As we enter into a new year, there’s a question that ought to be up front in everybody’s mind: “How Is My Relationship With God?” At about this time every year people consider how their lives are going. They reflect on what happened to them last year and look ahead to what is realistically appearing for them on the horizon.
A crisis is defined as a critical moment, a decisive point in time, a situation or period of time in which matters are difficult, uncertain, painful, potentially dangerous. Frequently, a crisis calls for decisive action to be taken in order to avoid disaster. Everyone faces a crisis in life from time to time, some more compelling than others. One of the most profound of all crises is a crisis of faith, which can come in different forms.
Our present societal mindset takes a dim view of absolutes. Anyone who is absolutely certain of what constitutes truth and right and wrong, for example, is commonly considered to be narrow minded, bigoted, even radical. Some might also consider him to be mentally unbalanced and possibly dangerous.
Could you imagine trying to live without electricity? Probably, every one of us has had some experience with that prospect, on a limited basis. Storms of various types often down power lines or cause transformers to blow. Sometimes, heavy usage within an electrical grid will lead to a shut-down of the system within that grid. There have been a number of instances of loss of power over extensive areas of the country. While such scenarios cause problems, the resultant loss of power is usually fairly short-lived. Before long, the problem is corrected and power is restored.
In the second chapter of his letter James presents a magnificent treatise on faith. Actually, he defines faith. In so doing, three times he identifies “dead” faith: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (vs. 17). “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (vs. 2:20). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (vs. 2:26). Clearly, James describes faith that is not coupled with works, faith that is not active, as dead faith!
Gary L. Hutchens