In James chapter 2, we find the author hammering away at what he deems a serious problem in the early church. These Christians aren’t acting any differently than they did before they were saved.
I could almost picture James pulling at his hair while penning the letter. How can you say that you have faith and yet show no difference in your life! This doesn’t make any sense – someone please explain to me what these people are thinking!
I believe it’s out of this frustration, and a deep regard for the true Gospel, that James pens the line he is most known for: “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Now, it is one thing to talk about faith and works. This topic has been addressed by people much smarter than I, in devotions much more detailed than this one. Instead of readdressing the same idea, I want to approach it from a different angle.
How do we think about expectations and actions?
By changing the wording just a little, a whole new world of examples open up to us. We go to work every day because we have the expectation that we will get a paycheck every two weeks. We go to the doctor when we are sick because we expect him or her to know how to make us healthy again. We exercise regularly (or at least we try) because we expect the work to benefit our bodies both now and in the long run.
Expectation produces some sort of action within us.
It’s this idea that will ignite a whole new understanding of what James means. And we’ll discover exactly what that is tomorrow.