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Faith into action

"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." James 2.18

Philosophers of religion tell us that theistic language - that is, language which speaks about God - expresses more than our faith. Such language reveals our standpoints in life and the convictions by which we life. In other words what we say about God also expresses what we believe about life and what we aspire to do and become in response.

To say that "God is love" is both an assertion about God (and indeed about love) and to commit oneself to living lovingly. Theistic language has a compelling quality to it. One cannot talk dispassionately about the very source of being as if one can take it or leave it. To talk about God is to assert his reality and, once that is done, there is nothing more important or demanding of our whole-hearted response.

The Reformers misunderstood the apostle James' insistence that faith is confirmed by action, in condemning his apparent capitulation to salvation by works. That is not the point James is making. Rather he is stating that the mark of one who have been saved by grace is the transformation of their life, so that it now speaks of the source of that transformation, who is God, and not by mere words but in deeds which impact the world around them.



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