Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without
good works (v.26).
Did you know that?!” When my student responded
with disbelief at what he had learned in
researching his social justice project, my heart
leapt with excitement. Teaching in a private prep school,
I look for ways to help my students see beyond their
somewhat sheltered world. My delight was short-lived,
however, when he continued by saying that although he
felt bad for those who suffered, he wouldn’t change his
buying habits. You see, one of the companies that uses
sweatshops also happens to make his favorite clothing.
We don’t earn salvation; nor do we earn our way into
the favor and blessing of God. But in his letter to the
early church, James is clear. Faith requires action, or it is
not faith at all.
How this plays out in our daily lives, though, is
another question altogether. While Christians can easily
be labeled for their protests and boycotts, knowledge
creates an interesting dilemma in our understanding
of faith and works. From the choices we make about
media, the way we act in everyday situations, to our
interest in the suffering of those near and far, our lives
should reveal an intimate relationship with the Son
of God who willingly gave His life for our well-being
The Bible says, “For God loved the world so much
that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone
who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In the
same way, our works—motivated by our faith in the goodness of God—should
emanate from a heart of love (1 Corinthians 13:3).
A necessary component of our relationship with God (Hebrews 11:6), faith
becomes an opportunity for the love of God to be made visible—through us.
In what part of your life have you struggled to make your faith active?
How can you keep a God-centered focus as you live out your faith?