Vs. 18, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Throughout this chapter, we see the importance of faith shown real by action & love. If we show favoritism (Vs. 1), how can we see we live by faith? Faith is believing in what we do not see…and that also means to stop looking at things we can see. When we judge others by their gender, race, culture, rich/poor, popular/unpopular…we are living by sight rather than faith. We also are given a great lesson on faith in action from this chapter. While we have been justified by faith not works…we also cannot live faithfully without works. That is one of the big knocks on Christians from the outside world. There are so many so-called Christians not living out their faith and the world sees this and wonders what good it is to call yourself Christian if Christians look and act just like them.
Regarding application…Walk the Walk.. Vs. 26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Think of it this way…We are justified (declared righteous) before God by faith, but we are justified before men by works. God can see our faith, but men can see only our works. The reason why we can look to Abraham as a great man of faith is because he walked the walk. When push came to shove, he not only believed it in his heart, he acted upon his faith with action…even if it meant sacrificing his beloved son. Personally, I hope selfishly God would never put me through such a test of faith. But don’t misunderstand…God tests our faith far more than we probably ever realize.
Illustration…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 Christian 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 ply 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 plying both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, “You see, that is the way it is in the Christian life. Dead 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.”