Daily Readings & Thought for December 8th. “FAITH BY ITSELF … IS DEAD”

Today’s readings.. (Job 10), (Micah 6), (James 2)

The Epistle of James is particularly remembered for its message about faith.  Faith is a vital factor in our salvation, but the genuineness of our faith is shown in what it causes us to do. James writes, “If you really fulfil the royal law according to scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing well.” [2 v.8]  

It surprises some to realize that this “royal law” is not one of the ten commandments, yet when Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Teacher which is the great commandment in the Law? … he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And the second is like it:  You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets.” [Matt. 22 v.36-40] 

Do you realize when Moses wrote this commandment? Jesus was quoting from Leviticus 19 v.18; it was one they only applied when it suited them!  Recall the parable of the Good Samaritan that he told to answer the question, “Who is my neighbour?’ 

So James presses home the point, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”[v.14-17]

In verse 12 James told his readers to “act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty” – what did he mean?  He had already made the point in Ch.1 v.25 that “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing”   

The point is, they have been liberated, given freedom, from keeping the letter of the Mosaic Law – they now had to keep “the perfect law” that Jesus had spelt out in answering the lawyer. The chapter concludes with examples from the lives of Abraham and Rahab who showed their faith by what they did.   The last verse makes the point, “For as the body apart from the spirit (breath) is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

A small group of young Christadelphian brothers have taken the time to produce this valuable resource for the brotherhood and beyond, they are using the Bible reading planner developed by Brother Robert Roberts called The Bible Companion. The Bible Companion (or Bible Reading Planner) is a guide developed by the Christadelphians to aid reading the Bible. It was first produced by Robert Roberts when he was just 14 years of age, in about 1853, and revised by him over a number of years into its current format. Most Christadelphians use this plan each day and it was designed to help you read the old testament once and the new testament twice each year. These readings which we feature are recorded using the KJV or the NKJV of the Bible and we hope will be helpful to those who may struggle with time or who have poor eyesight.

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* Click verse text to see cross references.
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