James: Vibrant Faith
Over the centuries followers of Christ have struggled to balance two key issues: grace and Christian living. Some see Paul and James as disagreeing over these two concepts. After all, Paul wrote about grace and James wrote about works. If we are saved by grace and not by works, then Paul and James must be at odds.
True, James does not write about the cross or grace, or mention the word “gospel.” But you do not have to mention those things if you live them. That is what James’ letter is all about – living according to the gospel you believe. James wants to talk to us about faith and action, not grace and salvation. It is not that he opposes the ideas, but that he understands the cost of grace more than most. James was, after all, the half-brother of Jesus Christ. He saw him grow up and knew Jesus in a way that only family can. He saw his brother make clear from childhood that he “had to be about his Father’s business.”
James demands that we back up our faith with action. This is not so we can be saved; it is because we have been saved. It is because we’ve been “bought with a price” and our bodies are not our own. It is because we have decided to “deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus.” In other words, James writes to a people who are already saved; he just wants to challenge believers to respond as if they really believe.
Vibrant Faith has 11 chapters and 96 pages.
About the Author
Chris Goldman serves as the minister of the Cordova Church of Christ in Rancho Cordova, in the Sacramento, California, metropolitan area.
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