Faith Without Works is Dead

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Martin Luther was not a fan of the Letter of St. James mostly for the reason that it sort of took the wind out of the sails of his argument that we did not need works for salvation.  I love the Letter of St. James for many reasons but mostly for the exact reason Luther did not, it requires us to actually have to do something with our faith.  It is simply not enough just to have faith we have to be moved to do something with it or we are doing it wrong.

In response to the question from the young man asking Jesus about salvation, Jesus told him to love God and love neighbor.  We do not love our neighbor by ignoring his situation.  We do not love our neighbor by blaming him for everything.  We do not love our neighbor by not sacrificing the gifts that God has given to us to help him.  I will point out that the last part of that passage, and the one often left out, is “as yourself.”  In  other words, treat others as you want to be treated.  Want people to ignore you?  Ignore them. Want people to step over you if you ever, God forbid, find yourself on the street?  Ignore them.  I will also add that we love God by loving our neighbor the two go hand in hand.

This is not to say that our worship should not be beautiful and edifying but that worship, no matter how beautiful it may be, is empty and worthless unless it send us out to love by loving our neighbor.

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