Meditation Commentary on James 2:17-21
17Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! 20But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the alter?
In the first verse of this passage, we have two people: The first person says that if they simply believe in God, while living a life for themselves, they will have an insured ticket to heaven. The second person says that they must constantly strive to please God by doing good things, and once they have accomplished enough for Him, and have been good enough on their own, they can hope for a home in heaven. According to the Bible, both of these people are wrong. If you have faith in Christ, and He is Lord of your life, works will naturally flow from your life as a result.
Verse 19 really stands out, because it speaks of an issue that is so relevant today. Many people that we encounter on a daily basis, if asked the question, “Do you believe in God?” will say, “Yes.” It is easy to stop at that point and not continue in asking, “What have you done about it?” What a wonderful opportunity this can bring about to share the love of Christ with others! This verse also reminds us of God’s majesty and greatness when it says “the demons believe – and tremble!” We, as Christians, should also tremble in the presence of the Lord almighty!
My father is a perfect example of someone who truly loves his children. Over the years, he has constantly told us children how much he loves us, and demonstrates his love on a regular basis through his words and actions. On multiple occasions, he has communicated how, as a father, it would be incredibly devastating and heart-breaking to lose a child. I can imagine that Abraham’s love for his son Isaac was no different. God obviously knew that Isaac was Abraham’s most cherished possession when He asked him to sacrifice his son. Oh, how Abraham demonstrated his faith and love for the Lord when he was obedient to His command!
As we have seen in these verses, we should be doing things for the Lord to demonstrate our love for Him. If we are truly converted children of the most High; “works,” or “fruit” will flow freely from our lives as a natural result of our salvation and evidence of our love for the Lord.