THE WEEK OF TRINITY XIV – SATURDAY
LESSON: 1 THESSALONIANS 2:11‒13
As the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26
We prove the genuineness of our love as Christians by works of love. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). James declares, “Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). His meaning clearly is: If your life is so arranged that it is not of service to others, that you are living for yourself alone without any consideration for your neighbor, your faith is certainly nothing. In such a case, you are not doing as Christ has done for you. You do not really believe that Christ has done you any good at all, for if you did, you would be compelled by an inner necessity to do good to your neighbor. This is also what Paul means in the celebrated passage in Corinthians: “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
We do not say all this to suggest that faith is not enough to obtain righteousness for you before God, but because in a Christians life these two, faith and love, must always be attached to each other and never separated. There are presumptuous people who think that they can separate them. They want to believe without loving. They despise their neighbor and still want to have Christ. This is a false and wrong view. So we say: faith is everything and saves, so that a man requires nothing more for his salvation.
But faith is never inactive or lazy. It is always very busy, but it works for the good of the neighbor and not for self. It needs nothing for itself, for it already has all things in Christ. If this is not how faith reacts, there is something wrong with it. Its reaction must be love.
PRAYER: Preserve us, O God, against the error of errors that we are saved by works of righteousness which we ourselves have performed. Keep us ever firm and steadfast in the conviction that we are saved only by God’s grace, through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.