24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? - James 2:24-25
It’s interesting that James goes from using Abraham, the father of the Jews, as an example to Rahab, a Gentile prostitute. Abraham is well respected by his audience as a great man of faith, and James chose his most faithful act as an example of his works. It’s an act many of us struggle to imagine committing in our own lives. But then in the next breath, James chooses someone who would typically not be respected by his audience. Not only is she a prostitute, but she is a Gentile as well. Gentiles were not people not related to the Israelites by birth, and discriminated against by the Jews. At the time, there was much debate about whether or not Gentiles were to be allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Rahab had heard about the Israelites and their incredible God, and she believed He would reign over her town of Jericho. When Israelite messengers passed through her town, she took them into her home and hid them to keep them safe at great risk to herself. She wanted to protect them because she knew the God they believed in was mighty and powerful. Just as Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, Rahab’s willingness to hide the Israelites is an example of faith in action.
So why did he choose these two contrasting examples as people who demonstrate their faith by their works - one man so respected, and one woman so disrespected? He chose them to illustrate no matter what your background is, you can live a life pleasing to God. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or the sins you’ve forgiven, God is after your heart today. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been walking with God for decades, or your faith is brand new, God is after your heart today. On whatever capacity you can, demonstrate to God your faithfulness through your actions, and He will bless your faith with strength.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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