Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Prostitute does the Right Thing





Scripture

In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
(James 2:25 NASB)
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
(James 2:26 NASB)

Observation

James is concerned that we understand that there is a connection between faith and works. The statement regarding Rahab the harlot, or prostitute is a little tough. How was she justified by works? Aren't we supposed to be justified by faith? Wasn't that what the whole reformation was about? How could this woman have been justified by her works? In reality I believe that it was her works which revealed the state of her faith. She had, in faith, believed that the messengers were true men of God and that they were the "right" team. By taking care of them, and saving their lives, her "works" revealed her "faith." Therefore we can read that Rahab was justified by works.

Application

Now there is a tough part in this lesson about Rahab. I remember one evening having a Bible Study in church and those on the leadership team really struggled with Rahab. The way that she saved God's messengers was by lying to her leaders. So, how can we read that she was justified by right works when those works included lying? She is immortalized in the word for all of eternity as one who was found faithful!

It would be so much tidier if everything were simple and so black and white! However, there are times when life is not that simple and the decisions we have to make are not clear cut. There are times when we have to seek the face of God and go with our gut -- and suffer the consequences. I think of the Ten Boom family who hid Jewish people in a small room built into their wall, so that they could save their lives. The Ten Booms themselves ended up in a prison camp, punished for what they had done. But it was the right thing! There are times when the law of God rises up above the things that are happening in the world around us. What will we do?

The past few weeks there has been turmoil in Russia. There has been great corruption in the elections. Just today someone sent me a YouTube link which was a German site joking about the elections. They rather sarcastically reported that 93% of Hospital #3 had voted in favor of the current government, and 100% of Cemetery #10 had also voted in favor.

A friend of mine in Moscow posted this quote from Martin Niemöller on her facebook site last week:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Thousands of years ago a prostitute did the right thing and it was credited to her as faith. When the moment of crisis comes in our lives, may God give us the strength to stand up and do the right thing.

Prayer

Lord, when faced with challenges which we may not truly comprehend, may we always seek You, Your face, Your wisdom and Your leading. Amen.

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