14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17 NIV)
Throughout the centuries this section of James has been the source of much debate. The debate is ongoing and it goes like this: “Are we saved by grace or by works?” The Bible is very clear, unmistakably clear: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) If all of the time spent arguing about “works vs. grace” had been spent helping those in need the world would be a better place.
We are saved by the work of God through Jesus our Lord. When we recognize the work He has done on our behalf, our response, our only response, is to work for His glory and the blessing of others. Those who have truly come to experience the grace of Almighty God want others to know His grace as well. If we are not broken by the things that break the heart of God then we must ask ourselves “Why not?”
Does simply saying, “I am a Christian.” really make me a follower of Jesus? I can say I’m a member of the Dallas Cowboys or a concert pianist or a NASA astronaut, but the truth of the matter is I’m not any of those things. Those who belong to Jesus will follow in His steps.
I’ve come to recognize that there are two different kinds of folks in the Church. There are those who want all of the goodness and mercy of God and there are those who want to share all of the goodness and mercy of God. My own experience has shown me that I experience God’s mercy and goodness the most when I am intentionally seeking to share God’s mercy and grace with the broken and alienated.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will help me to put my faith into action.