Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 3

By Dr. Felix Line, March 12, 1980

Faith With Works

Read: James 2:26

…Faith without works is dead.”

The Christian religion makes many demands upon one who accepts it. The first step in becoming a Christian is to have faith. This concept emphasized by Paul is discussed at length in his various letters which make up a large portion of the New Testament.

There is a small book of only four chapters which I believe strikes a balance between faith and works. I am referring to the book of James about which there has been and still is controversy.  Martin Luther wished to exclude the book from the canon because of the appearance of an apparent contradiction of Paul’s teaching on justification by faith.

It seems to me that James is expressing the same concept that Paul is saying, namely, that when one is a Christian and attempting to do the will of God the natural and normal sequence of that faith is “good works.”

Over the centuries Christianity has been talked about, argued, debated and has been encrusted with observances, confessions, rituals and prayers. The writer of James gets down to the essentials by stating that the Christian faith makes a difference in the way a person lives regardless of the rituals and observances in which he participates.


Help us to live by what the writer of James says:

  “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” 1:22

  What does it profit my brethren if a man says he has faith but has not works?” 2:14

  Show me your faith apart from works and I by my works will show you my faith.” 2:18

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