Posted on May 7, 2019 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” — James 2:24 (NASB)
Martin Luther wasn’t a fan of The Book of James. He wasn’t a fan of the Book’s of Esther, Hebrews, Jude or Revelation either but they’re still in our modern-day Bibles and are of great significance in our daily walks. So with that said, you can join in the chorus of those who would say that James was written after Paul wrote Romans, and was trying to correct him or that Paul wrote Romans after James wrote his epistle and was trying to correct him but I would suggest looking into the life of an imperfect person who exercised faith when things were gonna get messy. So, if you would, turn into your bibles to Joshua, chapter two.
And while you’re turning there, I would petition you today to think upon this statement…Real faith is imperfect and messy and true. I think the Biblical account of Rahab reflects what I am saying. God’s chosen have arrived to the outskirts of Jericho, two spies are sent to survey the scene and then they hide out in the house of a Gentile, pagan woman who made her living as a prostitute. Not exactly an ideal place for men who, after many lessons learned in The Wilderness, are supposed to keep themselves separate from the rest of the population. But YHVH has told His chosen to take the city and disobedience is not an option.
After a little “white lie” is told to the king of Jericho, Rahab will make a deal with these two spies. “Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:12-13) And just like that, a scarlet cord is all it took to seal the deal. But ya gotta ask…Isn’t this a huge leap of faith?
Rahab coulda set up the coming horde by giving the king of Jericho a heads up, Joshua coulda went back on the deal and would have been right to remind everyone that YHVH was clear with His instruction, “Take the city.” However, none of that happened. In all the chaos of a besieged city Joshua will instruct his men to, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her” (Joshua 6:22b). Guess it’s better to keep a vow than to break it? Why say that? There are three things to kinda get a hold of when it comes to faith.
Faith can be found in some pretty unlikely places. For Rahab it was in the stories that she heard about as the nation of Israel built its reputation through the wilderness as they followed YHVH to the border of what is now the Promised Land.
Faith shows itself in unusual ways. When you read as Rahab tells the spies, “And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:11), she acknowledges to the spies that their God is the God.
Faith receives an unexpected reward. “However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho” (Joshua 6:25). By aiding God’s Chosen, Rahab became justified and was added to the nation of Israel but the real reward comes in this…she is in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther said that the Book of James was “a right strawy epistle” and the statement, “Faith without works is dead” has caused much confusion and controversy over the years. But when you look at the faith of Rahab, when it was gonna get messy she acted outta that faith and did something that “saved” the nation of Israel and her own family. Sometimes you gotta replace that word “saved” with “delivered.” And weren’t you delivered from your mess when you put your faith in Jesus? Hmm….
Can a person believe in Jesus and not have works? Yeah…good luck with that. Everybody will display some sorta works. Why? Because once Jesus lives in you, He will work through you. That can’t be hidden. Are works important? You bet because they will help deliver you from a negative judgment at the Bema when God asks you “Why should I let you in My heaven?” Your answer should be a clear and confident reply…Jesus! Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “James is saying, not that a man is justified before God by his works, but that his claim to faith is shown to be genuine as he demonstrates the evidence of that claim of faith through his works.” — R C Sproul
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.