Faith In/Is Action – 4

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Scripture Text – James 2:14-26

Faith is not just a key doctrine in the Christian life, but an important aspect of any true Christian lifestyle.

The following is part two of the third and final aspect of faith we will look into which is dynamic faith:

Dynamic Faith – Part Two

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. – James 2:20-26.

et faith - good worksD.L. Moody often said, “Every Bible should be bound in shoe leather.” He did not say that because he had been a successful shoe salesman; rather, he said it because he was a dedicated Christian. Dynamic faith obeys God and proves itself in daily life and works. Sadly, we still have church members today who fit the description given in Titus, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him.” – Titus 1:16. Paul also writes in the same letter, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” – Titus 3:8.

Now James’ second illustration is Rahab, and the background for her is found in Joshua 2 and 6. Israel was about to invade the land promised to them by God and take the city of Jericho. Joshua sent spies into the city to get the lay of the land. There they met Rahab, a harlot, who protected them and affirmed that she believed in what God had said and what God was going to do. When the men departed, they promised to save her and her family when the city was taken; and they fulfilled their promise.

It is an exciting story. But in it is one of the Bible’s great examples of saving faith (see Hebrews 11:31). Rahab heard the Word and knew that her city was condemned. This truth affected her and her fellow citizens so that their hearts melted within them (Joshua 2:11). Rahab did respond with her mind and her emotions; but she also responded with her will and that is what made the difference: she did something about it. She risked her own life to protect the Jewish spies, and she further risked her life by sharing the good news of deliverance with the members of her family. The Hebrew word translated “harlot” in Joshua 2 can also have the wider meaning of “an innkeeper.” Rahab ran a guest house, so it would appear normal for the spies to go there as travelers. The Greek word “harlot” used in James however, definitely means an immoral person. This is also the meaning found in Hebrews 11:31. Matthew 1:5 indicates she married into Israel and became an ancestress of our Lord. What grace! Rahab is one of the first soul winners in the Bible, and you cannot help but compare her with the “bad Samaritan” woman in John 4:7-26.

Rahab could have had dead faith, a mere intellectual experience. Or she could have had demonic faith, her mind enlightened and her emotions stirred. But she exercised dynamic faith: her mind knew the truth, her heart was stirred by the truth, and her will acted on the truth. She PROVED her faith by her works.

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When you realize the small amount of information Rahab had, you can see how truly marvelous her faith really was. Today we have the full revelation of God through His Word and His Son. We live on the other side of Calvary, and we have the Holy Spirit to convict (convince) and to teach us the Word. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.” – Luke 12:48. Her faith stands as an indictment against the unbelief of sinners today.

James 2 also emphasizes that the mature Christian practices the truth. He doesn’t just hold to ancient doctrines; he practices those doctrines in his everyday life. His faith is not the dead faith of the intellectuals, or the demonic faith of the fallen spirits. It is the dynamic faith of men like Abraham and women like Rahab, faith that becomes a lifestyle through change, and goes to work for God.

It is important that each professing Christian examine his own heart and life and make sure that he possesses true saving faith, dynamic faith. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5. Satan is the great deceiver; one of his devices is imitation. If he can convince a person that counterfeit faith is true faith, he has that person in his power.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves as we examine our hearts:

  1. Was there a time when I honestly realized I was a sinner and admitted this to myself and to God?
  2. Did I sincerely repent of my sins and turn from them or was it more of an obligation and lip service?
  3. Do I truly understand the Gospel, that Christ died for my sins and arose again? Do I understand and confess that I can’t save myself?
  4. Do I truly trust Christ and Him alone for my salvation? Do I enjoy a living relationship with Him through the Word and in the Spirit?
  5. Do I now live as if I truly want to please God and walk in a new relationship with Him?
  6. Has there been a change in my life? Do others notice it in me? Do I maintain good works with motives based on love for others? Do I seek to grow in the things of the Lord?
  7. Do I have a desire to share Christ with others? Or, am I afraid to speak of Him due to shame or ridicule?
  8. Do I enjoy the fellowship of God’s people? Is worship a delight to me?
  9. Am I ready for the Lord’s return? Do I look for His return or am I fearful?

Surely, not every Christian has the same personal experience; and there are degrees of sanctification. But for the most part, the preceding spiritual inventory can assist a person in determining their personal true standing before God.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24.

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Where noted, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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