Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 10 of “Fan or Follower – Finish Strong!” (CLICK HERE).
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
Accounts like this from James 2 and Matthew 25 (yesterday’s lesson) make us nervous and seem to contradict the clear conviction that we have that our salvation rests 100% on the back of Jesus’ perfect life, innocent death and glorious resurrection.
So, when Jesus returns and makes mention of the works of believers or the lack of works of unbelievers is there a component that we must fulfill to earn a spot in heaven.
Let me put it this way.
If you are alive, you will breathe.
If you are alive, your heart will beat.
If you are alive, your brain will function.
If someone seems to not be alive, there will be attempts to see if they are breathing. Someone will try to take the pulse. Monitors will measure brain activity.
Life has evidence.
It would be ridiculous to say that someone is alive when their heart is not beating, their lungs not breathing and their brain not functioning.
If someone would challenge and say, “All you have to do is say you are alive.” Someone might say, “Saying their alive is ok, but I will show life by what the body is doing.”
Perhaps this isn’t a perfect analogy, but the activities of the body indicate that there is life.
So the works of the believer show evidence that faith is alive. Works don’t create the faith. Works give evidence of the faith that God has worked in their hearts.
When a heart of an individual is touched and changed by the love of God, it is only natural for that life to exhibit the love of God in dealings with others.
The Apostle John reflects this in 1 John 4:11-12:
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
What is noticeable in Jesus’ speaking of the last judgment is the believer asks, “When did I see you…?” because the believer is simply living out the love of God, not living to get credits before God.
Living a life of love is simply what ones who have been touched by the love of God do.
And Jesus notices.
Apply: Living a life of love starts with being filled with the love of Jesus. How is your “love tank” from Jesus? How can you ensure that stays full so that it overflows to others?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me. May my love for others always reflect the love you have shown to me. AMEN.