This piece of James is just convicting. Seriously - James uses plain language to get a very important point across. If you claim to have faith, but don't have any outward evidence (and he's not talking about showing up at church), you're only fooling yourself. Here it is again...just in case you skimmed over it in your reading:
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, "Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well"—but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." But I say, "How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds."
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

There is much debate over this passage of scripture. You have some who say: if you really believe this, you believe in salvation by works (or that you are made right with God because you do the right things). You have some who say: you have to do the right thing to be right with God. And then, there are those with a more balanced perspective: you are made right with God through Christ alone (faith)...but that faith makes itself known in how you live. If you don't live it out, I'm not sure how real it is.

So what do you think? Was this convicting to you?


  1. Love others with no strings attached.

    Is my love for others based on the likelihood for return of that love or some other expectation of return? The Book of James challenges us that we should not show favoritism based on worldly expectations. Do I show favoritism to someone based on social or financial status? Do I pick and choose where I spend my time and talents based on where it will get me next week, next year, next decade or do I spend my time and talents on building treasures in heaven?

    Does James 2 convict me? Absolutely!!!!

    I never want my friends or acquaintances to be surprised that I attend church on Sunday or attend a bible study during the week. I pray that not only my vocal praise of the Lord is evident but that my actions and aura are consistent with my love for the Lord. This does not only happen with significant actions performed in a structured ministry, but it happens most significantly in the way we interact with each other. When we are merciful to all around us without expectation of reciprocation, the love and grace of Jesus Christ shall permeate our being.

    Do others describe you as a good person, have a good heart or just simply enjoyable to be around? If so, great work and keep it up. If you are like me, I have a group of people that describe me like that, but I also have a group that describes me differently because of my arrogance, cockiness or contempt.
    The Word is living and LIVE the Word. James 2 reminds me that there is more than just calling yourself a Christian, but it is about living our lives as Christ walked this earth.

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  3. Matt, I don't understand v. 21. He references Abraham "declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar". Gen. 15:6 is where "the Lord declared him righteous". But, it's long before he had any children. For that matter I'm confused about Romans 4:1-5 again. It says the same thing only about when he was 100 years old.... That's not when it's brought up in Geneis.

  4. Great questions Pam - and I want to invite everyone in on the discussion. How do you all see these passages? Do they fit together?

    The Abraham story is an interesting one - a foundational one. I think James is saying that Abraham's faith in God is made known in his offering of Isaac. He was declared righteous back in Genesis 15 - because he believed God (and remember that he had also made his faith visible by leaving all he knew to follow God wherever God may lead.). Isaac came so many years later, but Abraham did not shy away from living out what God was leading him to do - even if it meant letting go of this promise (there is a lot about the Isaac story that is difficult for me to understand). James' point is that Abraham's faith was made known by these actions so many years after the promise.