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October 31 – Faith without works is dead

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? – James 2:14

Scripture reading: James 2:1-17

This month we have thought about the work of Christ in uniting His people in His church for holy worship and service. We are called to live in fellowship with God and each other, showing the love of God to all. Ongoing Reformation requires that we examine all areas of our living, including how we treat others. We must not only get the gospel right, but gospel living right.

All too often, believers are guilty of favoritism. We can easily ignore those we disagree with, those of another color or race, those of a different cultural standing or lifestyle. We judge by sight even though we know we cannot see the heart. Thus as Christ loved us and sacrificed Himself for us while we were yet sinners, so we must love and give ourselves for others, even obvious sinners and people who are different. Later in the chapter, James speaks of wishing others well, but never taking any action to resolve their needs. Faith without deeds is useless.

Martin Luther, over 500 years ago today, acted for the common man in a way that transformed the church. He taught that salvation was not by works, but faith. He did so knowing that this faith must be proved true by works of love and mercy toward all people. The reformation begun is not yet complete.

Today we must devote ourselves to the love of Christ, seeking the ongoing reformation of the church until we reach the full stature of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for a blessed day of worship and praise. Give thanks for the return of the church to the Scriptures and pray that today also the church might be reformed by Scripture to be the perfect body of Christ on earth.

Rev. Calvin Tuininga is the Pastor Emeritus of the Covenant United Reformed Church in Pantego, North Carolina. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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