Faith and Works – James 1:1-2:26
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
I hope you’ve found great joy and satisfaction in our 100-day Bible reading campaign! At times, you may have struggled to keep up as the demands of life pressed in on you, but I know that many of you have greatly benefited from spending time reading scripture with your family and “marinating” in the Story of God.
James reiterates a point that I tried to make early on in our journey–that we don’t simply read scripture for information… but for transformation. By reading the Bible in formational ways, our goal is to be shaped by the very character and nature of the God who created us.
In Dr. Peter Kuzmic’s 12 Theses on Kingdom Servanthood, he writes, “Servants of the King refuse to divorce theory and practice (word and deed): there is only one gospel which is both spiritual and social because it is focused on the individual person and the kingdom of God, clearly taught and consistently practiced in the ministry of Jesus.”
Too often, the evangelical church has criticized our brothers and sisters for engaging in a “social gospel,” of good works. And while good works alone are not enough, they are still an integral component of the Gospel message. You were not saved simply in order that you might go to heaven. You were not even saved in order to live a life free from sin. You were saved in order to live out your life as a subject in the Kingdom of God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way, “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”
Let that grace, now like a fetter, bind my yielded heart to Thee.
Let me know Thee in Thy fullness; guide me by Thy mighty hand
Till, transformed, in Thine own image, in Thy presence I shall stand.
– Robert Robinson