Day 4

Faith Made Complete

from the James reading plan


James 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-10

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: James 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I love that Christian freedom is based on this principle: free, radical grace exists for the undeserving through Jesus. There’s nothing we can do to receive it; there’s nothing we can do to reverse it. Incredible, wonderful, scandalous grace.

That’s why reading James’ words can feel confusing. Is he contradicting grace, saying we’re justified by our works—that without those good works, our faith is as good as dead?

I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with these passages, asking God to open my eyes to what He was saying through these two disciples. On the surface, it seems like they are contradicting one another. Then He reminded me of a breakfast I shared with a friend recently.

I’ve known this friend since I was ten years old. She’s gorgeous, extremely athletic, and was always popular in school. Over the twenty years we’ve known each other, we’ve stayed loosely in touch. Over coffee and eggs, she shared the circumstances of her life—mostly that it hadn’t turned out like she’d planned.

As we talked, I felt God pressing me to speak. It felt strange, so I hesitated, afraid of sounding cheesy or trite. I knew things between us could get awkward. But then I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. So I said it:

“I don’t know why, but I really feel like God wants me to tell you that He loves you.”

I cringed after saying it, wondering if I’d gone too far. But in that moment, something softened. Tears fell down her cheeks. Rather than turning awkward, the entire moment felt sacred.

Hebrews chapter 11 recounts the spiritual giants whose faith in God was counted as righteousness. But that faith wasn’t void of action. A quick perusal of the list and you’ll see it over and over again: verbs.

By faith Abel offered.
By faith Noah built.
By faith Abraham obeyed.

Our God is a God of action. So if you have faith in Him, get ready to move.

This is the beauty of Christianity: our faith in Jesus saves us, and it also frees us from striving to be enough, trying to earn approval, stature, or recognition through what we do. I can do good works without having to worry about measuring the outcome. Faith in Jesus’ final, finished work gives me the security to do good without worrying that I’m doing enough.

This is where it gets crazy. My friend called me a few weeks later to tell me something had radically changed in her heart. From that moment we shared at the breakfast table, she’d felt God in hot pursuit of her. Since then, she’s been spending every morning in His Word, falling in love with Him again.

Is it possible God can use us like that? Is it possible that I’d just experienced a good work He’d prepared for me in advance, one He’d planned for me to do all along? After all, the work isn’t really mine. I’m just His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). I’m an instrument in His hands, playing an essential part in His eternal symphony.

What a gift.

To be saved by grace.
To be invited into God’s work.
To see that, in the end, it’s all His.

 SRT-James-instagram4

Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

Post Comments (110)

110 thoughts on "Faith Made Complete"

  1. Michelle Getz says:

    This passage could not have come to me at a more perfect time. My husband and I are struggling financially and it’s that time of the month for us to send in our tithe. Right now, our future employment is so uncertain and this money could be extremely helpful when it gets tight. Faith to me is letting go of those fears. I know most people take this verse differently but the Spirit is challenging me to FULLY trust in the Lord for all matters of my life. This money doesn’t belong to me and God will take care of us.

  2. Sarah Schumacher says:

    The verse where it talks about wishing someone well who is in need but not actually helping them always hits me hard. So many times I have prayed for a person I was passing by where I actually had the opportunity to help and did nothing. God has been working on my heart over the years to see those people and not ignore them, to pray for them AND bless them physically in their needs.

  3. Michelle says:

    I love the “freedom” that is captured in the Scripture verses and the devotion. Because of what Jesus has done for me… I’m free. Free from striving hard, trying too much, measuring myself against others, worrying about being good enough. Free to do what He calls me to do for Him. Free to give Him all the glory!

  4. Felicity Rose says:

    I could hear God speaking to me through this passage. He was telling me to write letters to my housemates thanking them for all that they’ve done for me and all that they will do for me.

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