One thing many churches get accused of is focusing on works; in some cases they are correct, in others, critics use this to try and deflect from their own, inactive, and dead or dying faith. James, the brother of Christ says that works are a sign of the faith: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
According to James, who draws heavily from Jesus' teachings and the book of Proverbs, states that works are the PROOF of Faith. Just as one could not claim a corpse is alive without breath, faith without evidence for it is dead. One cannot encounter the risen Christ and not be like Him. Jesus loved others, not just in word, but in action. The Love that is spoken of throughout the entirety of scripture describes action. It is not enough, for example, for me to say I love my wife. My actions need to support it. The People of Israel said they loved God, but chased after wealth and idols. I hope you see where this is going!
In the same way, we need to show proof of our love for Christ by loving all others. It should be done, however, in a way that doesn't draw attention to ourselves or our works, but done in a manner that brings God honor and glory. Jesus lets us know what this looks like: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4 None of this is about us. It never has been, Life is about honoring our Father in Heaven, that others who are as lost as we once were may be drawn to Him and give Him glory! Our works cannot save us, we are saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, as James challenges us, if we have Faith, there will be evidence by how we talk, and, especially, how we act. There is no way we can encounter the living God without proof! May He transform you today in to someone after His character and nature! James 2:18-26 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.