The most outstanding thing about Abraham (earlier known as Abram) was that he had faith in God that was tangibly expressed in the way he behaved. For all the things he did say or could have said about his trust in God, the most remarkable testimony was shown in his willingness to trust God implicitly for the fulfillment of the covenant promises God made and later, with the life of his son, Isaac.
Sarah laughed (Genesis 18:12) when she heard the angel say they were going to have a baby because she was already quite old. She would soon realise the truth of this as the baby grew in her womb. But the real test of Abraham’s faith was the proposed sacrifice of Isaac which God stopped at the last moment. Abraham was ready to go through with it, but when asked by the boy where’s the sacrifice, Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” This was more than wishful thinking by Abraham, it was a profound promise that, beyond the animal to be sacrificed that day, he was talking about another lamb who would “take away the sins of the world”.
Abraham was so confident in his faith in the Almighty God he was ready to take the life of his son. He may not have understood the implications or that later, another “only son” would be given as a sacrifice.
James picks this truth to show how we must manifest our faith through acts of obedience (James 2:14-26). It’s not enough to profess faith in God, there needs to be some tangible evidence of that faith for it to be proven true. Deeds that are dishonourable or ungodly do not reflect a true faith in God. Those that bear the fruit of the Spirit certainly are evidence of faith. It is faith that spontaneously motivates the deeds that glorify God.
On the other hand, deeds without faith are hollow. We can do all sorts of “good” in the world, but it is worthless if not motivated by our faith. “Good” people can do “good” deeds, but it won’t save them.
This is confirmed by apostle Paul. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10 ANIV). This resonates with James’ suggestion that just as the body without the spirit is dead, so too faith without works is also dead (James 2:26). Let us demonstrate our love towards each other and our faith in Christ as we seek to minister to each other’s needs. Bless one another with our good works, motivated by faith.
In Christ’s love