So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. (NLT)
How often have we been reminded that good works won’t save us, that gaining eternal life is about faith and not works. That sort of teaching is an understandable antidote to the common view in society that heaven is a reward for being good and that what we do for God is what makes us acceptable.
And so we stress what we call salvation by faith alone. And so we are guilty of selective use of the Bible. Our text today is part of James’ appeal to us that faith is to result in good works. Whereas Paul wanted to rebut the idea that good works can save us, James wants to argue against the idea that good works don’t matter.
Jesus himself warned that those who simply mouthed pious praises were not accepted by God, but only those who put their faith into practice. So while faith in the goodness and mercy of Jesus may be the means by which we get right with God, such a faith expresses itself in good works.
As with many issues, there is a tension, a balance. Those who reckon their civil decency or religious heritage will get them into God’s family need to think again. Those who reckon that faith is merely a matter of right belief and correct knowledge must also think again. The point being that we can’t get to heaven by doing good works, but we can’t there without doing them either.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by