James 2:18: 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.
Faith is beyond a state of mind, it is a living force. It is with that force that even God operates by to create and execute his will on the earth. No wonder Jesus said that we should have the faith of God (Mark 11:22), have the God-kind of faith.
It is the force of faith that saves us (Ephesians 2:8). And that is what James is talking about. He was saying faith is inherently transforming and you cannot lay claim to it without its works. He is saying that faith is not inactive, the activities of faith inside a person produce effects that can be seen in the lifestyle of the individual. Jesus said by their fruits we shall know them (Matthew 7:15-20). James is against empty faith that some people peddle, that refuses to acknowledge that faith, of a necessity, brings change.
The force of faith is the force of change. But it is easy to conclude that faith can stand alone, can be authentic without indicators of transformation because faith starts with a thought. When the thoughts of man align with God’s, faith is born.
That is why the bible says, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). It is the thoughts of God as revealed in his word: spoken to you or written in the scriptures, that you are exposed to and regularly too, that ensures that your thoughts begin to align with God and your life also.
The message of Jesus Christ always comes in this wise: repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15), meaning: change your thought, embrace the divine thoughts concerning God’s provision for salvation, embrace that thought and turn away from wrong thoughts that perpetuate dependence on self and the result being destruction (Proverbs 16:25).
All internal transformation leads to external works. Every thought of God leads directly to his action. He said, “my thoughts towards you are not for evil but for good, to bring you to an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).” God’s good thoughts towards you will cause Him to ensure that good things happen to you.
The transformation that the word of God makes obvious in your lifestyle is the works of faith.
Faith as a force causes you to see differently and therefore you speak differently and act differently. God spoke to Isaiah that he should not fear other people’s fear or interpret events the way they do, that this would happen when he embraces the words of God, above others, because of his attachment to it is stronger to being attached to the words of men (Isaiah 8:11-15).
The church is called in the bible, the household of faith (Galatians 6:10); meaning that faith is the defining character of the people of God. Jude wrote to the Israelites that they contend for the faith (maintain its integrity, i.e. the consistency of input [thoughts] and output [behaviour]) that was once delivered to the saints and went listed the characteristics of people that divorced faith from godliness (Jude 1).
Faith connects you with the heavenly reality, sometimes making the people of the world to call you mad. Paul was called mad, it was said that his great learning had made him mad, but he was a man of great faith. His point of reference which forms the basis of his actions was emanating from a heavenly source.
In the list of men of God in Hebrews 11, all of them had encounters with the thoughts of God, causing them to take radical steps that achieved radical things.
Satan‘s in-thing is fear, which is embracing the thoughts of the enemy. Before David encountered Goliath, the giant had for days been speaking words that produces fear in the people, but the thoughts of God were very strong in David so that in the face of the spirit of fear emanating from Goliath, David operated by the thoughts of faith and cut down Goliath (1Samuel 17:1-51). His thoughts were revealed in the words he said. HE affirmed that he comes in the name of the Lord of hosts; this is because sharing God’s thoughts make you to see yourself relative to him even as he sees himself. You get to think about yourself the way God thinks about himself, with nothing being impossible for you (Matthew 17:19-20).
The temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-8), was all about the change of the thoughts of God that were in Eve, faith-thoughts that enabled her to flow along with God, to the thoughts of fear precipitated by suspicion of the highest intention of God. Satan caused her to be suspicious; making her not to believe God has their highest good in mind, her embrace of thoughts other than God’s led to the slippery slope of humanity into the kingdom of darkness.
Adam and Eve were built to function optimally in dependence on God by a system of faith. By relying on Him, God makes available to them his power and his provisions, but once they refused to abide by that, the natural course was for them to be chased from the Garden of Eden, to scrape a living for themselves, to rely on themselves for sustenance. Therefore man became encumbered with all manner of limitations to his earthly existence.
Jesus temptation was to cause him to change his thoughts about God (Luke 4: 3-13). Jesus was called to rely on God but the temptation of Satan like that of Eve was meant to pull him away from faith, away from the full embrace of divine thoughts, to truncate his mission on earth, just as the time of Adam and Eve was cut short in the Garden Eden, when they shifted away from faith, from the full embrace of the thoughts of God, which is a life of faith. And as a result of faith, His life had power because his thoughts were aligned with God’s, the superior being. Therefore, if your thoughts are aligned with his, in total embrace and agreement, Jesus promised that you would even do greater works than he did (John 14:12). The result (works) from your life would be full of the manifestation of divine power, as the life of Jesus was.
The life of faith is the life of reliance on God, reliance on his thoughts, reliance on his provision, and reliance on his judgement. All these have a direct effect on behaviour.
1. Meeting the needs of the people of God (James 2:15-17).
The focus verse is linked with James’ grouse with some people, saying that you cannot say you have faith while “over-spiritualising” your response to the need of people for cloth and food, choosing to pray for them rather than being an answer for their prayers for physical sustenance. Therefore the faith that causes you to think the thoughts of God would also make you to act like him to help others tangibly.
2. Meeting God’s needs/obedience (James 2 :21-23)
Another issue raised by James as the fruit of faith is obedience, citing the fact that Abraham did not just claim that he had faith but his faith produced a live style of obedience.
3. Serving the purpose of God (James 2:25)
The last example of James concerns Rahab, who acted to protect the spies from Israel, the result she enjoyed was the saving of her household. She acted to protect the interest of God; she acted to serve the purpose of God for the children of Israel as an act of faith. God used her and that was her act of faith, she carried out her part of God’s divine plan.
Therefore, if you are not meeting the physical needs of the people of God, when you can; not living a life of obedience; and not serving his purpose, your faith is without works and is therefore dead (James 2:26).
WordFromGod: Faith heals, protects, saves, provides: it opens the gate for you to experience who I am.
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- Faith to Forgive Grievous Harms: Accepting the Atonement as Restitution (realintent.org)
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