“Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.” James 2:18
Can we merit salvation? Certainly not!! There is nothing we can do to save ourselves; and that is not what James is saying here. So what is the relationship between faith and deeds? Let’s look at the parable that illustrates this relationship: The parable of the two men who built their houses (Luke 6: 46-49), one on sand and one on rock. The house that was built on rock stood firm through the floods and the storms; the house built on sand collapsed. The man who built his house on the rock was the man who ‘comes to [Jesus] and hears [His] words and puts them into practice.’ On the other hand, the man who built his house on the sand was the man who ‘hears [His] words and does not put them into practice.’ So these two men both hear Jesus’ words, but the question is whether they put them into practice. A hypothetical faith does not stand through much trial. Take instead the consequences of your faith! Live it out as fully as possible, by God’s grace. It’s not only because of the fragility of such a faith without deeds that our faith should be accompanied by deeds. James gives another reason in verse 26: “Faith without deeds is dead.” You are not obeying God (doing good deeds) in order to be saved, but because He has already saved you! Do you truly believe that? Then how can you deny Him everything you are? Deeds are not a condition but a consequence of salvation. How can you call Jesus your Lord and yet live as if He were not? This does not mean, however, that we can go around comparing ourselves to other Christians, seeing who is really ‘saved’ by the way they act. Only God knows the heart, and only God sees everything we do. What we can do is see whether we ourselves have changed, and are still changing, since we handed Jesus the reins of our life. We will not be perfect in this life, but Jesus can start the transformation here that will be only completed when we finally see Him face to face and know Him fully. Let us practice what we believe and exercise a living faith, full of joy because of what the Lord has done for us! He is the one who can transform us.