For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Thoughts for Today:I have heard it said, "Saving faith can be distinguished from all other imitations through examining the actions it produces." However, it is very important to understand that action or deeds is not the cause of salvation, but rather the effect. Faith in God's grace is all that is required.
Not long ago, a Christian brother asked me why I spend so much time, energy and money serving God now that I'm retired. He said, "You've worked hard, you've earned a comfortable retirement. Why not just golf and surf every day? In fact, find some new hobbies and enjoy them also!" I read to him James 2:14 and 17: "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? ...Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
I decided a long time ago, that my faith would be demonstrated not just by words, but by what I actually did as an expression of my faith. And the commitment I made back then has continued into my retirement years. Why? It certainly is not because I am forced to. Then why? Because it is a choice and decision I make each day. It is truly amazing what happens when we fully acknowledge God's love for us. It allows us to release His unencumbered love into the world through our deeds. And it changes our perspective from "have to" to "want to".
A God-centered faith will always have actions that conform to the Word of God. However, it is also true that love is what makes faith work. As we realize how much God loves us it will grow our faith to even higher levels which will naturally create in us the desire to share His love with others. I think James’ point (James 2:14-17) is that anyone whose faith is not producing deeds is struggling with faith, and therefore somewhat deficient in their understanding of how much God loves them.
Questions to Ponder:In our passage today, Paul tells us, "The ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." He didn't say one of the things. He said the ONLY thing. How is your faith expressed through love? What are you doing to demonstrate God's love through your actions?