Wednesday, February 5, 2014

40 Day Retreat with Jesus: Day 5

Today we are still in the book of James. Today's verse is James 2:14-20 in the Compass Bible, using The Voice translation. 

Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t make any sense to say you have faith and act in a way that denies that faith. Mere talk never gets you very far, and a commitment to Jesus only in words will not save you.  It would be like seeing a brother or sister without any clothes out in the cold and begging for food, and saying, “Shalom, friend, you should get inside where it’s warm and eat something,” but doing nothing about his needs—leaving him cold and alone on the street. What good would your words alone do? The same is true with faith. Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it’s as good as dead.  I know what you’re thinking: “OK, you have faith. And I have actions. Now let’s see your faith without works, and I’ll show you a faith that works.” Do you think that just believing there’s one God is going to get you anywhere? The demons believe that, too, and it terrifies them! The fact is, faith has to show itself through works performed in faith. If you don’t recognize that, then you’re an empty soul.
James here is saying that faith without works is an empty faith, and some believe that it contradicts messages in earlier books that you cannot achieve salvation through works. That's not what this passage is about...the message here is that faith without works is an empty faith-we are called by Jesus to care for others, to love our neighbors, and to bring Glory to Him. One of the ways we can do that is by doing works driven by our faith and love for one another. Faith is how we get saved, but I believe that works is how we show our faith.