November 25, Sunday

Devotional Thought for Today

“It Must Be Faith with Deeds”

James 2:14-26

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

When I decided to go on one-year missions to Shanghai in 2013, I shared the news with faith workmy non-Christian brother. His immediate response to what was supposed to be an exciting news was, “Don’t you think it’s better to provide education and service to people in need than organized religion?” Although his response hurt and frustrated me, I realize now that his question has some merit. What can religion do for the one who is sick, starving or without any basic needs met? Of course, they may be able to have a relationship with God and go to heaven, but is that what Christianity is all about? Does the God of love only care about salvation and not the earthly needs of His children?

When we look at the Bible, we can see that God is not reticent of people’s needs. Instead, we see God’s providential hand all throughout Israel’s journey from slavery into the promised land; we see Jesus’ heart to heal the brokenhearted in the story of Samaritan women; and we see Jesus feeding people rather than sending them away. Luke 4:18 sums up Jesus’ ministry as more than a proclamation of spiritual salvation, but a holistic ministry that brings deliverance to the captives, healing to the sick, and release for the oppressed.

The Christian faith is one that goes beyond a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is a faith that is put to the test by our actions where faith and deeds meet to reflect the life of Christ. James calls it foolish to believe that you can have one without the other; in fact, Satan even believes in God, yet his faith is not credited to him as righteousness because his actions (or lack thereof) do not reflect a true salvific faith.

It is no different with us. To live an active life of faith we are called to respond with our deeds. While the greatest moment in our relationship with God is when we come to faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who saves a sinner like us, James shows us that our faith is made complete by our actions. That is, we are called to more than a life of belief, but a life where all that we do reflects the hope and faith that we have in a God who cares about all the needs of a person – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Therefore, let us be people whose faith is made complete by our faith and actions today!

Prayer: God I thank You that your work on the cross has sanctified me once and for all. Help me to live a life of not just faith, but a life with faith and deeds. And help me to be a beacon of light to others in all of their needs. In Jesus name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 6

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