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.

Application:
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?