Faith and Works

Posted 9/2/2018

Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:18, NRSV) In these words, James seems to be saying that it is what we do, not what we believe that matters. Yet James really doesn’t split faith and works in this way. He talks about faith being active along with works. James says, as Christians we can’t live without both faith and works.

That can be an important thing for us to remember these days. There are many among us who say it doesn’t really matter what you believe. And yet, James is clear. He is speaking not just to everyone, but to the Christian community. They are, in very specific ways, separate from and different than, the world about them. And that difference is found first of all in what they believe. However, it is also found in what they do because of what they believe.

The fact is, those who are often called “conservatives” are right — what we believe matters. It matters greatly. To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Yet those who are often called “liberals” are also right — what we do matters. Our call as Christians will influence what we do. We can’t claim to be Christians if our lives and how we relate to those about us aren’t changed by our faith. 

It really isn’t a matter of faith vs works, of beliefs vs actions. It is a matter of living a full Christian life — one in which we believe in Jesus and find our lives radically transformed by the power and presence of the Spirit of Christ working within us. The call is to show both our faith and our works.