November 15, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 15 November 2016
Does your family recount stories of previous generations? For example, have you heard the words, “the time your grandfather did that, was quite a story”? If you have children, do you tell them stories regarding your own childhood and youth? James 2 instructs us concerning the importance of having our own stories of vital faith in God.
The lives of Abraham and Rahab demonstrate that one’s deeds confirm the genuineness of faith in God. Abraham is not only the physical progenitor of the Jewish race, but also the church is the spiritual seed of Abraham in the sense that the church experiences salvation through Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham (cf. Rom 11; Gal 3:29). Rahab was a Gentile and was emerging from a life of heathendom (Josh 2:1-24); thereafter, she is listed in the genealogy of Christ (Matt 1:5). Although these two Old Testament examples have quite different backgrounds, both demonstrated genuine faith.
Abraham demonstrated his righteousness by his response to the command of God (Gen 22:1-18). The word “justified” is used differently than in the book of Romans (3:28; 4:2, 5; 5:1) where it describes the righteousness that God credits to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. James, however, used the same word to describe the righteousness that is demonstrated to others when believers obey God. Therefore, the works demonstrate the validity of the faith that produced them.
The person who claims to have faith yet lacks works is the type of individual who only gives intellectual assent to biblical creeds or statements of doctrine. Even demons can affirm the right belief, such as the existence of one God (cf. Deut 6:4-5; Mark 12:29; 1 Cor 8:4-6), and even tremble with such a thought (Matt 8:29; 25:41). The behavior of demons proves that one can believe the correct doctrines of the Bible, yet still possess an ungodly character.
The “faith [of Abraham] was working with his works” (Jas 2:22). The faith of Abraham prompted his obedience. Verse 23 refers to the time in which Abraham believed God, and was graciously declared righteous (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3-5), which was confirmed by his obedience, “and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (Jas 2:23). Abraham’s obedience proved the integrity of his faith (v. 24). Rahab was not an individual with prominence and exemplary character; rather, her past background was one of degradation and insignificance. Nevertheless, she demonstrated her faith in Israel’s God by protecting the Israelites spies who entered the city of Jericho (Josh 2:8-13; Jas 2:25).
God formed the first human being by breathing life into the body (Gen 2:7), and thus the body and the spirit unite to produce a living human being. In death, the spirit returns to God, and the body decays to dust. Just as a body without the spirit is a corpse, so is faith without works (Jas 2:26). Doctrine is not unimportant; however, it is important to understand that genuine belief in revelation of God’s Word demands practical holiness as evidence of such trust. What a wonderful environment in which God has brought you so that you can prove your faith in Him, and thus bring glory to the Lord!
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.