When Scripture is clear about how we become righteous, why does man think he can or should do something in addition to what God has provided already through Christ? Have you been declared righteous by God?
What kind of faith do you have? Is it a faith that is dead? By that I mean you know all the right lingo, you may even prayed a prayer. But has there been no life change in character or conduct? If so, yours may be a dead faith.
Is your faith like that of the demons who believe in God, but it is not a saving faith. They know there is a God and they tremble. But such belief will never save them.
Is your faith dynamic. Genuine faith will be evident in something tangible that is seen, in something that you do. It isn’t that works will save you. They can’t. The evidence of your faith will be in your works. James says, without works, your faith is empty.
What kind of faith do you have?
What is your view of the resurrection. In our passage today from John 20, we note the responses of Mary Magdalene, the disciples and Thomas. Despair, deliberation, disbelief, they all moved through different responses until they came to the place of delight. How you view the resurrection can determine your eternal destiny. John ends the chapter by noting our faith and future if we believe that Jesus is the Christ. Hallelujah, He is risen.
Throughout Jesus’s ministry there were varying opinions about who He was. Even as He rode into Jerusalem on this day we celebrate as the triumphal entry, there were different views about His identity. They hailed Him as the Son of David, which was a term used for the Messiah, when asked by those in Jerusalem who this man was that seemed to gather a crowd and garner a lot of excitement, the people were told He was a prophet. Yet Scripture is clear and Jesus was certain about Hi identity. We should be as well. There is only one right answer to the question who do men say that He is. He is the Messiah. Are you convinced of that in your own heart?
James has more to say on the topic of favoritism. Setting verse 8 aside for a bit, a look at verses 9-13 show us that favoritism is an abomination. James says it’s a sin and if we commit favoritism, we’re just as guilty of breaking the God’s law as if committing murder or adultery. If favoritism is a sin, what’s the answer? That is found in verse 8 where we are told about the royal law – that is, the need to love others. When we love others as we should, then we will eliminate favoritism. Instead of asking who is my neighbor, the better question to ask is to whom can I be a neighbor. It really has more to do with opportunity than proximity.
James challenges us about favoritism and shows us that there are some flaws. He first examines the flaws, then he explains the flaws. We conclude by considering three was to eradicate the flaws of favoritism. If we dig deep enough, are we will first to admit that we have biases of some kind toward any one person or group of people? If we admit we do, are we then willing to apply the command not to who favoritism or partiality? If we have genuine faith and are willing to be doers of the Word, we will.
James asks us to consider our religion. Is it faulty or faultless? He gives us some ways to figure it out that show our heart. It gives us pause to consider our religion.
Our passage today is a challenge for all believers. Last week we discussed the need to be hearers of the Word of God. Today the challenge for us is to do something with what we hear. We are to be doers of the Word and not just hearers, otherwise we deceive ourselves. This is a call to act on the message of God’s Word. What is God telling you? Is there something in your character that God’s Spirit is moving you to change based on something revealed to you in Scripture? If so, are you just a hearer or are you a doer. My prayer is that you become a doer and not just a hearer.
James addresses two important issues facing Christians: their talk and their walk. The new birth affects these two areas of the believer’s life so that a noticeable difference should be evident to others. How has the new birth affected you those areas?