A Dead Faith?
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
The Peanuts comic strip once featured a brilliant illustration of faith without works: Charlie Brown and Linus come across Snoopy shivering in the snow. Charlie says, “Snoopy looks kind of cold, doesn't he?” Linus replies, “I’ll say. Maybe we’d better go over and comfort him.” They walk over to the dog, pat his head, and Charlie Brown says, “Be of good cheer, Snoopy.” Linus adds, “Yes, be of good cheer.” In the final frame, the boys are walking away, still bundled up in their winter coats. Snoopy is still shivering, and over his head is a big “?”.
To wish someone well is one thing…but to help them achieve wellness is another. Talk is cheap, and James uses that fact to highlight the realities of a true, saving faith.
Lots of people in America profess to be Christians, but do their actions match their words? Have they had a change of heart? A change in attitude? A change in their way of thinking? A change in their choice of words? A change in the things they choose to do and in the things they choose not to do? A change in how they view themselves, others, and Jesus Christ Himself?
J.C. Ryle has said, “James warns us there is such a thing as a dead faith, a faith which goes no further than the profession of the lips and has no influence on a man’s character. True saving faith is a very different kind of thing. True faith will always show itself by its fruits; it will sanctify, it will work by love, it will overcome the world, it will purify the heart. The only safe evidence that we are one with Christ, and Christ in us, is holy life.”
Is your faith alive…or dead?