What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So, faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
Reflection: This bible passage seems, at first glance, by Lutherans, to be kind of “common sense.” One would naturally follow-up on their faith in Christ Jesus’ salvation by doing good for others. It seems to be somewhat a central theme to all faiths – help others.
We Lutherans should know that Luther wanted this issue addressed in the Augsburg Confession. Luther says that “our works cannot reconcile us with God or obtain grace for us.” Luther would tell us that we are justified by grace through faith. This is why the thief on the cross was saved – even though he had no time left for good works.
However, most of us do have time left to do good works. Surely there are opportunities for all of us to help others. All of us see where we can help. One doesn’t need to have organized efforts (although that may help) to do good works. Just as one doesn’t need to have some special recognition for these deeds. As we often sing; “They will know we are Christians by our love”
Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to recognize our talents and time to help others in need as part of our love for others.