A Functioning Faith: James 2:14-16

May 8th, 2009

James 2:14-16
 2:14.  What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
 2:15.  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
 2:16.  and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,'' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

A Functioning Faith

Faith is nothing if it isn't put into practice. I can sit and think about faith, and patience, and mercy. I can even talk about their merits, and use logical reasoning to describe how they could be implemented. Actions speak louder than words. If I really believe in faith, there comes a time to live it.

Do you claim to believe, or be something? Do you live it?

To shift gears just a little, James askes, "Can faith save him?" Well, yes, on an individual basis, that's all it takes, to believe that Jesus died for sins, and accept that gift. Faith alone can save our soul. I think what James is talking about is in our efforts to reach others, In ministring to them, or to convince them to join the kingdom of Christ. People will more likely be convinced if hey can see actual evidence, and benefit in how we liveour lives.

He uses the example of a hungry, needy person. Telling them to have faith and sending them on their way is counterproductive. Now they are hungry, and insulted. They will go away empty handed, with an empty soul, and with the knowledge of how we really practice our hollow faith. They'll know it, but we probably will remain clueless.

It wouldn't do to see a person out in a lake, drowning, and have a lifeguard on the beach. A lifeguard who has all the equipment, and training it takes to rescue him, and have that lifeguard stand there and shout out swimming instructions. Or lecture him on his foolishness for being in that mess. Or describe to him how he is going to row a boat out and toss him a line.

Faith demands action. The actions are the result, and proof of our faith. Action is the substance, the application and practice of those religious concepts that get talked about so much. Jesus preached and taught, but he also demonstrated his talk by healing people. Tending to physical needs.

When someone is in need, and God has caused them to cross your path, and you know that you have what they need to help them. Act first, then ask questions later. Tend to the need at hand, the words will come later.

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