Speaker: Jerry Cisar
What kind of faith will save us from that wrath to come? Can a faith that doesn’t have corresponding deeds of mercy? Can a faith that professes orthodoxy but doesn’t show itself in corresponding actions? James is concerned that some think they have saving faith when in fact they are self-deceived. James is certain that faith saves, but not every kind of faith. Not everything that glitters is gold, and not everything professing to be faith is saving faith!
This Sunday we arrive at a section of James that is the most controversial section of his letter. On first read, if we are already familiar with Paul’s letters, James appears to contradict Paul. I am confident that this controversy between James and Paul is a fiction created by our modern concerns, not concerns present when it was written. However, to solve that problem will only solve a modern problem.
It is important to do that, so that we can then hear James’ message clearly. But we must hear his message and not simply satisfy our theological concerns. Not only must we hear his message, we must apply it so that we are not self-deceived—hearing but not doing it.
Genuine faith, real faith, given the opportunity, will produce works consistent with that faith. Any faith that does not, is not the kind of faith that can save from the coming wrath!