"You foolish person,
do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"
So What is the Point? Did Abraham believe in God? Certainly he did. So what was the whole point of God requiring him to sacrifice his son Isaac? Wasn’t his “I’m on your side God” comment good enough? The very definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Shouldn’t that be enough? Yet James chapter 2 offers us some insight that the American church (and dare I say most western men) struggles a bit with today. "You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 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. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone." James 2:20-24 There are a couple of things we need to take from this. If you want to be considered foolish: Foolishness is buying into the idea that our faith will not be in lock step with our works. We try and make the argument that our works don’t save us. That is 100% correct. However this can slide into the realm of works are not necessary and should not reveal my faith. This breeds spiritually impotent men. They honor the Lord with their lips but He is far from their hearts. They ignore their kingdom responsibilities. The preceding verse to this passage says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” What makes your belief different from the demons? Ponder that for a moment. If you want to be considered righteous: James would say that our faith produces works and we would be considered righteous for our faith and works together. It is directional. Our works don’t produce faith but rather our faith produces works. Abraham proved his faith by following his Lord's commands to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Lord honored Abraham by providing a scape goat. He foreshadowed the sacrifice of His Son on a cross to be our redemption from a death we deserved. Faith leads to Doing We are called in our faith to be doers. James 1 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus would say that the fields are ripe for harvest but the workers are few. What would our churches, our communities, our families, our work places, our marriages look like if we quit being so passive in our faith but began to seek what God was telling us to do…then doing it? What if... What if God said, teach that Sunday School class, mentor that kid, fast with your wife, take a stand at work on that issue, love that person you hate, take your kid to church rather than the ballfields, lose 50 lbs., start that ministry, take that money you spend on coffee and feed a family without a home, whatever!! Would you “do” it? Maybe you don’t have faith enough? If you don’t, does that concern you enough that you are willing to do something about it? Do you desire to be considered foolish or righteous?
Travis Sellers MD5 Lab Facilitator