Today is my son Drew’s birthday. He turns 28 today. Happy birthday son. From James 2 – what does real, genuine, authentic faith look like?
#3. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOME SOMETHING YOU THINK
For some people, faith is an intellectual trip — a matter to be studied, debated, talked over and discussed. James imagines this type of follower – v. 18 “Someone will say `You have faith, I have deeds'” He’s imagining some intellectual guy who says, “You’re into faith, I’m into works. That’s cool. Different strokes for different folks. Let’s debate it.
You’ve got your thing, I’ve got mine. To each his own way. Stimulate me mentally but don’t ask me to make any commitment.” “Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Notice the phrase “show me”. Real faith is visible. You can see it. It’s apparent. If you claim to be a Christian, people will be able to see it.
James is saying that real faith is visible. How do you know for sure someone knows Christ? James says, “Show me.” If you claim to be a Christian I have a right to ask you to prove it by looking at your lifestyle. Somebody said, “Faith is like calories. You can’t see them but you can sure see the results.” You can’t see faith but you can see the results.
Anybody know the state motto of Missouri? It’s the “Show Me” state. James would have made a good Missourian. James is saying, “You say you’re a Christian? Prove it. Let me see your actions back up your words.” If I say, “I believe my health is very important. Personal health is a high priority in my life. I believe that health is one of the most important things we ought to have.” You say, “Do you eat right?” No. “Do you exercise? Do you get your proper rest? Do you take vitamins? Do you ever go for a check up?” No. It doesn’t matter what I say. What counts are my actions.
Real faith is more than just something you think. You can point it out and see it in people’s lives. We used to sing a song at youth camps – it went like this: “If you’re saved and you know it then your life will surely show it.” That’s what James is saying. Show me. You claim to have real faith. It’s something more than something you say, something you feel, and something you think about. You can prove it. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Any time a person becomes a Christian he becomes a new person inside, the old things have passed away. All things become new.” Not overnight. But they start becoming new.
If you grab onto a 220 volt wire you’re going to know it. I don’t see how somebody as big as God can enter your life and it not change you. James says, flat out, if God doesn’t change you there’s a question whether He’s really in your life. What can I see in my life that proves it? Jimmy Carter in his book “Why Not the Best?” said that “one of the things that was a turning point in his life when somebody asked him the question, `If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?'” That’s a good question. That’s what James is talking about. If you say “I know it!” Show it! How do you know you’re a believer? You’ll see some changes in your life. Real faith always produces change. Real faith is not just something you say. It’s not just something you feel. It’s not just something you think.