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Faith Without Actions

John Collins03/06/2012James 2 tells us that our faith should have no respect of persons, and that if we do not put our actions behind our faith, then our faith is dead.

If a man comes to you richly dressed, while another man comes to you in poor and nasty clothing, you should not favor the rich man by giving him the good seat.  If you do so, you are showing favor and are thinking evil thoughts.  God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.  He promised His kingdom to them that love Him.

James challenged them; "You have despised the poor!"  He said that the rich men are the ones that oppress you and take you to the courts.  They are the ones that blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ.

James said that they should uphold the law according to the scripture; "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself and you will do well.  If you have respect of persons, you are committing sin and have broken the law."

Those that keep the entire law, yet break one little part of the law, is guilty of all of the law.  James gave the example of adultery and murder.  God said not to commit adultery and not to kill.  If you never commit adultery and yet kill, you have broken the law. 

Therefore, you should "practice what you preach."  Those that do will be judged by the law of freedom instead.  If you judge others with no mercy, then you change from mercy to judgement in the law.

What does it gain a person if he says that he has faith, and does not show the good deeds to others?  Can faith alone save him?  

If a brother or sister is naked with very little food, and one of you says goodbye with peace, and pray that they be warmed and filled, yet does not give them the things they are in need of, what good does it do?  If you do not put actions behind your faith, your faith is dead.

If a man says that you have faith and they have good deeds, and asks you to show your faith without your works while he shows his faith through his deeds, who has done better?

James said, "You may believe in God, and you do well -- but the devils also believe and tremble."  He tried to make the vain men understand that faith without works is dead.  He asked them, "Was not Abraham justified by his actions when he offered Isaac his son upon the alter?" Faith was made by his actions, and the by his actions the faith was made perfect.  The scriptures were fulfilled, which said that "Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called the Friend of God."  Through their actions, men are justified, and not only by faith.

James gave another example of Rahab the harlot.  She was justified by her actions when she received the messengers, and helped them by sending them out another way.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so is faith dead without actions.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we respect certain Christians above others?  Do we love and help the poor and needy?  Do we accuse others of breaking parts of the old laws while we break other parts of the old laws ourselves?  If a natural disaster took the homes of several Christians, would we help only those who kept the parts of the law we choose to honor, or would we help everyone in the community?  Are we judged by the law, or by grace?  Have our churches grown into blessings of God's grace, or has it grown into a place of bitterness between the brothers and sisters?  Do our actions show our faith and grace in Jesus Christ, or is our faith dead?