Relevant Religion

Harvey Hoekstra

READ : James 2:14–26

So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (v. 17)

The question of the relationship between faith and works for the Christian is more than a theological argument. The glory of the gospel centers in what God himself has done to save us through the gift of Christ, his beloved Son. What we could not do, God himself has done. It was God’s initiative. It was God’s provision. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Through faith in him, we are redeemed from the power of sin, saved from guilt, forgiven, and given a new life. Who can fathom the depths of the gospel!

All of this is gloriously true. But Jesus reminds us that unless our faith moves us to action it is without value. The faith we hold must make itself relevant to the practical, daily affairs of our lives or it is not true faith. James puts his finger on the social concern that must result from faith and lead to action. It is not enough to merely talk in nice platitudes; the Christian must do things that make a difference for good in the lives of others.

If more of us took James’s message more seriously, it would be more apparent to the uncommitted that Christ and his people are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Does your faith make a difference today? (originally published November 24, 1964)


Lord, help the church make plain that you are the answer to the problems of our day.