Louder Than Words
James 2:18-20 “18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Verses 18 and 19 are two of my favourite verses in James; they convey such a great truth in a simple yet effective manner.
Verse 18 sets out a great summary of the previous lesson. The verse says “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”. James here gives the picture of a man coming up to another and saying “you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”. Here again we see one person who is all talk and no work. This man says he has faith but with no works to go along with it how can he prove it? Have you ever heard the expression ‘actions speak louder than words’? It amazes me how true this saying is. The other man says that he will show his faith by his works. The first man stands around saying he has faith whereas the second man has no time to stand around saying he has faith, instead he’s out doing what he has been commanded to do and through this his faith is proved. Having faith is believing what the bible teaches. If we believe the bible, then we must also believe that it is our Christian duty to help people and spread the gospel. Thus, if works elude our life then how does this show others that we are believing? And if we cannot show we are believing how can we show we have faith? Always remember that actions speak louder than words. Instead of standing about talking about your faith how about going out and proving it?
Verse 19 is another cracking verse that cuts straight to the heart. The verse says “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Talk about a complacency buster! Some people put faith as just knowledge of God. They think that because they know there is a God that they instantly have a faith. They couldn’t be further from the truth though. For one we’ve already seen that you cannot have faith without works, the second thing we see is that knowledge of God is not enough. The verse starts out “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well”. The verse is saying ‘you believe there’s one God, good job!’ in my mind this has a slightly sarcastic/humorous tinge to it, especially when the rest is taken into consideration. The rest of the verse says “the devils also believe, and tremble.” The verse says ‘you believe there’s one God, good job: the devils believe that too, and tremble.’ Not only do the devils believe that there is one God, they tremble! They show more reverence and faith that some believers do! If this doesn’t spur a change then nothing will. Verse 20 gives further emphasis.
Verse 20 says “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” continuing on from the point in verse 19 James continues with a ‘but’. The word but in Greek is de which is translated to mean now. So James is saying ‘now will you know’. James, having made his point, is asking them if they will change. The verse continues “O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” he starts out by saying “O vain man”. The word ‘vain’ is the Greek word kenos which is translated empty. James is emphasising on their empty faith. Therefore the verse is saying ‘now will you know, O empty man, that faith without works is dead’. James is hoping that his message had finally hit home. He makes the point again that faith without works is dead. An inactive faith is an ineffective faith; an inactive faith is an empty faith and an inactive faith is a false faith.
Today assess your own heart. Are you the Christian who stands around saying you faith, but not doing anything to show it? Do you claim to have faith because you know there is one God? If you are one of those people today take heed of what verse 19 says. Know that the devils believe there is a God, but this knowledge does not prove a saving faith.do you know today that a faith without works is dead? Is your faith living today? Is it growing stronger and stronger each day the more you work for God. Are your actions speaking louder than words? – Andrew.
Posted on September 22, 2012, in Andrew's Thoughts for the Day and tagged Bible, Christian, christian youth, Christianity, Faith, God, Good works, James, Jesus, Lord, Religion and Spirituality, Youth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.