As Christians, many of us struggle to balance faith with works. Sometimes we lean too far in the direction of legalism and forget that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Sometimes we lean too far the other direction assuming grace will cover us while we live in sin (Romans 6:1-2).
James understood that faith and actions (works) go hand in hand. Either one without the other is worthless. Have you read through the book of James? He has a lot to say about faith and what faith looks like in action. If you think about it, that is not surprising. After all, as Jesus’ little brother, he grew up watching Jesus live out a life of perfect faith.
Jesus was known for His miraculous good deeds. But He made it clear to His disciples that He did nothing on His own initiative or in His own power, saying, “the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10-12). Time and again, Jesus acted on faith, responding in obedience to the Father.
We know from the Scriptures that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21) and Paul assures us that, “…whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) Thus we can conclude that Jesus never acted contrary to faith, as well as that Jesus’ faith was not passive. It’s no wonder His little brother James said, “…prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22)
Do yourself a favor. If you want to understand what it means to put your faith into action, sit down and read through the book of James keeping the picture in your mind of a boy growing up watching His big brother Jesus live out a life of faith day by day by day.