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Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The Book of

James

Chapter 2:25 & 26

Rahab the Harlot

 

 

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

God doesn’t give up on people. Even the most undeserving sinner, time after time, finds grace in the arms of God. Rahab was such a person.  She was considered a low-life, a “woman of the night” in the city of Jericho, just before Joshua and his invading army of Israelites, conquered the city (Joshua 2:8-13).

 

In this verse, she is highlighted as an example of a person who exhibited her deep trust and faith in God by her actions - her works.

 

Many might think of Rahab as an immoral woman who used manipulation to escape the inevitable fate of the city. Josephus and other Biblical scholars describe her as an innkeeper; a smart business woman who used keen negotiating skills to secure her safety. Regardless of her profession, or her intentions, one fact remains: Rahab was a woman of incredible humility and faith. And they were the keys to her redemption.

 

Men who traveled through the city would find accommodations at Rahab's home. And people talked. Rahab had heard many stories about the God of Israel over the years. She knew about the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of the Egyptian army. It had been more than 40 years since God had led Israel out of Egypt, but the fear of the people was still fresh. Rahab also knew of the fates of King Sihon and King Og. All of Jericho was terrified of the Israelites and what they had done to those two kings and their nations on the other side of the Jordan River.

 

Rahab was perceptive. She was also a good listener, and yet, her listening went deeper than her head. She heard with her heart what people had said about this God. And Rahab understood that He was like no other god in history.

 

Rahab knew that the Israelites would soon cross the river to take over Jericho. But before the Israelites had even stepped foot in the Jordan, she had made her decision. In her heart, Rahab believed that God had the power to show mercy. And for that mercy, she was willing to betray the entire city in order to spare not only her own life, but the lives of her entire family.

 

Rahab saw two strangers from her window and quickly realized they were not of her people, and that they were in danger. She invited them into her home, which doubled as her place of business. When Rahab realized who they were, she hid them to protect them from the soldiers. In return, the men promised to save her household when the battle of Jericho ensued.

 

When the battle began, Rahab hung the scarlet cord from her window as the spies had instructed her to do -- the indication that her home was to be spared. With nothing but time between her circumstances and her freedom, Rahab had to trust that the spies would do as they promised. Rahab had to trust that God, despite her pagan, Canaanite heritage, would look upon her with favor.

 

Rahab was sure that if God had the power to lay waste the entire Egyptian empire in order to rescue His people from their bondage, certainly He had the power to uphold her section of the wall of Jericho long enough to rescue her family from destruction. By hanging the scarlet cord, Rahab declared her trust in the oath of two Hebrew spies, and sealed her deliverance from certain death.

 

With her acts of faith and obedience, God provided protection for Rahab and her family. In addition, He offered a chance for a new life with His people -- and the privilege of being named in the genealogy of the promised Messiah, and listed on the rolls of faith, in Hebrews 11:31:

 

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

 

Faith Without Works is Dead

 

 

Again, there is the restatement, emphasizing this extremely important point - “Faith without works is dead!”

 

Just as when the soul leaves a person’s body, they die, so it is with faith without any outward expression - it is dead!

 

As much as you can have a body with no life in it (a corpse), so you can have a resemblance of faith, that has no life - it is meaningless to God.

 

Actors on stage are always imitating a character that they are playing. And, some are very skilled at convincing their audience that they are really that person, even though they are just pretending. So it can be with a person of faith - they can be very convincing to everyone around them that they are a person to admire for their religious knowledge. But, the true test is their actions, and not just their words.

 

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

Romans 1:17

 

Living by faith is an outward expression - a work of our faith in Christ! 

 

Explore these Questions:

 

Do you accept people, no matter what, with Christ’s love and concern for their souls, just as God has done for you?

 

Do you feel that what you do for God counts, not for any merit or rewards that you might receive or earn, but for your love for Christ?

 

Prayer:

 

Dear Heavenly Father - Help me to display my love for You by my works of love and compassion for others. May Your light shine through me, so that when people look at me, they will see You and give You all the praise and glory. Amen.

 

 Scripture of the Week:

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

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