Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Scattered thoughts on James 2:24

James drives home the point of his first illustration of living faith by explaining God’s terms for salvation. Individuals are not justified by dead faith (faith alone that is without works). Here in this verse James answers the question raised in vs. 14, “can faith without works save?” The answer is no. Faith must be accompanied by works because of the very nature of faith. Abraham believed God’s promise of many descendants, and because of that belief he trusted God even when God asked him to sacrifice his only son. True faith will always make a difference in your life because of the nature of faith, and because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to be saved besides uniting yourself with Christ through faith. And when you unite yourself with the body of Christ you will receive his Spirit which will change the way you live. No one can be saved without becoming a new creature, and by the power of the Holy Spirit the new creation will produce such righteous works as repentance, submission, obedience, and love for God and fellow believers. The faith of the individual in vs. 14 is not real because it has not united him with Christ, and brought about a change in his life through the work of the Spirit. Acts 8:18-22 is the perfect example of someone who only had a shallow conviction of the truth with no true faith. This man saw the obvious truth that there was power in the Gospel, but he did not understand that power or how it worked. He tried to receive the power of the Gospel on his own terms instead of on God’s terms. Isn’t it ironic that he tried to pay money for something that God offers for free.

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