Godly Character – Faith in Action
Our Godly Character is based on faith. Throughout Scripture, we are told that faith produces action. Faith is not dependent on social status, wealth or gender. It is based on a person’s belief in God that is exhibited by actions they are compelled to take based on that belief.
In Joshua 2, we read about Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute and probably an innkeeper in Jericho. As Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land, he sent two spies into Jericho on a reconnaissance mission. The spies arrived at Rahab’s house. She sheltered these two men in her home hiding them from her own people, and sending the Jericho King’s guards off on a wild goose chase. Why would she do this?
She told the spies that “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Joshua 2:9-11 NIV
Because of her belief in God, she assisted the spies and saved her family. God blessed her because of her faith. She is listed as the mother of Boaz in Christ’s Genealogy in Matthew1:5. Her faith is celebrated in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25.
We can take a lot of comfort from the story of Rahab. She was blessed because of her belief which caused her to act for God. God considered her righteous in spite of her profession.
Sometimes we get stymied in our walk with God because we think we are not good enough to act on His behalf. The truth is we will never be good enough. However, God can use us where we are no matter what.
So let us examine our hearts. Do we actually believe that God is the God of heaven above and earth below? Do we believe that God loves us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for us, making us righteous through Him? Do we have faith that God can use us in this moment to make a difference in His Kingdom? Do we actually possess faith that produces works?
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
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?
The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. James 2:14-26 The Message*