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Justified by Works

Daily Reading: James 2

Scripture Focus: And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2.25-26)

Devotional Thought: James chose two Old Testament examples of how faith and deeds work together in our salvation. Abraham's faith resulted in his journey to Mount Moriah, to offer his son Isaac to God. Rahab's faith was proven real when she helped the messengers. James said that both were "justified by works." What does that mean?

Let's look at Rahab's experience...

She received the messengers. This is a picture of grace working. Joshua sent the messengers into the land without any invitation from Rahab. She had done nothing to deserve their arrival. She simply responded to their presence. And, when they spoke words of grace to her, she accepted their offer. In the same way, God sends the Holy Spirit to convict us and to give us saving faith. It is up to us to decide if we will receive the gift offered, but clearly we have done nothing deserving of the messenger. Receiving the message of salvation is not a work that brings us merit.

She sent them out by another way. This is a picture of faith working. Rahab's life changed in that encounter with Joshua's messengers. Her faith caused her to do something. She believed in them and their message. She staked her safety and her future on them. When we accept the Holy Spirit's message of salvation, we too are changed. We go out another way. Faith is real when it results in us living a different life, the Jesus life. Receiving the message of God's salvation, we are like the woman in John 8, whom Jesus told to "Go and sin no more."

Unless our faith changes our lives, it is not real. For, in the words of James: Faith without works is dead.


Prayer: "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." Help me that I won't substitute the hollow faith of an unchanged life for the full faith of a changed life. May my faith and deeds work together!. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 44.17-26

17 All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way; 19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. 22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! 24 Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground. 26 Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

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