What is faith in action? Let's first take a look at what James had to say about the matter:
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?|
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14–26)
For many Chalcedon readers and supporters, these verses are very familiar yet they cause so much consternation in the broader Christian body. Why? Because James clearly shows that our faith results in action. Even more so, he says that true faith is not simply believing since "the devils also believe, and tremble.” But in a day of dispensational heresy which proclaims you don't polish brass on a sinking ship running alongside the old Greek dualism which posits that the spiritual is good and the physical is bad (or at least not worthy of your time) these verses are aimed directly at reforming our thinking.
Returning to the passage in James, we should note several points. First, as the law-word of God speaks to all of life so, too, our faith should apply that law to solving real problems (vv. 15–17). These are the kind of "get your hands dirty" type of problems of real life that need to be solved, not some abstract theological concept that can only be understood in ivory towers. Dr. Rushdoony explains this well:
James is not anti-theology; what he is against is the separation of theology from life, the reduction of faith to easy-believism, and the negation of action as the expression of faith. Neither valid faith nor valid works can be separated one from another. How can any man demonstrate a valid faith without works? (R. J. Rushdoony, Hebrews, James and Jude, p. 164)
Second, the "easy-believism" Dr. Rushdoony speaks of is not only rampant today but actually much more damaging since it leads to a false sense and idea of justification. In fact, James, contrary to the belief that we should only speak sweetness, calls such who hold this "vain men.” The Greek here, kenos, means "vain, empty, devoid of truth." Such people that hold to faith without action do not hold the truth and are as deluded as the devils (v. 19). This kind of false theology cannot be resisted through argument but by living out the faith.
Third, we see that our justification is manifested by our works (vs. 21–26). This means that those who are truly justified by Christ's atonement demonstrate their faith by their actions, some by more and some by less, but all according to the grace given by God (Matt. 13:23). The examples given are Abraham, the father of the faithful, and Rahab, the harlot. Everyone wants to be like Abraham and avoid anything like a Rahab, but God makes clear that both demonstrated their justification by their works of faith.
Given all this, what is the mission of the Faith and Action blog? What we endeavor to do here is create a means for Christians to share examples of the application of God's law to everyday life, both big and small. How often have you read a passage in Scripture, understood it, and then thought, "I get it, but what does that look like?” This blog seeks to answer that question but not in a way that says the example given is the only possible application of a particular passage. Submissions to the blog should seek to reference and apply a passage of Scripture in your own life or what you have seen applied in someone else's life. Other readers, then, may see these examples and begin the process of thinking through how that application may look in their own family/life context. None of the submissions need to be of any particular length or written in any scholarly format. Simply share your faith in action for others to learn. By doing so, the Word of the Living God will not return void:
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isa. 55:11