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God’s Word for You

James 2:25-26 Rahab’s righteousness

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

25 In the same way, wasn’t even Rahab the prostitute shown to be righteous by her works when she welcomed the spies and sent them off in another direction? 26 For just as the body without breath is dead, so faith without works is dead.

Rahab’s story is told in Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:17-25. The prostitute Rahab happened to own house where two Israelite spies stayed when they were looking over the city of Jericho. When the king of the city wanted to arrest them, she hid them and helped them to escape. She confessed faith in the Lord, “the LORD your God (who) is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). She asked them to have mercy on her and her family, and because of her faith which expressed itself in her actions, her life was saved. In fact, when the book of Joshua was written down, the author was able to say: “and she lives among the Israelites to this day” (Joshua 6:25). What is sometimes overlooked is that this same Rahab was mother or grandmother of Boaz, the man who married Ruth during the early days of the Judges (Matthew 1:5). Therefore, she is in the line of Jesus Christ the Savior, one of several women we’re told about with outstanding faith.

Rahab is a good example of a woman whose life had ups and downs regarding her faith. If we take the text at face value in Joshua 2:1, she was a zonah or prostitute. This corresponds to the word pornē used here by James. How many Christians have a checkered past, full of choices that they doubt, gypsy wanderings that they’re perhaps not very proud of? How many of us share those feelings over choices we’ve made over the cobblestone course of our lives? What God looks at is what we’re doing today with our faith. Paul had Stephen’s blood on his hands. Moses had murdered an Egyptian and buried him in a shallow grave. Matthew had been a tax collector, cheating the people of Jerusalem as a way to make a living. Aaron built an idol for all of Israel while God himself was writing “You shall have no other gods” with his own finger in stone on the mountaintop. Rahab had been a prostitute, but now she was showing her faith in God and putting her trust in God’s promises. That’s what God is seeking from us: Today’s faith, kept up and lived from this moment until life has run its course. As Micah said, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God” (Micah 6:8). There is also a caution that the Holy Spirit gives about our actions: “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obadiah 15; Luke 6:31). But the Christian will remember that today I want to show my faith a little better than I did yesterday. And today I pray that I will appreciate my need for the Savior better than I did yesterday. His blood has covered over every one of my sins, and my faith shows my thanks in the things I do, just as my breath shows that there is life in my body. Here James’ coaching shows its brilliance. If your faith isn’t doing very much, then it’s like a body that isn’t breathing. Jesus lives! Let his life imprint upon yours. Take a deep breath and show how deep is your love for Jesus.

  On my heart imprint your image,
  Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
  That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures
  Have no pow’r to hide your face.
  This the superscription be:
  Jesus crucified for me,
  Is my life, my hope’s foundation,
  And my glory and salvation. (Christian Worship 319)

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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