Faith: there is nothing more central to being a Christian. We hold that faith is essential to salvation (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, Christianity would be hollow and strange to us. But what did the first ones to hear the message of the gospel understand by the word faith? To what did they compare it in their first-century world?
The final unit of studies takes us back to the New Testament. Lessons 10 and 11 are drawn from the especially convicting book of James. This book is small but mighty, an observation that James makes regarding the tongue. The studies from James also call attention to the close link between faith and faithfulness. The author’s illustrations undergird his affirmation that “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). This affirmation also involves a study in contrasts between Abraham (father of the Israelite nation) and Rahab (the prostitute from Jericho).
Also included is the example of Dorcas, who was renowned for her acts of selfless service (lesson 12). The exhortation of Paul to fight the good fight of faith (lesson 13) is pointed at one particular church leader (Timothy), but it also has something to say to all Christians. Cultural animosity has the potential of silencing the church into inaction, but followers of Jesus must resolve to put their faith in action. As we affirm that we are justified by faith and not by works (Galatians 2:16), we also acknowledge in the same breath that a faith that does not result in deeds is a dead faith (James 2:26). So it was and is!