“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believe that there is one God; thou doest well; the devil also believes, and tremble. But will thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:18-20
There seems to be a serious discussion among Christians about the concept of faith vs. works. To be honest, I just don’t understand the debate. How can we believe in Jesus Christ and not work in fulfillment of what we believe?
--Are not our actions a manifestation of what we believe?
There are those who faithfully attend religious services every week. They drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and partake in illegal drugs on those days when they do not attend church services. Does the scripture indicating the sanctity of the body temple mean anything to them? (1 Corinthians 6:19) And, there are those of us, who go through the Ten Commandments on a regular basis, simply to confirm which ones we didn't break. Do these actions speak to our faith? Maybe, we are on the fence when it comes to having a complete relationship with God, teeter-toddling between what we know and what we do. Or, it could be that we believe, one thing does not have anything to do with the other.
It is interesting to note that the Bible says, “…But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…” James 1:22. We are deceiving ourselves if we believe that we can separate our faith from our actions. Our actions are indicative of our faith. This is the reason we ask for forgiveness for those things we have done that we know are insulting to God. It is the reason we repent of those things which conflict with our faith. We are not perfect; as humans we struggle with all sorts of feelings, urges, and habits that can appear difficult for us to resist. However, as Christians, we have faith. We build our faith on God’s strength, not our own. We function daily in God’s Divine Grace, and yet still, our works and our actions become the manifestation of our faith.
In today’s text, the reference to the devil believing in God, reminds those of us who profess our belief in God, yet, continue to do those things which insult God, that the devil has a full understanding of God also. He professes God as Creator; yet, he is still His enemy. His actions support his faith. Don’t be confused. It is not enough to believe in God, your actions must support your faith in God.
Our example is Jesus Christ; His works were the manifestation of His complete connection to God. They were the manifestations of His Faith. Remember, it was Jesus who said, “…Greater works than these shall you do because I go to my Father.” John 14:12
When He said this, He was referring to the dimension of faith we have in Him and its connection to our actions manifesting in our works. Our works are manifestations of our belief. And, just in case this concept is still difficult to understand, try not doing the work you were hired to do at your current workplace, and see how long you last.
—Chances are, your work, or lack thereof, will manifest as a lack of faith in job security. L.
Study Reference: James 1:22-25, 2:18-20, Revelation 22:11-12
From: "Faith vs. Works." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
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