The Gospel is often presented as a matter of simple believism: Agree with a certain list of doctrines about Jesus, and you are saved eternally. However, we cannot preach Jesus as Savior without preaching Him as Lord.
Genuine faith denies the self, takes risks, loves others, and continually seeks to please God.
James sums this up early on in his letter: "[F]aith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17). Make no mistake—salvation is by faith alone, but that faith is evidenced by our works. James' words prompt us to ask ourselves, "If Jesus is not the Lord of my life, then is He truly my Savior?" Salvation through Christ is so life-altering that Jesus refers to it as being "born again." If so-called faith does not produce any real change in our lives, perhaps it isn't faith at all.
James goes on to say, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder" (James 2:19). What a convicting Truth! Even Satan agrees with Biblical doctrine—he just doesn't live by it. He knows better than anyone that Jesus is God, that He was raised from the dead, and that He is the only way to eternity, but knowing this does not make Satan a Christian.
So what does saving faith look like? Genuine faith denies the self, takes risks, loves others, and continually seeks to please God. This is not a faith we can muster up ourselves; it is the gift of God, extended freely by His grace. Only when we accept His invitation will we see Him transform our lives.
If you have not yet received the gift of saving faith, will you ask for it today? As you turn to the Lord in faith, you will be filled with a joy that compels you to serve others and love God deeply. If you have received saving faith, but are struggling to experience everyday faith, will you draw near to God today? Ask for His help as you learn to trust, follow, and obey Him daily.
Prayer: Jesus, I want You to be not only my Savior but the Lord of my life. Renew my faith where it has grown stale. Thank You for empowering me to obey You, even when it feels impossible. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27).