What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
We often hear, “Faith without works is dead,” in church, etc., but we usually think of it in terms of us believing God for some petition that we have for ourselves, and then acting on that. We rarely hear/use that bible verse in the context of providing for the needs of others. How often do we pray that God bless the less fortuneate, and then clinch our fists when we pass by the beggar on the corner? Often because we think, “They’ll probably just go buy alcohol.” (What I usually do I buy or give them food, btw.)
Reading it again in James, I wondered, “What if we apply it to evangelism, witnessing or simply speaking to non-believers about Christ?” So often we get squirmish and nervous about speaking to non-believers about Christ because…What if I come off as “that annoying Christian”? What if I stumble over my words? What if they ask me a question I cant answer? These are normal thoughts, but here is where we can apply both our faith and our works. We should have faith in GOD’s ability to SAVE; NOT in our ability to EXPLAIN the mystery of God and his kingdom to the non-believer. Our stretching out and initiating the conversation, or responding to someone’s questions, is the work that reflects our faith in GOD, not in ourselves. It is always God revealing himself that saves the lost (and indeed that saved us), and never how lofty our words are, or any other vehicle. (In Matthew 11:27, Jesus says, “…and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” And he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.)
Our knowledge of the bible and scriptures is great. Our measures to be “relevant.” Our fluency in other languages. Our gospel marketing. These are all wonderful tools, but they are mere vehicles, just like we are. We must remember that we are planters and waterers, and it is God who gives the increase. Therefore, our faith is in him (and not in ourselves) to prick the heart of the hearer. May he that hath an ear, hear. 😉