Acting on Faith
Verse 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
Yesterday we saw that true faith magnifies God because it shows He is worthy to be trusted. But Abraham wasn’t the only one that lived out that kind of faith.
James shows us a totally different example of faith in his next history lesson. He goes from Abraham, friend of God, to Rahab, foreign prostitute. This contrast came from a man who was a descendant of both of these examples. He had grown up hearing the stories of both of these ancestors. Just imagine his mother, Mary, telling him this tale from history.
“After Moses died in the wilderness, our people were led by Joshua. Before they crossed the Jordan River to conquer the land the Lord had promised us, Joshua sent spies over to see what they were going to be up against when they got to Jericho.” Mary continued telling how the spies spent the night at a prostitute’s house. Not that they were using Rahab’s services but they needed a place to stay and her occupation would help hide their real reason for being there.
Then young James would feel his excitement building as Mary would get to the heart of the story. “While they were under the protection of her hospitality, Rahab confesses that she knows that their God is the one true God because she has grown up hearing the stories of God opening the Red Sea for His people to cross and then closing it again on the Egyptians. Because of the faith she showed and her following the instructions of the spies, Rahab was saved when the walls came down. And that is how she became part of the family.” This is the faith that James was talking about.
Rahab was declaring that she knew God to be THE God. A woman raised with idols was saying she knew they were powerless because she knew the One that held the power over all things, including the waters of the sea. But like with Abraham, her faith was only a portion of what was needed to be counted righteous. She needed to act upon that faith. If she hadn’t helped the men she knew to be God’s men and obeyed the requirement of putting the red cord in the window, she would not have been counted as righteous.
This is the crux of the matter with faith and deeds. James points out that it is by our actions that we are considered righteous. It isn’t that we are saved by our works, but we are seen as His by living out our faith through our deeds.
Making It Personal
When did you first declare God as the God of your life? Do your actions show that He is the God you believe in? What are some things that you need to do to be considered righteous in your actions?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to live out what you believe about Jesus? Does Jesus care how you act? How can you obey Him today by living out faith?
Father, thank You for these examples from history. Help us see the need to act out of our faith in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.