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Daily Devotions – Justified by Our Deeds? Huh?

 

Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/

 

James 2:18-26 (NIV)

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.

In this letter James, the biological brother of Jesus, highlights a problem that we often run into when trying to understand justification and faith. Is it true that only Jesus justifies us? Yes, it is true. But can you claim to be justified by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus if you act like Jesus didn’t save you. For example, if you go to church on Sunday morning and then walk out the door, yell obscenities at your spouse because he or she did not do the dishes last night, is your faith “living”? The examples James uses of Abraham and Rahab show that a “living” faith is filled with hope that God is merciful and His promises are true and trustworthy, so we can live in freedom and love. What causes you to be afraid or angry? Is it killing your faith? Pray that Jesus would give new life!