Choose Life: James 2:14 NASB “Getting Off Square One”
“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14
Have you ever played a board game and you keep rolling the dice but can’t get off the first square? You may be able to move a few squares forward but then keep getting sent back by the rules of the game.
Some Christians are living their Christian lives that way. In fact, it’s possible that most Christians are living their Christian lives that way. They are trying to live their Christian lives in their own power, “in the flesh” (cf. Rom. 8:8). If they truly accepted Christ in faith and grace, they can’t move ahead because they are not living in faith and grace.
Colossians 2: 6 says, “as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk in Him.”
Having said all this, we can look at our verse today, James 2:14. The word “saved” is used in three tenses in Scripture: past, present and future (the term “sanctification” is used in a similar way, check out the blog You Look Marvelous!). Here James is saying the same thing that Paul said in Phil. 2:12-13. We are supposed to “work out your own salvation.” He is not saying that we have to clean up our lives or do good deeds to make it into Heaven. That would conflict with too many other clear Scriptures that indicate that we get to Heaven purely through faith in Christ (cf. Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5).
James is using the present tense of save to indicate he is talking about “being saved.” The present tense in Greek is a “continuous” tense that indicates continuous action. He is not saying that we have to be justified moment by moment (cf. Romans 5:1, Christians have already been justified). He is saying that we need to be being sanctified and growing in holiness moment by moment.
We are saved at a point in time and then we are sanctified moment by moment as live out our Christian lives in the power of the Spirit. If someone does not understand that, chances are they are living in the flesh and wearing themselves out.
We are to trust Christ every second of the day and live in grace.
When we do, we will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Are you living in grace or trying to prove your worth to God every day? If you are trying to prove yourself to God, you will wear yourself out. Worse, everything you do to please Him will be done in your own power. Learn to use God’s power to please Him (read blogs for Romans 5-8, July 18-24, beginning here to learn more Keep The Faith).
The only way to get off “Square One” is to act on faith and live in the grace we have already received. It is also helpful to learn more about the spiritual life in Romans 5 – 8 and other Scriptures (read Lewis Sperry Chafer’s He That Is Spiritual or my book on spirituality when it comes out :-)).
Don’t get stuck on square one. Learn how to empower your life through the Holy Spirit. There is probably a lot more for you to learn than you might guess. Start learning!
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Dem Bones