Faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26
A tornado blew through a community on a June evening in 2021, destroying a family’s barn. It was a sad loss because the barn had been on the family property since the late 1800s. As John and Barb drove by on their way to church the next morning, they saw the damage and wondered how they might help. So they stopped and learned that the family needed assistance with cleanup. Turning their car around quickly, they headed back home to change clothes and returned to stay for the day to clean up the mess the violent winds had created. They put their faith into action as they served the family.
James said that “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). He gives the example of Abraham, who in obedience followed God when he didn’t know where he was going (v. 23; see Genesis 12:1–4; 15:6; Hebrews 11:8). James also mentions Rahab, who showed her belief in the God of Israel when she hid the spies who came to check out the city of Jericho (James 2:25; see Joshua 2; 6:17).
“If someone claims to have faith but has no deeds” (James 2:14), it does them no good. “Faith is the root, good works are the fruits,” comments Matthew Henry, “and we must see to it that we have both.” God doesn’t need our good deeds, but our faith is proven by our actions.
Why do you think it’s important that we do good deeds? What can you do out of your love for God?
May I serve You out of my faith in You and love for You today, dear God.
James 2:14–26 challenges the idea that faith can exist on its own apart from good actions. James said an opponent of this idea might argue that some believers in Jesus have faith, while other believers have works (v. 18). The opponent seems to be suggesting that either are valid strengths. James rejected the idea that faith and action can be put in separate categories, however, saying that true faith is impossible to verify without good actions (v. 18). He emphasized that true faith always flows into service on behalf of society’s marginalized and economically vulnerable (vv. 14–17).