Scripture: James 2:14-26
Key verse: 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Reflection: Faith without works is dead! Doesn’t this seem to be the opposite of grace — where we don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love?
If you understand works as something we do to deserve God’s grace, then works are exactly the opposite of grace.
However, if you understand works as something we do in response to God’s grace, then works are the natural expression of our gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s love and acceptance.
If a person has received God’s grace — really gotten that God loves us unconditionally — he or she will want to respond. No one can be a recipient of grace and be unmoved by it. So how can a person say he or she has received God’s grace yet nothing outward changes?
That’s the point James is making — not that works earn us God’s grace, but if a person’s life isn’t changed by grace, what kind of faith do they have? Faith obliges us to respond, no… empowers us to respond. How do we know if a person has faith? If their life is lived in faithful ways, we know.
What does the way you live your life reveal about what you say you believe?
Prayer: Open us, O God, to receive the abundance of your grace and mercy. Surround us and fill us with your love on the inside so that we have to show it on the outside. In the name of the one whose faith and life is the model for our own, even Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].