There’s a tension within the Christian life between faith and works. If you read this blog often, you probably have gotten an idea of the importance of faith and belief. Even in today’s reading, James highlighted that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Abraham didn’t allow his trust to end at trust, though. He obeyed what God asked him to do (leave his homeland) and lived a life of trusting God that ultimately culminated in his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, because God asked him to do so. God wasn’t into child sacrifices, but He wanted to make sure that Abraham was putting his faith in God rather than in the son of promise (Isaac).
Here’s the bottom line: right belief leads to right action. Abraham trusted God, and that led him to live a life of trust. There’s an enormous difference between what Abraham did and what the Pharisees did. Their lives weren’t built on trust – their lives were built on action. They sought to obey the laws for the sake of obeying the laws… not because they trusted God and were submitting to Him.
There are also some who supposedly trust God but whose lives never change. They study the Bible and believe the right things, but their belief in God never influences their Monday thru Saturday routines. This faith without works is dead.
We have to be careful in the church today that we don’t simply try to pound knowledge into peoples’ heads without helping them to apply it. In many ways, we are over-educated in the church in America – we know what we need to do to live a life of trust in God, but we fail to do it. One more Bible study isn’t going to help that. One more teaching time won’t build my trust in God. Learning to trust God is a daily choice of allowing my knowledge to direct my actions in a way where God gets the glory.
How much knowledge about God do you have? Does that knowledge enable you to rest your life more and more into His hands on a daily basis? If not, then James says that your knowledge is worthless. Faith without works is dead.