Today’s Bible Journaling verse brings a lot of discussion among Christian circles. James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (KJV) Some circles think that our salvation (our faith) comes because of the works we have done. Then some think that they can have faith without works, no evidence of the faith they hold.
The Apostle Paul tells us that our salvation comes because of faith in Jesus Christ, not because of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Why? So that we can’t boast of all the good things we have done to earn our salvation. Paul also says that our salvation is a gift from God, a free gift! We can’t do anything to earn it. This is true but there is another side to that coin.
James talks about showing our faith by our works. Our good works are evidence of the faith we have in our hearts. James 2:18 says, “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.” (KJV) Notice he says he will show his faith BY his works. His works are evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit he is cultivating in his life. So, Spiritual Fruit equals works exhibited because of faith in Jesus.
It is a good thing to do good works, feeding the poor, helping the elderly, etc. However, even those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior do these things, thinking that they can chalk up a lot of good things they’ve done to outweigh the bad, and that will gain them entrance into Heaven. The Bible tells us on Judgement Day when they stand before the Lord, “and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’’ (Luke 13:27 NASB) Their good works will do them no good because they haven’t accepted and believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. I knew someone, who has since passed away, who thought he could buy his way into Heaven. He gave money to the church in hopes that it would help him get into Heaven. My heart is heavy because as far as I know, he never asked Jesus to be his Savior.
James talks to us about showing our works as the evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ. He tells us that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) Evidence of the faith we have in Jesus must show forth in the way we live. Do we have compassion for those who are in poverty, on those in prison, on those who are sick, etc.? How we respond to those in dire straits shows the Spiritual Fruit of love as we reach out to them and try to help them. Love for others is part of our faith. We love others because Jesus loved us first.
We need to show forth our faith in Christ by exhibiting good works to those around us. When they see a life that shows faith in Jesus by the works they do, the light of Jesus shines through that life. That shining light is a beacon to them, a welcoming beacon of love from God desiring a relationship with them.
We can talk about how much we love Jesus and our faith in Him all day long, but if we don’t exhibit that faith by reaching out to others, then as James says, “faith without works is dead.” Those listening and watching see no evidence of the faith we SAY we have, it’s just talk…no action.
Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? (Luke 10:30-37) A chief priest and a Levite, (religious leaders) ignored the injured man on the side of the road. They talked a good talk as religious leaders I’m sure, but their actions didn’t match up with their talk. However, a Samaritan took the man to an inn, told the innkeeper to nurse him back to health, and paid for the man’s care. Now, that is showing your faith by your works.
So, as we examine our lives, are we showing our faith by the works we do or are we just talking the talk without walking the walk? Maybe it’s time to do an assessment. If we find that our life doesn’t match what we say, we must ask forgiveness from the Lord, step out, and exhibit our works to show our faith.