May 24, 2024

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

James 2:14-26

What good is it . . . if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

—  James 2:14

Many of us have heard the old saying “Actions speak louder than words.” But this statement is not always true. Sometimes a few careless words spoken in anger or frustration can cause irreparable damage. Like a spark that can set a whole forest on fire, words can be incredibly destructive (James 3:1-12). However, in many cases actions do speak louder than words. This is James’s point when he says that faith without deeds is dead. Faith that does not lead to doing good deeds is useless, says James. A fruit tree that does not produce fruit only takes up space in an orchard. It is cut down and burned, and a new tree is planted in its place (Matthew 7:15-20). Because true faith produces fruit, we are often told that we will be judged according to our deeds. In Revelation 20:12-13 we read that “each person was judged according to what they had done.” Paul makes clear in Ephesians 2:8-10 that we are saved by grace and not by works. Yet James points out that all who are saved by grace will begin to produce good works. That is why in Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says people can be known by their fruit—revealing whether they are citizens of the eternal kingdom of God or citizens of this world, which is passing away.

Help me today, Lord, to examine my life to see if I am producing fruit that shows I am a child of yours. Help me to put off my old sinful nature and to live for your glory alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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