But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (James 2:18-26)
Pastor John’s Notes:
It is one thing to believe in God; it is better to obey Him and do what He asks us to do. James here makes the stunning observation that the demons believe in God; that is, they know that God exists and even tremble in fear with that knowledge. When James talks about having faith in God, he means something more than mere intellectual belief. To have faith means to trust God in the manner of our living. Faith is not merely a ticket to a future heaven, it is the ability to begin living for God in the present. God gives the gift of faith so that we can begin living in new ways. Faith requires action. In the example of Abraham, who is our father in the faith, his belief in God enabled him to trust that if he sacrificed his beloved son Isaac, God would raise him from the dead in fulfillment of God’s promise to continue Abraham’s lineage through him. Faith is therefore more than a decision to believe; it is a willingness to act.
Lord, grant to me a faith that is more than mere belief. Grant me a faith that acts. Help me to trust you even in the moments where your calling does not seem to make sense. Bring me through times to testing and fulfill you great promises in me.