January 22

Changed By The Power Of God

“As the body without the Spirit is dead, so Faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

Jesus taught that a person cannot see God’s kingdom unless they are changed by the power of God and “born again.” This happens when the Holy Spirit enters your body, causing your spirit to come alive. This is the grace of God, who grants you faith to believe in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. But you also have a part to play in this divine encounter. You must first hear the gospel, believe its message and respond to it. When you believe that Jesus Christ is God the Word and the only Savior of mankind, you must confess that belief, confess your sins, and ask Jesus to forgive you and become your Lord and Savior. When you do, the Holy Spirit enters and begins transforming you to become like Jesus!

As you begin reading God’s word, the Bible, you realize it’s the truth your soul has been yearning for. And the deeper you go, the greater your love becomes for God, Jesus and His teachings. This is the work of the Holy Spirit within you! Then as you obey God’s word, you become a different person as the Holy Spirit produces His gifts and fruits in your life. And before long, others will see and acknowledge that you have been changed by the power of God, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus! 

This is what James is talking about in our subject scripture—displaying the evidence that you are who you claim to be— a transformed child of God! Using the analogy of a body and spirit, he illustrates how essential the marriage of faith and good works is for salvation. It’s easy to claim you’re a Christian but James is saying, “show me the proof—what are your good works?” According to the apostle Paul, we are saved by grace through faith, to do good works (Ephesians 2: 8-10). And Jesus said that those who don’t produce good fruit (works) the Father will cut off from the Vine! (John 15:6). He also taught that we cannot simply be “hearers,” we must also be doers of His teachings! (Matt. 7:24-27)

So, Jesus, James and Paul agree on this doctrine, although some people think Paul taught that works is antithetical to grace. However, a careful study of Paul’s teachings reveals that he was very much in alignment with Jesus and James that grace and faith, given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, are vital for salvation that produces good fruit in our lives. But as Peter said, Paul’s teachings can be hard for certain people to understand! (2 Peter 3:15-16)

Prayer for today: Lord Jesus, please help us believe and obey Your teachings, and not be misled by doctrines of men that distort the truth. Help us to walk in the Spirit and produce good fruit! Amen.

Personal Prayer: “Lord, I want to please You! What do You want me to do to help make the dreams of our church come true?”