“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:14)
In James’s teaching from the book of James in the Bible, James emphasizes “action”. He teaches us that we, as believers in Glorious Jesus (God), must live up to the principles of our beliefs. Our lives and beliefs should be aligned and consistent; they must not be in conflict with each other.
Faith without action is emptiness. Action without faith is useless. We cannot just keep our beliefs inside of us, we must take action to demonstrate it. We cannot be “invisible” Christians, we must be “visible” Christians. We must love so that others know we are Christians. Love must be with action, otherwise, no one will know we love.
In James 1, James told us not just to listen to the word, but most importantly do what it says. He told us to put what we learn from the Word into practice in our daily living. Understanding the Bible should not just make us more knowledgeable; it should also make us more practical. We must be both knowledgeable and practical Christians!
In James 2:14 to the end, James clearly points out that faith without deeds is dead. What kind of faith do we have if we do not reveal it? James challenges those who say they have faith, but have limited actions. He says that faith without deeds is not true faith. This type of faith (without deeds; empty faith) cannot save us. I agree, we are saved not because of our deeds; it is purely because of our faith. Deeds cannot replace faith; but faith must be accompanied by action. In other words, it is the person who has actions that really has the faith. The other type of person doesn’t really have faith at all.
Deeds are better than words when people are in need of help. Our faith could be and must be revealed to people through what we are doing. We must understand the relationship between faith and action. Faith is the “inner part” (the motivator) and action is the “outer part”. When both are together, the faith is a complete faith.
It is just likes a coin with two sides (heads and tails). A coin must have both sides. When we go shopping, we cannot just pay the bill by giving coins with one side only, can we? No, we cannot!! If you can, please let me know which shops will accept that.
The story of Rahab was recorded in Joshua 2. I like the interpretation by some that she was an innkeeper, not a prostitute. (Anyway, it is not the point of our study.) She was the great grandmother of King David.
At that time, when the king of Jericho asked her to bring the Israeli spies to him, she was not thinking of lying or not lying to the king, she was thinking of protecting or not protecting the spies. Her decision was a life and death decision. If she decided to the tell the truth to her king, she knew she was against the God who was going to hand over the city to Israel — she and her family would be destroyed as well. She heard what God did for Israelites and what God did to those people who were not on God’s side. If she decided to protect the spies and unfortunately be discovered by the king, she and her family would be killed.
At last, her fear and faith in God led her to make a decision to protect the spies. At a later time, we can see that she and her family was saved. Was she saved by her action of protecting the spies? Yes. Was she also saved by her faith in God? Yes. Her actions made her to be considered righteous. Actually, her action was motivated by her faith in God. (And that is the real point.) In summing it up, faith and actions are one, and cannot — and must not — be separated!