“You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God.”
// James 2:22-23
We don’t have to be skilled in the science of horticulture to know that there is a difference between a living plant and a dead one. A plant that is alive produces fruit, while one that is dead shows no signs of growth. We can liken our faith to a plant: faith that is alive is always producing something.
According to James 2:22-23, that ‘something’ is works. Speaking of Abraham, James says: “faith was active along with his works.” Abraham’s faith was not simply a mental or intellectual assent to agree with the existence of God, but rather an active trust in Him that produced a life of obedience. We are reminded of his obedience in the verse prior [verse 21] when James tells us of Abraham’s willingness to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham’s faith was expressed in his works because our works are the fruit of our faith.
For some of us, there may be a negative connotation behind the term ‘works’ because we associate it with a list of tasks that we think we have to complete to prove we are ‘good’ Christians — getting up before dawn to pray, having a set devotional time, and so on. While these are good and noble feats they are not what James is referring to. Rather, the scriptural understanding of ‘works’ is to live life loving God and loving people. As our trust in God grows, we take on His heart and our actions, or ‘works,’ become an overflow of the love that He extends towards us.
A deep love for God that translates into loving others - this is the life that our faith is meant to produce. And it should never be static. Let’s press in together as the children of God so this city can know what Love looks like.
// Filmore Bouldes