James, the half-brother of Jesus speaks to his listeners in chapter 2 of James about practical Christian living with wisdom. James was a leader in the Jerusalem church and had several years invested into the 1st century Jewish Christians residing in Gentile communities. The key point of this letter is found in James 2:14-25 addressing faith combined with deeds.
- Faith – assurance of God (Hebrews 11:1)
- Action – what we do out of our faith in God
- Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan
- Samaritans we known as the mixed race of their time
- They were not respected in culture BUT they showed kindness
- Kindness- “unexpected kindness is a language a deaf ear can hear and a blind eye can see”
- We cannot earn our salvation by serving and obeying God. But such actions show that our commitment to God is real. Deeds of loving service are not a substitute for, but rather a verification of our faith in Christ.
- Example- we cannot see wind but we see the effects of the wind, so we know the wind exists (John 3:8)
- “you have faith”- true faith always results in a changed life and good deeds, true faith involves a full devotion of yourself to God
- “I have deeds”- our good deeds can never earn salvation, this teaching of James speaks against those trying to earn salvation by good deeds
Examples of faith combined with works:
- Example 1- Abraham, the father of faith (Heb. 11:8-12)
- Gen. 22- God tested Abraham
- Hebrews 11:17- by faith Abraham was tested
- Example 2- Rahab the prostitute
- Joshua 2- When Israel’s spies came to the city, she hid them and helped them escape. She demonstrated faith in God’s purpose for Israel. As a result, she and her family were saved when the city was destroyed and she is in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5)
- Hebrews 11:31- Rahab received the spies with peace
John 3:1-8 “New Birth”
- We as believers have two births:
- Our fleshly birth- the day you entered this world
- Our spiritual birth- the day you accepted Jesus as Savior, you have been “born again”
John 3:8- “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (NKJV)
We see that the Spirit of God works out of our control. He works in ways we cannot predict or understand, but He has moved in your life to bring about change which is seen through how you use your resources; time, money, possessions, etc… You live differently because you have been born again and desire to please God. There is evidence in your life of a new focus, a new purpose that will open the eyes and ears of others who do not know about this free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
- Have you been born again? Have you received the free gift of salvation?
- How do you spend your resources (time, money, energy, possessions, etc…) to bring an awareness to unbelievers about Jesus and His love for them?
- What life changes have you experienced since your new spiritual birth?
- What would you like to still change?
Lord, we thank you that you come to us and offer us the free gift of salvation. Thank you for making us new through new birth. Thank you that You desire to change our past to glorify your name in our future. Lord, may we be mindful of using our resources to worship and glorify your name. May we be a people that uses our blessings to bless another and build your kingdom. May we be a people who because of our faith, we desire to do great things for you. May we be a people who believe deeply and it is seen through our actions.
Thanks, Todd for sharing your wisdom and teaching with us! We are grateful for you and your whole family!