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October 16 – Faith without works is dead

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. – James 2:24

Scripture reading: James 2:20-26

One of the main points of the reformation was the confession that we are saved by faith apart from works. Paul often mentions this in his letters. Yet James writes that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Being justified is being treated as if you did nothing wrong according to God’s judgment.

To understand what James is getting at we need to look at the two examples he gives: Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. Rahab showed her faith by her actions in hiding the spies and sending them in a different direction. She was willing to give up her allegiance to the city of Jericho and put her trust in the God of Israel. To have a true saving faith, it must also change us so that we, in our trust and allegiance to God, are willing to sacrifice anything.

If Jesus is your Saviour, He must also be your Lord, the One to whom you listen, obey, and are willing to sacrifice for. Jesus said if we are not willing to give up possessions and people in our dedication to Him we are not really His disciples. In this way, James is not arguing against being saved by faith, but is challenging us to reflect on what type of faith we have.

Suggestions for prayer

That our faith in Jesus Christ would show itself in real actions of dedication and sacrifice to Jesus and His Kingdom and so prove to be real and saving faith.

 Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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