Examining what faith looks like.
I recently did a post on Mary vs Martha and the Younger son vs the Older son in the Prodigal story. Showing what true faith and security in Christ look like. What the Christian “identity” looks like. So now here is the result of that identity.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?…So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”
“… Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (Jas. 2:14-26, emphasis mine).
Wow, did you see that “you see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone”!!! What! Why? Simply put:
When the younger son was finally “secure in his identity” welcomed as a beloved son in his Father’s house, not a servant in a stranger’s house, but a son. And when Mary was “content to sit at Jesus feet and listen to His voice”, instead of acting like a fearful servant who was required to work hard for her master. And when, if you recall the story, that Mary Magdalene or another, the one who was so thankful that she had been cleansed that she fell at Jesus feet and washed His feet with her tears, out of “humility and gratitude“, while the Pharisees looked on and Jesus commended her for her faith. ALL THESE: The younger son, Mary, and the other Mary OUT OF A SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE, HUMILITY, AND LOVE….NATURALLY, automatically, due to recognizing how much they were loved, forgiven, and blessed would, and will, faithfully serve Jesus.
The true Christian life is really that simple. Anyone who grudgingly, guiltily, fearfully, is serving Jesus, needs to just go home. The Lord knows our hearts. If our service is not compelled by the Holy Spirit within us, then why are we doing it?? When we KNOW our Father, and when we KNOW we are beloved children of God, it will result in APPROPRIATE works. Why I say “appropriate” is because there are many serving in places and ways that they’re not fit for. They were meant to do something else, which will result from the Holy Spirit within them as they “sit at Jesus feet and listen”
So then, it is true, faith apart from works if dead. And one is justified by faith and works. Not because works saves, of course. But because “works is the natural, automatic, response of a free, beloved, forgiven, grateful, child, in their Father’s house. This I am convinced is how the younger son acted the next day, after the celebration was done. He woke up and went about his business knowing he did not have to impress anyone, or work to be accepted, but just because he wanted to out of love and respect for his dad. Same with both Mary’s. Once they had tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord. Had bathed in His presence. They joyfully served out of….LOVE
Side note: Today, if you are too busy and distracted by daily demands to sit at Jesus feet, everyday, and listen. Then TRUST Him, and give up (as I did) or throw out, put away, change jobs, careers, etc. Because His greatest blessing is for those who will seek first the Kingdom of God and throw out all that hinders His glory. HE WILL HONOR YOUR DECISION. Act by faith, not by sight! Step out of the boat and reach for His hand. HE WILL NOT LET YOU SLIP! Amen