Are you a person of faith or works?
"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20 NKJV)
I have often been baffled by this scripture.
I would ask "but now that I am found in Jesus, by his grace, I am free from 'works' correct?"
I have worked out that there is a difference between working for your own right standing with God and acting out works because of your right standing (faith) in and with God.
A while back, God said to me 'what you believe directs every one of your decisions.'
Here it is; what you believe makes your decisions and decisions lead to actions. Believer or not.
I recently had some trouble and friction with my bosses at work. Which happened because I believed they were treating people poorly. It made me unsettled and my friend noticed. As he was asking me what was wrong, I heard God say 'I AM for you'. My whole attitude changed. As I walked out of the office, I said to my friend 'My God is for me Robert (not his real name)! You watch this work out in my favour.' He called me five minutes later and asked about God. I got to tell him the gospel and pray for him after work. Over the next few days I came to work confident in God and his ability to do what was right for me, whether I lost my job or not. So everyone of my next decisions was based on what I believed was right and my faith in Gods ability to do what he said He would do. I believed what God promises and my actions displayed that. My works from faith. The outcome? I got a pay rise (as did most people) and I still have my job. Praise God. My friend said to me after; 'How did you do that?' My response was 'I believed God and acted accordingly.' Faith + works. This is what James is talking about, this is what justifies you as a child of God and His righteousness.
"Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?" (James 2:21-24)
So what do you believe? Are your actions displaying the justification that you have found in Jesus and truly displaying your right standing with God?