Daily Devotional: Day 38
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 1:26, KJV).
Today’s Bible verse is well known for the controversy it has generated among Christians, especially since the Protestant Reformation. This is a devotional, so we won’t go into the complexities of the controversy. But, let me say that God’s Word isn’t complicated at all. The problem is that people won’t let the Bible speak for itself. We tend to read too much of our own opinions into God’s Word. What we believe is powerful – powerful enough to influence the direction of our lives. Nearly everything we do in life is a product of what we believe. In today’s passage, James – speaking about faith in God – says that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. He’s right, and God wants us to understand this. Some have tried to get around James’ statement to make it mean something different, but James means exactly what he said: faith without works is dead, and a dead faith doesn’t save anyone. James’ teaching agrees with everything else the Bible says about faith. (At another time, I shall write about how this fits into the doctrine of being saved by grace through faith, apart from works). True faith produces corresponding works. This means, contrary to what some suppose, faith is not action-less.
If our faith in God doesn’t lead to corresponding action, something’s wrong. Be sure to read Hebrews 11:1-40 for further insights on how faith produces works. Whenever there’s a separation between what we claim to believe and what we do, there’s a problem: Perhaps we don’t truly believe or we’re being hypocritical. This is the fundamental principle that is behind the biblical teaching that faith without works is dead. At no point does the Bible propose a faith devoid of works. For example, if you truly believe that God has made you righteous through the atonement of Christ, that same faith will produce works of righteousness in your life. If, however, the said faith doesn’t produce fruit of righteousness, something’s wrong somewhere. Faith that’s alive always produces fruit. Ask God to ignite faith in your heart, so that your faith can bear fruit for his glory.
Daddy, thank you for the gift of faith. Stir within me your gift of faith, and let it come alive in my actions, speech and thoughts. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For further study: Hebrews 11:1-40