James 1:1-11

The Testing of Faith

James 1:1-11

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  [James 1:2-4]

Over the past several weeks we have been looking at the topic of Faith from within our study of Hebrews.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Heb 11:1]  That is the biblical description of faith.  Also in Heb 11:6 it says, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Faith is the foundation for a relationship with God.  While living in this world we live and relate to God by faith, not sight.  There will, however, be a day when our faith turns to sight and that will be the day when Jesus returns.  But until then, we continue cultivating a life of faith.  We need to be growing in our faith daily, and that is what so much of the book of James is about. James will challenge us.  It is a book of exhortations.  How does one “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”?  How do you “tame the tongue” [ref. chap. 3]?

James calls us to action.  “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” [James 2:17].  He is not teaching that we are saved by works; rather, that a true faith produces works.  That is an essential message of James.  It would be like saying you’re a car mechanic and never looked under a hood.  It wouldn’t make sense; you would be an enigma.  Unfortunately some professing Christians are enigmas.  But this is a theme in James; if we truly have faith in Jesus we will do the works of Jesus.

We will be receiving challenging exhortations over the next several weeks.  “You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe – and tremble!” [James 2:19]

There is a great difference between belief and faith.  Faith is belief in action.  Action is the key.  “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” [James 2:18, NIV]

My prayer over the coming weeks is that you will be encouraged to action in what you believe, by faith, and not only have the words of faith.  We do need to have words.  Words are powerful.  Words are one part of the equation in communicating the good news of Jesus Christ.  But let us never forget that faith without deeds is a dead.  A vital part in faith is action.