We opened up our time together by singing "It Is Well with My Soul" (#407).
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
As a group, we spent a few minutes reading through, reciting, and discussing small portions of James 2:19-23.
- We can be the kind of people that are unwilling to recognize that faith without works is dead.
- There is a real tendency and desire to bifurcate faith and good works. This can be a real struggle for God's people. Are we really willing to recognize the fact that faith without works is useless?
- Genuine saving faith is demonstrated in an ongoing manner with good works. The faith that we have in Christ is meant to produce consistent obedience in our lives.
- James brings up the example of Abraham. Cross reference texts are found in Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. Through Abraham's example, we see that faith is always accompanied with obedience and a proving out of the faith.
- Genesis 15 - The Lord told Abraham that he would be a blessing to the world by making him a father of many nations. Although he was old and had no children, Abraham believed in the Lord that what He said would come to pass, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
- Genesis 22 - Abraham (almost) sacrifices Isaac in obedience to the Lord, and the Lord blesses Abraham because he obeyed His voice.
- When we have the knowledge of the Word of God, we are often faced with opportunities and situations in our lives that test our faith and whether we will obey what we know and have been told. Some examples of how we can be tested in our faith today:
- Loving others as ourselves vs. loving the self only
- Obeying parents vs. obeying the Lord
- Considering the example of Abraham, he chose to obey and love the Lord above the safety and even the life of his own child. Although we are not also called to sacrifice our own children, we can be challenged to consider our own priorities and relationships in our pursuit of an obedient life. We should remember that our command is to love God first and worship Him alone, and so we ought to consider the costs of our discipleship and our willingness to let everything go in obedience and love for the Lord and His commands if and when it is called for (see Matthew 10:32-39, Luke 14:25-33).
Preview of James 2:24-26
- Man is justified by works and not by faith alone. Taken out of context, this text might lead someone to conclude that faith and works can be separated. However, they are not separated, but they are two sides of the same coin that operate together.
- For example, Rahab exhibited a working faith, as we can observe from the account in Joshua 2. She did not have the revelation of God, but she exercised faith in the best way she knew how from what she knew about God. She demonstrated her faith by her works. She didn't just take her knowledge, but took action to side with God and His people. She demonstrated her faith in God and her commitment to take action according to her faith.