James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
God is not the author of confusion. The devil tries to bring confusion into the Word of God. Those who are saved and take God at His Word will gain understanding as they faithfully study and follow God’s Word.
In verse 24 James states that the saved person will see what place works has in the life of a believer. There will be no confusion. It is those who do not want to believe the truth that will have difficulty with God’s Word. The Holy Spirit indwells every true believer.
II Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
James made it clear that faith must be accompanied by works to be genuine. Of course God is the Author of all of the Bible and thus this is not just James’ words. There is no contradiction between what James wrote or what any other inspired writer of Scripture wrote.
In verse 25, God gave us another illustration. Rahab has a unique history. She was not even from the nation of Israel. She was from the city of Jericho, a city that was going to be judged and destroyed by God. However, Rahab was different. She did not have a good reputation. We learn here that any person can be forgiven and converted. We have already noted that God is no respecter of persons.
Rahab was the woman that received the spies that Joshua sent ahead to check out the situation at Jericho. The spies were seen, but Rahab took them in and hid them. She counselled them as to how to get out of the city safely. She also asked for God’s mercy for her and her family. She knew that Jericho was soon going to fall to the nation of Israel under God’s direction.
As already mentioned, Rahab was not the most reputable person in Jericho. They were all wicked people ripe for God’s judgment. Rahab knew she was in trouble with the LORD. She wanted to be forgiven. She wanted to be saved physically but she also wanted to be saved spiritually.
The spies made a deal with her. They told her that the LORD would spare her life if she would have the scarlet cord hanging out of her window and if she and her family would remain in that house when the nation of Israel came to take the city.
The normal response to an attack would be to try to find a place to hide. Her house was on the wall. She was a “sitting duck”. However, she did as the spies said she should do. Her family was there with her and when the walls of Jericho came down, she and her household were spared. She had spoken of faith in the LORD, but she backed up that faith with the appropriate actions. She did not decide what her response would be. She was told what she needed to do and that is what she did.
In verse 25 we read that she let the spies go out by another way. They came in through her door, but they left through her window and over the wall. She did what she could to help them escape and she was rewarded for her faith in the LORD.
God never expects the impossible from us. It may seem impossible to us, but it is never impossible to Him. He uses what we have and He can use that for His glory.
In verse 26 James closes this chapter with the reminder again that even as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.
When God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, all He had was a model of a human being. The Bible tells us that God breathed into Adam the breath of life and man became a living soul. Ephesians 2 tells us that we are born dead in trespasses and sins. We are physically alive, but spiritually dead. God must intervene and it is through the Holy Spirit’s work in the lost sinner’s heart, that the sinner is brought to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves the lost sinner. At the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit dwells within that person. The saved person is made alive by the work of God in their heart.
James was directed by God to help the brethren to understand that there were those among them who were not truly saved. They talked a good talk, but they did not live a good life. There are people today who know enough theology to hang themselves. They do not put it into practice because they are not saved and thus they cannot do what God says a true saint must do.
Again we are reminded of how important it is to submit to God’s truth. The arrogance of man causes him to argue with the God Who created all things. That is an extremely foolish thing to do but it is quite common among us as people. Pride is a big problem and it is sin. We do not need to have some doctoral degree to understand the Bible. We need to be saved and submitted to the will and Word of God. James tells us that if we are saved, there will be Biblical evidence of that fact. The evidence will be in accordance with what is written in the Bible. God is not adding to His Word today. It is completed. He said so. Thus we do not need to accept man’s experiences. We need to believe what God says and we need to encourage others to do the same.
Today is the Lord’s Day. It is the day to go to a good Bible-believing church where you can be taught the truth. It is the place where you can fellowship with other saints, if you are saved. If you are not saved, you should still be going to a good Bible-believing church. You should go there to listen to the Word of God and get saved. Listen to the Word of God and be saved according to what God’s Word says, not according to what feels good to you. Don’t be foolish and waste your time insisting on your own way. Your way will not work when you stand before the Lord. What you choose to believe today will determine where you will spend eternity. Choose wisely.