One complex spiritual principle is the fine line between grace and action. Clearly our lives will never be good enough to win us a restored relationship with God. He has made it abundantly clear that we are saved by grace. Still, the temptation for believers–is to take the truth of salvation and turn it one of two ways…either, use our salvation as a crutch to continue to live like the world; and believe that one day when we are tired of being in charge,then we will surrender to God.
James is calling folks out on that misapplication of grace. We cannot be saved by Christ–without becoming a new person. We desire God’s desires and not our own. We become like him and live and behave like him–not to earn salvation, but because of his salvation. Our actions will simply reflect our faith.
The other derivation says that I believe in God’s grace, but while I confess it, I am going to check my series of boxes just to be sure. I will keep close score and when I stand before God–well, he will be impressed by my spiritual resume. That life is equally off base.
Our faith is what saves us. There will be folks that work there heads off for the church that have no relationship with God. They will lay out the list of accomplishments and God will tearfully say, depart from me, I never knew you…It is NEVER going to be the boxes (our actions)that save us–It will always be our faith in his sacrifice.
Still, our faith will guide our steps and we will live a life that honors our Heavenly Father–we will not do that to attain salvation; but, simply out of a grateful heart for our salvation and a life that is being transformed into his image!
God Bless You
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.