Tag Archives: Faith opportunities

Summer holiday time to knock and ask, and time to share

In the daily Bible readings our chapter in Matthew today unfolds to reveal powerful personal lessons – principles we must live by, though in the chapters of the first book of Samuel we also see that it was not always easy for the preferred one of God, David! He also was victim of human jealousy [v.8-12].

In these summer-months we do have time to examine ourselves and the situation we are living in at the moment. We can check if we kept to Jesus his sayings or if when we had certain needs or wanted to receive knowledge if we did ask like Jesus advices us. Often when we are at work we do not have time enough for God’s Word. It might not always be easy to have us every day to pick up the Bible and to read in it and to take time enough to let our thoughts wonder over the Biblical text. Now when the Summer holiday comes to us we have no excuse. Now we should have enough opportunity to read in the Bible but also to talk to others bout different things, including the Word of God.

Summer time often gives us opportunities to come at other places, where nobody might know us, where we do not have to fear talking about our faith and to show others how we love God.

We can ask God to help us to get insight ourself but also to give us strength and opportunities to give others insight in His infallible Word. We might be assured when we dare to ask Jehovah God will provide, when our heart is in the right place with Him.

“·Ask [Keep asking], and ·God will give [L it will be given; C the passive verb implies God as subject] to you. ·Search [Seek; Keep seeking], and you will find. ·Knock [Keep knocking], and the door will open for you. ·Yes, [L For; Because] everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who ·searches [seeks] will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

“If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone? 10 Or [L which of you] if your ·children ask [or son asks] for a fish, would you give them a snake? {Matthew 7:7-10 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

When we long to have knowledge in the Holy Scriptures God is not going to withhold it. He is not going to detain us and leave us without Biblical knowledge if we really want to have such knowledge. Though in such circumstance God wants us to open our mind and when we encounter matters which we have learned at school or in the past in our religious environment, but which are based on human doctrines, God wants us to choose for the Biblical doctrines and to put those human and false teachings aside. We have to show to God that we are willing to learn what He wants to say to us and what the Bible puts openly in front of us, words black on white and no misty myths of the world.

For many it may not be easy to put away all such false human teachings, but that is what God requires, not to be of the world but to belong to the world of God.

Knowledge will be given to you when you are prepared to seek honestly and with the will to learn Godly Truth. When you open your mind, ask God to help you, He will provide and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.

Keep Pursuing What You Need From God. He Will Give You Good Things

“Be asking, and it will be given to you; be seeking, and you will find; be knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone asking receives; and the one seeking finds; and to the one knocking, it will be opened. Or what person is there from-among you whom his son will ask-for bread— he will not give him a stone[a], will he? 10 Or indeed he will ask-for a fish— he will not give him a snake[b], will he?

  1. Matthew 7:9That is, something useless.
  2. Matthew 7:10That is, something harmful. {Matthew 7:7-10Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

For everyone, also you, who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds. So you only have to be prepared to be willing to find and to ask God to help you find it. But you too should help others to find it. So what you have uncovered may not only be your secret. Even when we will realize our failure to see the Biblical truth because we wanted to hold fast so much to denominational teachings, noticing it so late in our life, we better accept it that it is better late in life than never, to come to the Biblical truth.

Out of compassion and love for the other, we should try to let others know the Word of God and show them what is really written in it. One of the tasks given by Jesus was to go out and preach. When we do understand what the Nazarene man Jesus has really done, we should tell others of this incredible act of self-renunciation. We should tell others about his self-sacrifice and how he is not the God we should worship but the Way to God, the Only One True God of gods Whom is the Only One to be worshipped and praised above all.

Jesus expects everyone who hears these words of him to do them!

24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and is doing them will be-like a wise[a] man who built his house upon the bed-rock.

  1. Matthew 7:24Or, prudent, sensible. {Matthew 7:24Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

Let us be wise in the Lord and show the world how we want to be partakers of the Body of Christ and follow the same God as Jesus had. In the knowledge that the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, we should be aware that though salvation is given to all the world also shall have to see that those who find that entrance to the Kingdom of God shall be just a few. We should know and let others know that wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. [L Because] The gate is wide and the road is ·wide [broad; spacious; or easy] that leads to ·hell [L destruction; ruin], and many people enter through that gate. 14 But the gate is small and the road is ·narrow [or difficult; hard] that leads to true life. ·Only a few people [And there are few who] find that road. {Matthew 7:13-14Expanded Bible (EXB)}

For those few we have to invest our free time and do what Jesus expects from us, making sure that we are not a foolish person in his eyes, because he shall watch us and in the end days shall judge over us. Let us listen to Jesus his words:

Matthew 7:25-29Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)

25 And the rain came down, and the rivers[a] came, and the winds blew— and they fell against that house. And it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the bed-rock. 26 And everyone hearing these words of Mine and not doing them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. 27 And the rain came down, and the rivers came, and the winds blew— and they struck-against that house. And it fell, and the falling[b] of it was great”.

The Works of The King: Divine Power In Action28 And it came about that when Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astounded[c] at His teaching. 29 For He was teaching them as One having authority, and not as their scribes.

  1. Matthew 7:25 That is, rivers of flood waters.
  2. Matthew 7:27 Or, collapse, downfall.
  3. Matthew 7:28 Or, overwhelmed, amazed, astonished.

{Matthew 7:25-29Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

When having found Jesus his words and having gone deeper into them, finding the Words of his heavenly Father, we should build our own life on them and create the foundation for ways for others also to come closer to God.

There are many ways – travel in our world has never been more readily possible, but whether nearby or further afield, we must, as we read two days ago in Matthew 5,

16 In the same way let your light shine ·before others [for people to see], so that they will see ·the good things you do [L your good deeds/works] and will ·praise [glorify; give honor to] your Father in heaven. {Matthew 5:16 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

Take some time this holiday to have some work done for Jesus and his God that they and the world may see your good works and glorify your Father in the heavens.

Let us also make sure that we tell others what is in the Word of God and have us honestly trying to have our faith in God shine as a strong light before others, so that on that day when Jesus returns we do not have to be ashamed and do not have to say like many who will say to him

… Lord, did we not prophesy (preach) in your name…?”

Having Jesus to look at them and responding that they have to depart from him because he does not want to know of them.

22 On ·the last day [judgment day; L that day] many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, ·we spoke for you [L Did we not prophesy in your name…?], and ·through you we forced out demons [L cast out demons in your name…?] and did many ·miracles [L mighty works in your name…?].’ {Matthew 7:22 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

We do not have to show extra-ordinary things to others, not doing miracles. We only have to honestly tell them what we believe and show them what the Bible says.

These days when we might have more free time, let us make sure that we take some free time for God and to show our love for God to others.In the knowledge that “many are called, but few are chosen” let us belong to those “few” that will hear the words we read today in Isaiah 62,

Isaiah 62:11-12 Expanded Bible (EXB)

11 The Lord ·is speaking [announces]
    to ·all the faraway lands [L the end of the earth]:
“·Tell the people of Jerusalem [L Say to the daughter of Zion; Zech. 9:9],
    ‘Look, your Savior is coming.
He is bringing ·your reward to you [L his reward with him];
    ·he is bringing his payment [his recompense/reward is] with him.’”
12 ·His people [L They] will be called the Holy People,
    the ·Saved People [Redeemed] of the Lord,
and Jerusalem will be called ·the City God Wants [L Sought After],
    the City ·God Has Not Rejected [or Not Abandoned; Deserted]. {Isaiah 62:11-12 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

If you knew how much God loves you, you would be happy to receive and share His love with others and would be pleased to have others also coming to know Him and His great Love.

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Preceding articles

Summer holiday

May we have doubts

Facing our existence every day

What Are You Seeking?

High time to go out telling the world about Jesus

7 Ways To Become A Better Christian

What Should I Preach ?

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Crisis man needed in this world

Refusing to Be Silent

Go Ye!

To proclaim the day of vengeance

Proclaiming: a task given to Christians

Go! Proclaim! Testify!

Scriptures and Thoughts about: Proclaim

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Additional reading

  1. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  2. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  3. Do You Expect God’s Answer
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment
  6. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  7. We should use the Bible every day
  8. Bible in the first place #2/3
  9. Loving the Word
  10. Necessity of a revelation of creation 8 By no means unintelligible or mysterious to people
  11. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  13. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  14. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  15. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still
  16. Obtain favour from Yahweh
  17. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  18. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  19. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  20. Going deep into cultures to reach lost people
  21. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  22. How do I know if I’m called to ministry?
  23. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  24. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  25. Oratory Style
  26. What Should I Preach ?
  27. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. Here for a cause, anointed with a message the world needs to hear
  2. Motives behind Criticism are often more Important to deal With then the Criticism itself.
  3. Special Sundays!~Matthew 7:7~
  4. Which Story Do You Want To Live?
  5. Share Jesus
  6. Are you judging people by what they look like?
  7. Do to others…
  8. There is a wolf nipping at your soul
  9. “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.” ~Jesus
  10. Matthew 9 – Stepping forth in courage
  11. Matthew 11 – Praise and trust
  12. Matthew 14 – Prayer, Faith & Action
  13. By His Grace
  14. The Journey of Love and Commitment 
  15. Strengthen Yourself In Your God
  16. “Following Jesus” (Matthew 4:18-22 sermon)
  17. “What We Have Seen … We Proclaim”
  18. “Reaching, Teaching, Caring: Following the Footsteps of Jesus” (Matthew 4:23 sermon)
  19. A Day in the Park
  20. The Goodness of God
  21. Count Your Blessings
  22. The call to serve
  23. See you next time
  24. Christianity is a Learned Experience
  25. Biblical Application
  26. Biblical Revelation Knowledge On Spiritual Warfare
  27. The Gospel of The Kingdom
  28. Do We Really Know God?
  29. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Contrasts
  30. Awaken
  31. 8. Doors and Destinations
  32. Meditation – Choices
  33. The Path of Love
  34. Life’s Narrow and Wide Gates
  35. Love, Entering the Narrow Gate.
  36. The Narrow Way
  37. Religious Theology – The wide gate!
  38. Shifting Sand
  39. Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14
  40. How to choose between the wide and the narrow
  41. The Narrow Gate
  42. against the stream
  43. Taking responsibility – the narrow gate that leads to life
  44. How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 3
  45. Difficult is the Way that Leads to Life
  46. Those Who Find It Are Few.
  47. Guard My Feet Lord ~
  48. Two Gates
  49. The Narrow Gate
  50. The Protestant – Catholic divide – The Narrow and the Wide Gates
  51. The Crumb That Turns Stale With Time
  52. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  53. The narrow gate and the postmillennial hope
  54. The Grand Reception
  55. Lord, will only few people be saved?

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13 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, Welfare matters

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

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The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

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

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

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Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

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Further related articles

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  2. Partiality In The Church
  3. Christian Prejudice: Finding Answers to a Shameful Problem
  4. Human Rights Are Not “Common Sense” – They Are Christianity
  5. Is Jesus Partial? Colossians 3 verse 11
  6. “What is Christianity about?” by Michael and Susanne
  7. Today’s life is full of fakeness..
  8. The James Series: Surprisingly Equal
  9. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B
  10. Micah 2: Soap in studying the Bible
  11. Favoritism Forbidden
  12. Are We Partial?
  13. Friendship and partiality
  14. My Journey to Racial Reconciliation
  15. Can Faith Save You? Sermon by Keith, 6.14.15, Pentecost 3
  16. How To Beat The Competition?
  17. Facing Our Prejudices
  18. James: Favoritism
  19. The Book of James Chapter 2:1-9,12-13 (NKJV)
  20. 2:9 – But if you show partiality, you commit sin
  21. 2:13. For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
  22. “Sunday Best”
  23. Partiality and The Law
  24. No Partiality
  25. What does the Bible say about partiality By…
  26. Mercy the missing piece
  27. Living Life Partially Impartial
  28. unjust justice
  29. How can you say God is not partial?
  30. Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 8th February 2015
  31. February 2 – Walking the Line
  32. Show No Favouritism. Show Mercy.
  33. Reflective Paragraphs Week 11 – James
  34. Losing Integrity Over Identity
  35. The imported and the favoured workers
  36. Playing Favourites in the Church. A Reflection on James 2:1-17
  37. Healing wilful deafness
  38. Daily Digest: Playing Favourites
  39. Disease favouritism
  40. Diminished
  41. Not Of This World
  42. How Important is Belief?
  43. Substance and Evidence
  44. Religious Literacy
  45. Bible-In-A-Year Day 33: Leviticus 16-18
  46. Death-Defying Faith.

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