Life before death - Hope 103.2

Life before death

By David ReayThursday 28 Aug 2014LifeWords DevotionalsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


Read James 1:27

Real religion,the kind that passes muster before God the Father,is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight,and guard against corruption from the godless world. (THE MESSAGE)

When Jesus was asked about inheriting eternal life,he responded by talking about love of God and neighbour. He went on to describe what neighbour love looks like by the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. In doing this,he was not saying we get eternal life by being nice and helpful people. He was,however,telling us that doing good was not some ‘add on’ to the Christian faith. It is a necessary part of it. Loving God and loving neighbour belong together: what God has joined let no person put asunder.

James tells us the same sort of thing. Jesus and James are warning against a privatised,spiritualised sort of faith that simply focuses on getting our sins forgiven now so we can get to heaven later. We dare not ignore or downplay the crucial centrality of divine mercy and helpless dependence on grace. But neither dare we consider doing good as an optional extra. There is no wedge to be driven between being saved by faith and the necessity of doing good works.

A person in need doesn’t need us to stuff tracts in their pocket. A hungry person doesn’t need a sermon. I cannot claim to love my neighbour by only loving the ‘spiritual’ dimension of that person. We certainly want to proclaim the message of life after death. But we also want to offer,as much as we can,a better sort of life before death.

David Reay