“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected (completed).”
There are different kinds of faith. One popular kind we may call “positive confession” faith. Those who teach this kind of faith often emphasize that man creates his own faith! If he thinks positively and talks positively, anything is possible in the area of wealth, health, success, etc. Seemingly God is not necessary, because man creates his own faith! Another kind of faith is “blind” faith. Once again, this kind of faith has no need of being created by, or given by God. Presumably one just decides what he or she wants, then decides to “have faith” for it! These kinds of faith so readily available in the world are different than Bible faith, the faith that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Besides coming as a gift from God, James in the book that bears his name in chapter two emphasizes that Bible faith results in God-empowered, God-honoring works. He also says that, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Some have suggested this is a contradiction in the Bible, but that cannot stand in the light of a closer look. The verses mentioned earlier in Ephesians 2:8-9 are followed in verse 10 by, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” So Godly works are understood to be the outcome of faith that comes as the gift from God! Then James follows up in James 2:21-22 (see above) by saying that works both correspond to and complete one’s faith. Godly works will correspond to God-given faith, and God-given faith is not complete until it is expressed in Godly works!
James tells us that these truths are exemplified in both the life of Abraham, and the life of Rahab the harlot (v 25, see also Joshua 2:4, 6, 15)). Abraham is the patriarch of those in the family of faith, because “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:6-7) But it is good to know that what is true for the patriarch is also true for the prostitute! There is no hierarchy among the sons and daughters of God by faith! Godly faith is expressed, manifested by Godly works.
After John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned by King Herod (Luke 7:18-22), he sent messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are You the expected One, or do we look for someone else?” Jesus responded by telling the messengers to go back to John and tell him what they had seen and heard. He was restoring sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, cleansing lepers, enabling the deaf to hear, raising the dead and preaching the gospel to the poor! Seemingly Jesus did not directly answer their question, but actually He did so in the surest way possible. The clearest evidence of who Jesus was (Messiah), was what He was doing (the works of Messiah). That is not only true of Jesus. That is true of both you and me. The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing! If you are of God-given faith, you will be engaged in God-honoring works! The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing. Are you part of the Lord’s faith family?