’t create the faith; rather the works help to show the authenticity of the faith that is claimed.
I played basketball throughout my high school years.  I lived for it.  One of the things I used to do a lot is go to the park to play with whoever showed up.  Many times there would be guys who off the court would talk a big game.  They would talk about how much they loved basketball and how good they were at it.  The truth in those claims showed up once we started playing the game.  If they were true, it showed up in the way they played.  My dad and coaches used to tell me “Let your game do the talking.”  Sometimes in the middle of games the other team would “talk trash.”  If we were winning the only response that was needed was one word–“scoreboard”!
It’s the same with our faith.  If it’s real faith, you won’t have to say it for it to show up.  We should talk about our faith, but that shouldn’t be the only evidence that it exists.

Is your faith authentic?  Do you just talk a good game, or does your faith show up in your daily life?  Does your faith show up in your schedule?  In your bank statement?  In your conversations and testimony?

James- Day 21

Devotions for Monday, September 26, 2011

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

This week’s verses are some of the most disputed verses in the Bible.  We have to look at them carefully, and in context so that we don’t read some things into these verses that aren’t there.  Think about the following:
1. James has already said that salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned.  (Check out James 1:17-18).
2. James says in verse 14 “though a man say he hath faith”- so the faith that is being discussed is not faith that is authentic.
James is contrasting authentic faith verses a claim to faith that is dead.
In today’s reading, James is saying that if the faith that we claim is not leading us to do something then the faith that we claim is not authentic God honoring faith at all.  He uses the example of saying to someone, “Be warmed and filled” as a way to deal with their hunger and nakedness.  Is this profitable?  Does it help the problem?  Of course not!  In the same way, a faith that is just a claim, or a faith that is just words and not action is not faith at all.  That’s why James goes on to call this so-called faith, dead faith.  It isn’t faith at all.
Is your faith leading you to actions today?  What a great test of authenticity!  How can you express your faith with your hands and feet today?