James 2:18,19 “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.  You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.”

     It’s not what you say it’s what you do!  That being said we can’t decouple faith and action.  Actions are like railway cars that are pulled along by the engine of faith.  Without the engine the railway cars can only coast downhill.  To climb a mountain –  an engine is required.  To move against a strong wind – an engine is required.  To move forward with a heavy load – an engine is required.  In order to do a good thing – to do something that pleases God – faith is required.  Doing good works for their own sake (or your own sake) are actions of convenience or contrivance or both.  Such good works are only manifest in the short haul never the long haul as they are too tiring!

     Matthew Henry‘s commentary points out; “All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils.”  Faith makes the world a better place.  Faith makes a person a better person.  Faith makes me a better person.

     Faith provides the substance for a person to anchor himself deep into God’s Word.  “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him;  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith.” (Col 2:6,7)  While travelling this temporary road called life we are rooted deeply in the unchanging reality of eternal truth.  In a world where circumstances can transform with confusing speed and a person’s life can ‘turn on a dime’, stability and strength are available through it all.

     What is faith?  It is simply this; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  This simple definition describes the powerful engine that moves every Christian onward against all contrary forces and over any obstacles.  Our good works are powered entirely upon this engine and without it any good work will simply slow to a stop at its lowest point like any object that coasts on its own.

     When my son was at his lowest point living on the streets of Vancouver – eating out of dumpsters and searching for his next fix  –  I was given the strength to hope that Jesus would lift him out of his addiction.  This was contrary to all the evidence before my eyes.  This was contrary to all the evidence that many of my friends and acquaintances saw.  Yet God is always true to His Word.  He delivered my son!  “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” (Psalm 40:2)

     God gave me the strength through faith in Him to love my son and walk in that belief when all the evidence pointed to his death on the streets.  Sometimes the hardest good work is to believe in what appears to be impossible and to carry on in that hope. God’s guarantee is in His promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  (Hebrews 13:5)  How many saints have walked down terrible dark roads on the strength of that promise!

     All this from Jesus.  There can be no doubt about His mission;  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised”.  (Luke 4:18)

     Praise the Lord!

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