#DailyDevotion You Have Spirituality, I Have Religion And Will Show It By My Works
James 2: 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You will often hear these days, I have spirituality not religion. James may have an answer for that.
But he starts off with a simple principle: Faith is accompanied by good works. Faith that isn’t accompanied by works cannot save. It isn’t that faith alone doesn’t save. Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only thing that can receive the gift of eternal life. Yet faith that receives Jesus Christ’s works for the person’s salvation will produce good works.
Luther writes in his introduction to Romans, “Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing.”
So James illustrates what that faith looks and doesn’t look like. A counterfeit faith doesn’t help someone in need when it can help someone. A true faith sees a work that needs to be done and if it can help it provides the assistance. Faith that does no good works is dead.
In verse 18 James says, “You have faith and I have works.” This is the same as saying, “I don’t need religion, I have spirituality” Hebrews writes, 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him,” and Paul writes, Rom 14:23 “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So show me your works apart from faith and I’ll show you my faith by my works James says. There are no good works before God without faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the Christian’s religion. This faith seeks to see how it can help the neighbor, the person in front of him. Faith in Jesus makes a new man who has new thoughts, desires, affections and actions. The good works a Christian does is born of the Holy Spirit and is evidence that true faith is residing in the heart.
Now true, when we examine ourselves, we may not see the good works that we might be looking for in others. But others will look at you and see the good works you do. They will be on the receiving end of those works. The good works are not for your comfort that you have true faith. You look to Christ’s works for your faith. That faith, that religion, is shown by service to the neighbor in their time of need.
Heavenly Father, grant unto us a living faith that seeks to serve our neighbor in their time of need so our fellow man can see our good works and give praise to your holy name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.