Friday, June 4, 2010
Now, what use is it, my brothers, for a man to say he has faith, if his actions do not correspond with it? Could that sort of faith save anyone's soul? If a fellow man or woman has no clothes to wear and nothing to eat, and one of you say, "Good luck to you- I hope you'll keep warm and find enough to eat...", and yet give them nothing to meet their physical needs, what on earth is the good of that? Yet that is exactly what a bare faith without a corresponding life is like - quite dead. A man could challenge us by saying, "You have faith and I have merely good actions. Well, all you can do is to show me a faith without corresponding actions, but I can show you by my actions that I have faith as well."
So, you believe that there is one God? That's FINE. So do all the devils in hell, and shudder in terror! For, my dear short-sighted man, can't you see far enough to realise that faith without the right actions is dead and useless? Think of Abraham, our ancestor. Wasn't it his action which really justified him in God's sight when his faith led him to offer his son Isaac on the altar? Can't you see that his faith and his actions were, so to speak, partners - that his faith was implemented by his deed? That is what the scripture means when it says, 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.'
A man is justified before God by what he does as well as by what he believes. Rahab, who was a prostitute, has been quoted as an example of faith, yet surely it was her action that pleased God, when she welcomed Joshua's reconnoitring party and sent them safely back by a different route. Yes, faith without action is as dead as a body without a soul.
-- from the book of James, chapter 2, verses 14-26, Phillips translation, Holy Bible
My preacher grandfather used to say, in explaining the scripture about "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved", ..."It means BELIEVING INTO Christ!" He that believeth INTO - to the point of action!