We continue with our discussion of our foundation of faith. Faith does not bring into existence that what is real, but reveals that which already exists.
Today, just as James saw in his day, we have groups of people who will declare their “faith”. But Satan is very clever. He knows that if he can get people to focus on some sort of unanchored faith and away from a solid foundation in Jesus, people will be deceived in their beliefs. So James brings our obedience or deeds as a sign of what faith we hold.
If you come to a hungry person on the street, if all you do is state the obvious and move on, what good are you? Are you truly faithful to the truth in Lord Jesus? Reflecting his love to others? But you should not only recognize them but want to buy them a sandwich!
But now we see another dimension to this wisdom. In the same way that there will be those with faith but not deeds, we will also see those who will focus only on their deeds. Even more they will say they believe in God. But James says that even believe in God with deeds is not enough. Even demons believe in God.
We must realize and accept that we are not worthy in ourselves to be righteous to God. All of us deserve punishment of our sin. But through grace and mercy though his son Jesus, we are counted righteous. And our faith is our statement that we accept that truth. He doesn’t ask us to fix anything.
Faith means that we take God at his word. And the outward appears of my faith is the work I do in his name in this world.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (ESV)
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (ESV)
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (ESV)