“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” – James 2:15-17 (NASB)
It was an impromptu sit down on a Thursday night that consisted of cheese fries, coffee, and a simple glass of cold water. I was meeting with one of the Elders in our church just to talk, but it did lead into some issues that had taken its toll on our walk. Eric is a few years younger than myself, but he has an insight that is on the same level as my own and it makes him easy to talk to. As we were talking about how others around us react to certain things, I told him the thing I noticed was how people will say things out of reflex.
One of those things being, “Well okay. Hope God works that out for you. Sorry you have to go through that, I’ll be praying for you” and as fast as they get those words out is as fast as they disappear into the sunset, never to ask you if God really did work things out. Eric and I got a bit of laugh out of that, but we did agree that it is a sad state of affairs to see that in our churches today. I compare this to what we read about in the Book of James. Take a look at the verse I begin with today and let’s get into it, shall we?
The first thing to note is folks who do the ‘lip service’ routine. “Go in peace, be warmed, and be filled” or “Hope God works that out for you. Sorry you have to go through that, I’ll be praying for you” can be examples that pretty much reflect that we know the correct vocabulary for prayer and doctrine, our walk may not measure up to our talk. You could say that when we exhibit this, we show we only have an intellectual faith. We know the doctrine of salvation and showing compassion for one another, but we haven’t really submitted to God or trusted the words of Jesus Christ. We only know the “words” but we don’t back them up with “works.”
The second thing to take away is that there is no salvation with an intellectual faith. None, zilch, zero. Three times in James 2:17-26 we’ll see that James will emphasize that “faith without works is dead.” Now one could go up on a mountain and yell out to the world “I BELIEVE IN GOD!!” but if there is no change in the life of that person all that yelling did nothing and all that academia is good for is an episode of “Jeopardy” Without any change in a person life, even if they say they believe in God, results in what I dare call a dead faith or a counterfeit faith. This kinda faith lulls us into a sleep that only the devil would appreciate and gives us a false confidence that we are partaking in the eternal life that only Jesus Christ freely gives.
I know the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, had some issue with “faith without works is dead.” His initial thought was that to simply trust in God’s perfect love would be the only correct way of responding to God’s plan of salvation and that had lead into by faith alone would be the way one would be saved. But if you look through the Bible, especially at some guy I’ll call Abraham, you’ll see that it took some act to reflect the faith that one had in their heart to God that they are willing to OBEY Him and walk in His ways. Keep in mind that Faith and Good Works go hand in hand in the life of a child of The Most High God.
Sometimes we see folks that are having a bad day and we think that they need to be shown a bit of compassion, so we walk up to them and say something encouraging… and that’s fine, BUT if it isn’t done in the compassion of Jesus Christ it’s just you…and you can fail people every once in a while. So, if you’re gonna say you’ll pray for someone, then pray and if you have prayed, go back and see if God answered… and if He did, then praise Him as The Most High God. It is in Him that we have the words of life simply because, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (1 John 5:12). In the meantime, if you find yourself at a diner, Brother Eric and I recommend the cheese fries and coffee, for from that will spring up a cool glass of water. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote:“No man can come to Christ by faith and remain the same, anymore than he came into contact with a 220-volt wire and remain the same.” — Warren Wiersbe
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. 1 Peter 1:6