James 2:14-19 New International Version (NIV)
Faith and Deeds
14 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.
Fri. November 27
Many people misunderstand this passage. They think James is saying that we need to earn God’s love and salvation by what we do. Jesus saved us completely when He died on the cross! What James is saying is that if we are actually placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for our salvation and redemption then we are set free from our selfish selves to live for the sake of others. For example, if I hold a grudge against someone I am essentially saying that I am better than them and that I am judge over them. Simply put, I have put myself in the place of God! But when I focus on Jesus I come to see how desperate I am for forgiveness, just like the person I am holding the grudge against! By faith, Jesus rules in our hearts and leads us to use the “keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) to forgive as we have been forgiven (Matt. 18:21-35)! Faith in God’s forgiveness, grace and love transforms our hearts. We should daily ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit to live out our faith by acting more like Jesus, producing good fruit, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).