11/30 James 2:26

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

What does it mean to be a Christian? We might simply answer that it is to be a believer in Jesus. But that definition is woefully inadequate. Most of those who call themselves Christians don't believe Jesus died for their sins. They don't believe Jesus' death accomplished anything. They aren't even sure if Jesus was divine by any means.

Even if we were to expand the meaning to include faith in Jesus' sacrifice for us, we would still find many who do not meet this standard set by James. He is telling us that real faith will result in a transformed life, and he gives a couple of examples in this chapter to back up his statement. One is the father of the Jewish people and the other a gentile harlot whose story is told in the Old Testament (see James 2:21-25). In both cases their faith in God resulted in actions that demonstrated their faith.

If your spirit left your body, your body would be dead. In the same way, if faith does not result in words and actions that demonstrate that faith, it means the person's faith is dead. Real faith will affect what you say and do today. Is your faith a real and living faith? Communion with Jesus in prayer and regular consumption of God's Word are essential to a living faith. Out of these essentials flow the actions that show your faith to be alive and well.

Consider: If someone were to try to convict you of being a Christian in a court of law, would a jury decide you were guilty? Would there be enough evidence to convict you? If not, get serious about the essentials of living faith. Talk to Jesus about it right now.