Intro: There are many changes going on in our world, today; however, some things in life never change. Some things remain constant like the saving love of God. Another constant is the reality that someone around us every day needs a form of help. This is why we are called to love our neighbors in spiritual, emotional, and tangible ways. We are to care deeply about the well-being of the people in our sphere of influence—in other words, our neighbors. We are to pray for wisdom on how to love them. Do we have a righteous level of concern and mercy for others? Or, in life, do we only position ourselves or a certain group of people as the center of importance?
The Christian faith is identified by what we produce; we are to look like Jesus. If we do not extend care and mercy to our neighbors, we have not genuinely met the God of all mercy (2 Cor 1:3). When we extend mercy to others, we demonstrate we have receive God’s mercy—we reveal a living faith! Otherwise, we are simply making a mental assent to the words of Christ while never attaching faith through acts of obedience. The Word of God is alive and active (Heb 4:12). God sends His children to operate in Christ’s saving faith; when our words and actions are in harmony with the character of Christ. Obedience to God’s Word is the call to every sinner—all of humanity. Who governs our lives spiritually, how we deal with life and people emotionally, and how we choose to live morally are all involved in saving or living faith.
Christ never showed partiality to his “neighbors.” He used his faith to help those whom he knew would welcome him, as well as strangers whom he simply encountered each day. James is not teaching about two methods for salvation. There is only One way to our Holy God and that is through Jesus the Son who offers to forgive our sin and impart to us his righteousness, so we can have personal fellowship with God. Instead, James is teaching us about two kinds of faith: 1) a living faith that saves, and 2) a dead faith that does not. Be a part of what is constant: the saving love of Jesus Christ shared in the midst of a fallen world of sinful and broken people wrestling with the question, “Who do I trust?”
James 2: 14-20 Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Prayer: Father, may the love and mercy you have poured into me, be released to others, today. May I place you in the center of all that I can be as I love those around me. And, may I be a positive influence for salvation to others through active and living faith. Should you bless me to be that vessel, today, may I tell them about you as my Source. In Jesus’ name. Amen.