James 2:21-23: “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? Abraham’s faith and actions were working together; his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”
Dynamic faith is when intellect, emotion, and will are all operating together. Combining faith and works leads to growth.
In verse 22, the word “complete” means to bring to maturity. In other words, a full-grown faith works. This includes development because faith is nourished and strengthened by actions.
James provides two examples: Abraham and Rahab. Both of them demonstrated how the right action proceeds from correct belief. The two couldn’t be more different. Abraham was Jewish, the patriarch of the Jewish faith, a significant figure in the OT; Rahab was a gentile, a prostitute, and a minor character in the OT (she is in the genealogy of Christ though… as the mother of Boaz, the husband of Ruth)
Today, we learn about Abraham.
Both Paul and James reference Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
“Credited” is an accounting term which means it is “reckoned as an asset in the account.” Abraham was counted as righteous before Abraham could “do” anything for God other than believe him. James references the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19), which occurred years later. He does this to demonstrate that vibrant faith, dynamic faith, involves action. He didn’t just understand who God was, but believed and obeyed.
Some questions to consider:
-Is your faith operative?
-If the test of your profession of faith is your action, how are you doing?
-What does it mean to be a friend of God’s (v. 23)?