[The following blogpost was originally published on 5/22/13.]
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, "Faith alone, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17).
It is spiritually instructive to examine exactly what kinds of actions, according to James, prove that belief is true. James mentions the following:
Obedience to Scripture (1:22-23)
Compassion for the Needy (1:27)
Acts of Compassion (2:15)
Control of the Tongue (3:2-12)
Prayer and Confession (5:13-18)
Notice how the works mentioned above are fairly well unquantifiable. They are certainly obvious in their absence (in other words, if you cuss someone out, commit perjury, or kick a homeless guy in the shins, you know you are not in line with the list), but it is hard to think that anyone could ever check off one of these items and think, "Well, I'm done with that one: now I know that I have endurance or patience and therefore I have a living faith." Instead the items on the above list indicate a character or lifestyle that is indicative of a faithful person.
[The above list was given to me by my friend Nathan White: I think that he may have gotten in from a John MacArthur resource.]
Labels: Bible study