Faith Working Through Love

The climax of Paul’s next argument in chapter 5 is verse 6: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

Think about the words, “faith working through love.” What kind of faith is this?

I am happy that Bible scholars no longer classify Paul and James as theological enemies. For a while, scholars saw James as a proponent of works righteousness and Paul as a grace-only preacher.

Actually, Paul and James are very close. They communicate differently but share a belief that faith should be evident in human behavior.

James could easily have joined Paul in calling for “faith working through love.”

James 2.8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well.

Paul and James are in agreement about the attempt to live in a right relationship with God through the observance of the law.

Galatians 5.3Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law.

James 2.10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

Paul summarized what counts in our religious experience as “faith working through love.”

James describes loving actions that demonstrate our faith.

James 2.14-17What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Surely that faith cannot save, can it?

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food and one of you says to them,

“Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Don’t talk about it; be about it.

Both Paul and James would agree with Maywood’s slogan, “Don’t talk about it; be about it.”

Issues of cultural identity such as circumcision fade in the light of people who live a Jesus-kind-of-life.

Faith that produces loving attitudes and actions is evidence of how Jesus transforms humans.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I have produced a video on this passage. It can be seen on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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