James says that faith apart from works is useless. He goes on to use two Old Testament examples of people whose faith was demonstrated by their works: Abraham and Rahab. He begins with Abraham…
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? (James 2:21)
Before you read the rest of this devotional, I encourage you to get your Bible and read two parts of Abraham’s story. As you do, try to figure out which passage records his salvation experience:
(1) Genesis 15:5-6
(2) Genesis 22:1-14
In the first story, Abraham was “saved.” He believed God, putting his faith and trust in God. God declared him to be righteous on the basis of that faith. In the second story, he showed that his “conversion” in Genesis 15 was real.
It was his total faith and trust in God that gave him the courage to obey such a difficult command to offer up his son. Hebrews 11:19 explains that Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. After all, God had promised that He would bless the world through Isaac, so even if God had replaced Isaac with another “miracle” baby born to Abraham and Sarah, it would have made God a liar. God had promised that Isaac’s descendants would become a nation, so Abraham knew that Isaac had to live. (This doesn’t make Abraham’s action any less impressive, because even though he believed his son would live again, he didn’t want to put Isaac through that horrible pain.)
Abraham did not get “saved” by his actions in Genesis 22. His actions proved that his salvation in Genesis 15 was real. God knew that his faith was real in Genesis 15, but the world found out in Genesis 22.
Today’s Good News is that genuine faith leads to obedience, because we can trust what God says.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.