One of the debates that we find so often when we read from the book of James in the New Testament is the struggle between faith and works. We see in Paul’s writing that we saved by grace through faith, not by works.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
But yet listen to James 2: 14-17:
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
So, what gives? What we are talking about in this conversation between these texts is this. Yes, we are saved by grace, not by works. Our faith is not something that we earn, but it is something that we receive. Our salvation is a gift of God from God.
Our salvation is not a wage that is earned. It is a gift that is received.
But here’s the thing about that gift. It shows itself in its works. Works are a natural outgrowth of that salvation. A body that is alive doesn’t have to tell itself to breathe. It simply breathes. That is an involuntary movement. We simply breathe because we are alive.
So is it with faith and works. Faith that is alive doesn’t have to be told to “do” works, it simply does it because it is alive. It is an involuntary movement. An alive faith produces works.
It is simply a sign of life. It flows from a faith that is alive.
So, today, may we know that we are not saved by our works, but our works are a sign of faith. Today, may you rest in your salvation that comes from grace, not from works. But may our faith that is alive, show itself in our love for God and neighbor.
May our faith show signs of life!