Living in Europe gives daily opportunities to see some beautifully crafted statues. There are military ones all over the place commemorating great battles in times past. We used to live in the home town of Joan of Arc; Orleans. You could not turn around there without bumping into her! Then there are the religious statues. They are not found only in churches. Some are placed prominently on the roadside or more discreetly in little stone alcoves. There is one just a hundred meters from our house of Jesus on the cross surrounded by weeping women.
Statues, regardless of their beauty are dead. They may be placed in an awe inspiring cathedral. They may have a pious look on their face. They can be in a position of humble prayer. But they are dead.
Our verse for today talks about the nature of authentic living faith. Saving faith is a faith that expresses itself in action. Faith without works is much like that cold dead statue. It can look very religious and pious, but it is not real. True faith is not a noun. It is a verb. It is active and visible to others. Our lives of obedience authenticate our faith to those around us.
James reminds us that faith if not accompanied by works, is not true saving faith. It can also be said that good works without faith does not save either (Matt. 7:22-23). Our salvation is totally unmerited as Ephesians 2:8-9 makes clear. But genuine faith will always express itself. It is its nature to act and breathe and do for others.
Thank you, Lord, that Your gift of salvation makes possible a living working faith!