whytheology

For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

James 2:14-17 (Lent Readings)

Passage

KJV Below (Link to NIV)

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Comment

Now James is getting to the crux of his letter. He wants to ask this question “What is it about Christian faith that makes it saving faith?” The answer, says James, is that Christian faith actually does something. The faith of false religions is concerned only with belief. James thus goes back to the poor person. If they need food and shelter and clothes, it doesn’t do them any good to believe that they have it, they actually need food, shelter, and clothes. We needed God but couldn’t get to him. It does no good to just believe he is there, so God loved us and went so far as to become human and show us “the full extent” of his love. We are human people, not disembodied minds. We need a faith that actually has an impact. Other kinds of faith are artificial and lead to death.

Question

How many homeless do you pass by or excuse yourself from helping because of assumptions about them or about what help they can get? (I’m not saying being naive, we are told to be as wise as serpents but innocent as doves). What makes your faith a living faith and not just a set of beliefs to accept?

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