18/7/11 Isaiah 32-35; James 2
S: James 2:21-24 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
O: James was contending with people who said that faith alone was sufficient for salvation. However, believing in God is not enough -- after all, even the demons believe in God!
If we truly have faith in God, it will make an impact on our actions. Faith without works is dead.
I find it very interesting that Paul used the exact same passage (Genesis 15:6) to prove that we're saved by faith! (Romans 4:1-3, Galatians 3:1-9)
This is why Martin Luther wanted to throw James out of the Bible. He thought it contradicted Paul's Sola Fide theology.
However, Paul's epistles show that Paul himself also believed that good works must be evidenced in a Christian's life, or it is not true faith, e.g. Ephesians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Romans 2:6-7, Galatians 6:8-9. So, Paul would not have any dispute with James' assertion that faith is proven by works. (James 2:17-18)
A: I must both have faith in Christ's atonement for my sins by His death on the cross, and follow Christ in my actions. Both faith and works are essential parts of the Christian life.
P: Our Father in heaven,
holy is Your name.
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours.
Now and for ever. Amen