Every believer wants to be considered “righteous”. Even though the bible reminds us that our righteousness is like filthy rags before God, we all want to be justified in his sight. In as much as possible, we all want to be “right” before him. Faith is one way we can please God. The bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. But as James tells us, we are not justified, or thought of as righteous, by faith alone. In chapter 2, verse 24 it says:
"You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
James gives examples of Abraham and Rahab to highlight his point. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son out of obedience to God and Rahab put her life on the line to harbor Israelite spies. James says that these acts were credited to them as righteousness. So, if we want to be considered righteous, or credited with righteousness, our faith has to be accompanied by deeds. So, I encourage you to examine your deeds. Does your faith express itself in action? Do you obey with action, love with action, or sacrifice in step with your faith? If not, I challenge you to consider how you can.
James reminds us that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. Believers should be people of action, not just people of prayer. We are not called to stay safely in our comfort zone and hope that other believers will do the heavy lifting by putting themselves in harm’s way, or by giving of their time and resources for the cause of Christ. I believe that God has a plan for every believer, a plan that involves some form of action. And when our faith is accompanied by action it will be credited to us as righteousness. If you don’t know what God’s plan is for your life, if you don’t know what you are being “called” to do, I encourage you to ask God and to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When we are willing, God can use us. And when he uses us, our faith accompanied by action can be credited to us as righteousness.