Fruit-Full Faith

As we draw our study of James 2 to a close this week, I want to draw some attention to any seeming contradiction there may be between Paul’s words that tell us we are justified by faith alone and James’ words that tell us that faith without works is dead.

The Bible does not contradict itself, and I urge you to spend some time reading about the different ways Paul and James approach this. There are far greater commentators than I who can give you a rounded and intelligent explanation of how these ideas are not contradictory at all. So, I shall leave such explorations to you (Matthew Henry and John Piper give good and helpful accounts of the differences in what the men are actually saying.

Instead, I want to look at this passage from the perspective of having a faith that is full of fruit.

We are well-versed with the Galatians passages in Chapter 5 that explore fruit.  We have a comprehensive list of characteristics we should we be displaying as Christians.

But James is another step along here. He instead looks at the practical outworking of our faith; how do we act as a result of who we say we are?

I can be kind. I can be full of joy and peace. I can be patient. All of these and good and noble characteristics and it is right that we should display them.

But James has already warned us of the dangers of expressing love or kindness without acting on it as well. Love and deeds are inextricably linked. James says “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds” (vs 18).  Our faith is expressed through the things we do when we have the opportunity. We cannot merely say we are Christians and have our actions and habits point otherwise. We cannot claim to have faith if the choices we make practically are not fruitful.

 

Faith is the root

 

Likewise, we cannot earn our salvation. Works alone will not save us. Our salvation is a result of grace and mercy, not anything we have achieved by ourselves.

But James impresses upon us that our faith and deeds must work together.

 

Thoughts for Today

 

  1. How can we make sure that we do not miss opportunities to make our faith take action?
  2. How can we be more practical in our faith? What help do we need from God?
  3. Spend some time reading about Abraham and Rahab; why does James mention them here? What illustration do they provide us with?

Prayers for Today

 

  • Let’s pray we don’t become complacent. Let us ask God today for wisdom and guidance when it comes to putting our faith in Him into action. Let’s pray we don’t miss opportunities.
Grace and Love
Helen x

 

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