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Friday, March 7, 2008

The letter of Saint James and the word "faith"

We all know the saying "Faith Without Works Is Dead".

But I want to focus on James ussage of the word "faith". We all know that Faith can't be seen. It isn't something we can see. Yet it seems as if James ussage of the words "faith alone" is synonymous with the words "words alone". or "talk alone".

I say this because just before he starts talking about the issue he says:

NKJV
James 2:12-13
"So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the
law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment."




Notice the words "So speak and so do". As well as "Mercy triumphs over judgment". James ussage of the word "Faith" in this context has alot to do with mercy. He makes a distinction between Mercy done by the mouth vs mercy done by the whole man.

Now lets read versus 14 to 17

NKJV
James 2:14-17
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he
has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is
naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in
peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are
needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does
not have works, is dead."



James ussage of the word "faith" in the verses above seem to be synonymous with:

“Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,”.


His ussage of the word works in the verses above seem to be synonymous with:

"but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body,....."



Thus James ussage of the word Faith in the verses above seem to be the "equivalent" of the modern saying "talk is cheap".


And his ussage of the word "works" in the verses above seem to be the "equivalent" of the modern saying "don't talk about it, be about it". Or "show me the action".


verse 18 says

"But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.


I will reinterpret this as ""But someone will say, "You have words, and I have action." Show me your words without action, and I will show you my words by my actions.""


And I will sum it up with verse 24

NKJV
"You see then that a man is justified by works, and not
by faith only."



I will reinterpret this as "You see then that a man is justified by action, and not by words only".



NKJV
Hebrews 11:1 says:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen."




Living faith is not with the tongue alone. Living faith is one with the tongue as well as with the eyes, the ears, the mind, the heart, the hands, and the feet.

It is something that permeates the whole man. Our mind, eyes, ears, hearts, hands and feet must be in agreement with our mouth or else it is dead faith.


In the example that James gave the man with faith is the one that gives to the one in need. Not the one who says nice things to the one in need.

In chapter 3 James goes on to talk about taming the tongue, and how deceptive and hard to control it is.

In chapter 2 the tongue spoke words of faith to the man in need, but it was deceptive because the tongue was lying. It was lying because it did not give to the one in need. The words of faith in that example needed the hands of faith, the heart of faith, and the feet of faith. In order for it to be living.


Faith is a type of loyalty to something or someone else, an orientation, a disposition. A lifestyle......as seen in Romans chapter 4


NKJV
Romans 4:18-22
"who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he
became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your
descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own
body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of
Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but
was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced
that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was
accounted to him for righteousness.”"



Abraham was not weak in faith. I take this to be the equivalent to what James said about "dead faith". Abraham's faith was living because he was loyal to the promise of God. His whole person believed what God said.....his mind, heart, eyes, ears, hands, and feet........and not just his mouth.

When one "believes", it changes the way they walk. It may take time for every body part to be permeated with faith, but when the whole man believes........that is when one has the faith of Abraham......for that is when one is "fully convinced" that what God promised He is able to perform.



JNORM888

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