Genuine Faith - Do you have it?
Published May 18th, 2017; Updated June 13th, 2017
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Main point summary
You either live your life in a manner that is consistent with the gospel and its implications or you are all talk and your faith is totally worthless.
James has taken us through the first chapter of his letter and has given us a great picture of what it looks like to have genuine faith. He has taken us on a journey and has challenged us to look intently into the mirror of God's word. He wants us to see ourselves for who we really are and not simply glance and immediately turn away forgetting what we have seen ( James 1:23-25 ). So far he has shown us that those who have genuine faith are those who rely on God as they persevere through trials (James 1:5). He has shown us that those who have genuine faith are those who receive his word with meekness (James 1:21). Finally, he has shown us that those who have genuine faith are those whose behavior will manifest itself in their daily life. Why is this important? Why is there such a strong emphasis on genuine faith as we wrap up this first chapter? I think it's rather obvious. There are people who claim to be Christians yet live their lives no differently than the rest of the world. They value the same things that the world values and they live for the same things that the world lives for. What does James have to say about these people? He says that are all talk. He implies that they are stained by the world and that their faith has no value - it doesn't add up. What James is saying here in these two verses is either you live your life in a manner that is consistent with the gospel and its implications or you don't. He shows us that those who understand the gospel and what Jesus has done for them have a desire to care for all people, especially those who cannot care for themselves. Their hearts cry out for the fatherless and the widow (Psalm 68:5). They empathize for those whom the world would take advantage of. They realize that they were once orphans and that they have a Father in heaven who has predestined them for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5). So James writes to us and encourages us to look intently at ourselves and examine ourselves to see whether or not were are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). The final question we should ask ourselves is why is it important for the Christian to be a doer of the word? Other than revealing true faith verses false faith, why should we be doers of the word? Why should we even care for orphans and widows? We do so because this is what Jesus does. Jesus pursues and provides for people like you and I who cannot provide for themselves and for people who don't deserve it. This is the very definition of grace. When we live out our faith we do so by bringing the invisible presence of Jesus every where we go. We live out our faith before a watching world, stained by sin, that desperately needs the cleansing and healing touch of Jesus Christ.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If anyone believes that he is a Christian, having genuine faith
q and does not bridle his tongue
and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue...angry talk, gossip, lying, slander, careless speech
but deceives his heart,
but deceives himself,
this person’s r religion is worthless.
then this person's claim to be a Christian is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
For , true Christianity or true faith in the eyes of God our Father is this:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
to care for the poor and defenseless members of society...widows and orphans,
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and to keep yourself pure and uncorrupted from everything that the world values.
True faith leads to compassion.
True faith leads to holiness.