What do you have faith in?
Something to think about
Justification by faith was a central tenet of Paul’s writing (Romans 5:1, for example). The close paraphrasing of this in the letter of James suggests that the author was familiar with this teaching.
Some hold that this was a response to a distortion of Paul’s teaching, speaking to those who saw their faith as precluding a commitment to human need. Faith and works are not seen here as distinct things. Our faith is incomplete, it is suggested, unless it is underpinned by works.
And the author is absolutely clear about what works our faith needs. It is attending to physical needs, feeding and clothing our brother and sister. If we do not do this, our faith is hollow.
If we talk of our faith, we might stop to ask what our faith is in.
Because if the narrative of the people of God means anything to us at all, we cannot ignore the teaching of the Old Testament prophets, and the mission and ministry of Jesus, who proclaims himself to be the fulfilment of this prophecy, the anointed one who will preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind.
If we have faith in this figure, his proclamation of good news to the poor must surely be an integral part of our faith.