“Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the alter? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: ’Abraham believed God and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone…. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” James 2:21-24;26
So much discussion has been had over this topic. If we can’t “do good” our way into heaven then why does it matter at all? Why do we have to do the right thing and obey God if our salvation guarantees an eternity in heaven? These verses tell us exactly why. It matters because true faith must have works. If we practice every day to get better at something the fruit of our practice is that we do indeed get better. If we practice following Jesus every day then the fruit will be good works. If we have surrendered our lives to Christ and died to ourselves in order to live for Him, then change happens in our corrupt, broken hearts. Undeniable change happens. We stop making excuses for our sin and start asking for forgiveness. When that change happens we can no longer live the lives we lived before without the Holy Spirit objecting and stirring in our hearts. Sure we still sin, but now we are convicted of our sin and go to God in repentance. So, while we can’t do enough good works to make our way into heaven, we still have to try our hardest to honor God with our actions. Instead of worrying about being good all the time how about we worry about living for Jesus every moment of every day. Remember James 2:26 “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. Good works are a product of our faith in Jesus. James 2:22 says,” You see, his faith and his actions worked together.” Faith and actions working together for God and His kingdom is what it is all about.
Gracious God, please help us to allow our faith and actions to work together for Your glory. Actions can’t get us to heaven, but allow our faith to produce actions so that we may further Your kingdom here. This is not our home, so in the meantime, until we see You face to face, help us to produce good fruit through faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.