“Our salvation is not determined by our actions, but our actions are a response and a reflection of our salvation.”
I love reading! One of my favorite genres to read is biographies. Because of these biographies, in my mind, I’ve encountered some amazing people. I’ve met Corrie ten Boom and her family, who hid and created a refuge for Jews during WWII as an extension of their devotion to God and His people (The Hiding Place). I’ve spent time with Elisabeth Elliot, who, fueled by God’s Love and Forgiveness, lived among and shared the Gospel with the very people group who killed her missionary husband Jim Elliot (The Savage My Kinsman). I’ve recently met Katie Davis Majors. Katie, an eighteen-year-old girl from Tennessee moved to Uganda to serve. Motivated by Christ’s compassion and service, Katie ended her first year of mission life with 13 adopted daughters and established a ministry to help clothe, feed, and educate even more of the local children (Kisses from Katie).
I may love to read about these people, but what makes their stories worth passing on? They represent modern examples of faith and action. James says, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17) He also adds, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22)
James is asking us to reflect on our actions and faith together. Not that our salvation is determined by our actions, but our actions are a response and a reflection of our salvation! If we know God’s love, forgiveness, order, compassion, encouragement, call, … then how has that knowledge impacted our actions? For inspiration, James calls our attention to Abraham. Abraham, with a faith that knew God’s ability to fulfill His promises, acted by taking his son up the mountain (Genesis 22). James also mentions Rahab. Rahab, with a faith in God’s power, gave lodging and safe passage to the spies (Joshua 2).
We could insert our own Biblical examples: Nehemiah, who believed in God’s faithfulness to His people, rebuilt Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-6). Peter, with trust in Jesus and hearing the call to share the Truth, preached the Gospel (Acts 2:14-41). Paul, who was thankful for the forgiveness the Lord offered, took the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9, 13).
These more radical examples of faith and action working together can help inspire us to see how on a daily basis God’s love for us can fuel our actions to model His service, compassion, teaching, forgiveness, or encouragement! Having felt His comfort in a time of hardship, we offer comfort and help to someone we see hurting. In awe of His forgiveness of our own sinful nature, we seek to exercise more patience to parent our children through their own phases of sinfulness. In understanding of His call to share His name, we offer ourselves as Life Class teachers to introduce children to Biblical Truths or we extend dinner invites to an unbelieving neighbor to help model Christ’s love to them.
With James’s words of exhortation, let’s reflect on how we are letting our own faith in Jesus and knowledge of God motivate, inspire, and fuel our actions!