The book of James is filled with what we must do as Christians. Ironically, that fact that there is nothing we must do to earn eternity is the very unique thing about Christianity. All other religions have a list of what a follower must do but with Christianity, it has already been done, by Christ on the cross.
That fact can cause many Christians to lose site of the fact that we are still called to do things. These things are by no means a way to earn eternity, since that is done by faith alone. But James is very specific that the kind of faith it takes to accept Christ as both your Lord and your Savior… will by nature, produce works.
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
James 2 is divided into two parts. The first section is all about how we treat others, especially in the church. It speaks of showing partiality and uses the division of wealth as an example. Acting one way to the rich and another way to the poor. The same can be said about any thing that divides. Do we act one way to people of our own race and another towards other races? James is pointing out that this is hypocritical and would be the same as if someone keeps one law and breaks another. If you break one you break them all.
The second part of James 2 dives deeper into the concept of faith without works is dead. It’s one thing to claim you have faith but James says “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) If we have the kind of faith it takes to place Jesus where He belongs, that faith WILL result very naturally in a demonstration through the out pouring of works. It is actually impossible not to. Because if you embody the faith in how you live, then it will show. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
If people didn’t know your Sunday routine, where you went to church… and they didn’t know your private time, how much you spend in prayer or in the Word, if you had no bumper sticker about faith and you uttered not a word…. would they know you are a Christian by how you loved and served them?
If no… then you know your challenge for the week. Make sure everyone knows you are a Christian purely by how you love and serve.