19 Aug 1999

James 2: Verbal Faith

Submitted by theshovel
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Friends, where do you get the idea that this miraculous faith we have in Jesus Christ coincides with your personal biases? I find it amazing how quickly a person's worth is evaluated among you by the car they drive or that little label on their clothes. This is the attitude of a corrupt judge who is bought by those whose payoff is the highest. My fellow heirs, is it, or is it not true, more times than not, that God has chosen those who are at the lower end of the financial scale to bestow this rich faith upon? After all, this is what He had promised to the people who loved Him. So, why is it that under all the pretenses, those who don't seem to measure up are often considered losers? Isn't it usually the upper class or the yuppies who give you the most grief, and who have the means to hire “shark” lawyers to steal from you? And don't they also make sure to insult you by calling Him into question (which is the real evil they speak of the name by which you are called)?

Now, if you are loving your neighbor as yourself, which is the fulfillment of our king's rule, then you are doing well. BUT if you are playing the game of picking and choosing those who can benefit you, you are sinning. And the law will do what the law does: it pronounces you to be a law-breaker. You could keep the whole law and yet mess up in JUST ONE THING and you would still be guilty of all of it. Do you think you can get around the law's judgment by pointing out those whose sins are “worse” than yours, as if that makes you look any better? A law-breaker is a law-breaker, and it condemns you no matter how well you think you are doing by it. So, why do you evaluate yourself and those around you by its fixed reality? Instead, speak and act as those who are to be judged by the fixed reality that has freed you from condemnation. The judgment of the law shows no mercy on those who don't show mercy, which comes from partiality. But mercy prevails over damnation.

So, my friends, are you so easily fooled by the wagging of the tongue? Do you think a man's CLAIM to believe will override the reality that he has no life working within him? Do you think a faith that consists of words will deliver him from the judgment of the law? What kind of miraculous power do you suppose is contained in mere verbiage? If you were tell a cold, hungry man, “Jesus loves you, be warmed and filled”, and yet you don't give him any clothes and food, what has been produced by your pronouncement? The same holds true for this professed faith. If the claim is there, but the substance of it that works from within is not there, then it is a lifeless thing.

Do you find yourself often in the position where you have to tell people that you have “faith”? Well, don't be surprised if someone challenges your words by saying, You have 'faith' and I have the doing of it; show me this faith you speak of that has no substance, and I will show you my faith by the stuff that is produced by it. What are you going to produce – more words? So what if you believe that God is one? The demons have no doubts about that, either, and it scares them silly. Your rationale borders on insanity if you don't realize that this faith is worthless without the functioning of it.

After all, wasn't Abraham, the father of faith, shown to be righteous by what he did when he set out to kill his son for God? Considering the fact that the only eye-witness to the deed was about to be offered as a sacrifice, Abraham was obviously not trying to please men (but I doubt anybody would have thought it was from God). Don't you see how faith was the invisible substance behind his actions; and in turn, the actions were the visible instrument by which that faith was carried to completion? And so, that which had been declared about him – Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness – was shown to be true . By the way, who do you suppose circulated the story of Abraham's faith so that he came to be known as the friend of God? Abraham … or Isaac? Don't miss the fact that this story shows a man motivated by faith, doing something that didn't appear right, but being shown as righteous by the thing he did to the one who had the greatest reason to doubt it. It wasn't only his claim to believe God.

And there's another unlikely example from the Bible that shows how a person is justified by what they did. Her name was Rahab, and she was a PROSTITUTE and also a foreign enemy. She turned against her people and hid the spies who were sent to survey her city before destroying it. And then she lied to the guards as to the whereabouts of the intruders; and then sent them safely back with a promise from them for protection. For she, also, had been motivated by the miraculous working of God to do this thing. Once again, in the life of this woman, the outworking of faith was not something that would have appeared to be right in the eyes of her own people, nor would her emotions have convinced her that it was of God, but it was. For as the body without the life of it is dead, so also faith without that which carries it is dead.

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