James 2:1-10, 14-17,
Faith – an idea or an action? A pagan woman asks Jesus for healing for her daughter: that’s faith. Giving as much time and attention to members of the congregation who are poor as to the wealthy members: that is faith. Clearly, faith, in this sense, is not just belief in a doctrine; nor is it another term for a religion like Buddhism or Christianity. It is trust, but not just as an idea; it is trust as it is lived out in action. Faith is more than belief. For example, faith in God is much more than, “I believe in God.” It is living each day with confidence in God and in God’s love. Faith means forgiving others as God forgives us. Faith means action on behalf of the homeless, the refugee, the oppressed and the poor. It means respecting others as we expect to be respected. That often means swimming against the tide of public opinion, giving voice to viewpoints that go against prevailing selfish attitudes. It means living generously and respectfully. It means letting go of anxieties and entrusting loved ones to God’s love and care. Faith in Jesus as Saviour goes beyond the use of a title; it becomes freedom from guilt, inner peace and a sense of acceptance. It is living in the assurance that one is accepted and loved. Jesus as Lord means living his way and not insisting on our self-centred ways. Faith is a way of life. “Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” Faith is not just a feeling any more than it is just an idea; it is living, it involves what we do and who we are. As the spiritual finds expression through the physical so faith finds its expression through action. You can’t have one without the other. Faith is as much political as it is religious – political in the sense that it has to do with the way we live and act within community.
- A key doctrine of the Reformation is that we are saved by faith and not by doing good or religious works. Then where do good works come in?
- If faith is a way of life, then is living a good life all that God asks of us?
- What is the difference between having faith in God and having faith in prayer?
- James contrasts a living faith with a dead faith (James 2:17). How would you describe the difference?