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Real Faith Gets Active

James 2:25-26
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (NIVUK)

The Bible can make 'good people' feel uncomfortable, because it identifies some quite bad people who trust God and receive His blessing instead of His curse. Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, but, despite her immoral lifestyle, she believed what God was going to do. Because she believed, she also acted to protect the spies who had been sent by Joshua and did not hand them over to the local officials. She risked her life to do that, but her actions demonstrated that she really did believe what God had said to her (you can read the whole story in Joshua 2:1-20, 6:15, 6:22-23).

James summarised her story by saying that God considered her to be righteous. She was included in the covenant community of Israel and became a direct ancestor of King David and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rahab was also commended by the writer of the letter to the Hebrews as an example of a person who believed God's Word in a practical way (Hebrews 11:31). What she did, proved her faith.

We do not need a perfect track record of pure living and religious observance to find faith in God - otherwise none of us would have any hope for we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). But Romans 5:8-9 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!" That is why Jesus invited despised tax collectors, unclean lepers, foreign women and prostitutes to put their faith in Him (Matthew 9:10-13). Because faith is a whole-person encounter with Jesus, their actions showed that they believed. Anybody, however immoral or criminal, can trust Jesus and find that they are not only welcomed but also forgiven and cleansed (Luke 23:43).

Although we may not like to be conspicuous as a Christian in the workplace, there will be times when we will either stand up for Jesus, or deny the faith we hold. Sometimes we cannot stay anonymous; the circumstances may demand that you must speak or act so that you are clearly identified with Jesus and Biblical truth – or deny the faith you claim to have. By identifying with Jesus, you may have to risk your reputation, promotion or even your job. But the Bible says, "Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained" (1 Samuel 2:30). So, whenever the Lord allows the test to come - be ready to stand up for Jesus, whatever the cost ... because He will honour you in due time! Real faith will show itself to have arms and legs as well as a heart and a mouth: the Lord will use your life to challenge others to put their trust in Jesus too.

Dear Lord. Thank You that Rahab had the courage to do what was right because she believed what was true. Forgive me for the times I have known the truth but failed to identify myself with Jesus. Please make me willing and able to show that I do believe in You, even when I risk the disapproval of others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams