v 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.
Many writers feel that the letter of James is a series of sermon notes, and if so, James is a preacher with a sense of humour. Of course, he would quote Abraham as a good example of faith and action – every Hebrew would smile and say ‘I get that’; but Rahab – a Gentile, a woman and a prostitute at that, WHOA there, that’s not so obvious. It was not that Rahab became righteous because she looked after the Hebrew spies, but rather that she believed God and so hid the spies. What she did was evidence that her heart was right, and she wanted God’s way. She was a woman of faith and it is not surprising that she is one of the few women who figure in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5) and her faith statement in Joshua 2:11 is remarkably clear For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. (Well done James – you’re a man for today with gender-balance!)
Faith in Jesus is what unites us with God and makes us members of His family, and actions are the visible evidence that faith is genuine. The two must go together, or as James puts it here His actions made his faith complete.
Do actions speak louder than words? On occasions they might well do, but actions and words must normally go together. An outward profession of faith is part of what it means to be a Christian. Paul puts it like this in Romans 10:9 ‘If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’
In our desire to do the right thing let us not neglect to be upfront in speaking about our faith in Jesus.