Faith without Works

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV)

One time I had this verse quoted to me by an angry man when he wanted me to do something politically motivated in a church and I would not. I told him I didn’t think that’s what this text meant. In the King James Version of this verse it says faith without works is dead. We seem to make this about our works. Because we do works, we have faith. But we can be doing works that require no faith at all! This text isn’t meant to be about checking the box when we do something. It is about being spurred to action by our faith. Not to get what we want but to do what God wants. Could it be that when we do something God said to do (even when we don’t want to) that this is a true step of faith? Maybe changing your job when it doesn’t make sense or staying in your job when the tug of more money would be easier? How about taking on a project that seems impossible because God is opening doors? How about dedicating time that you may not have to tutor a young person? I think the real action behind this verse is not so much what we are actually doing but it’s the response to God’s call, when we step out in faith no matter what the consequences.

–Elaine Kapetanakis

Written by Diane Levy


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