Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Traitors for Christ (W.o.W Rewind) by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:17, 24-26

Do you remember the story of Rahab the prostitute? I know… it’s been a long time. Let me refresh your memory. Joshua has just taken over for Moses as leader of Israel. They're at the edge of the Promised Land ready to take possession of it when Joshua sends out two spies to check out a city named Jericho that is well-known for its fortified walls. While in the city they stay with a woman named Rahab, a prostitute. Somehow the King finds out and sends guards to Rahab’s house to seize them. But Rahab hid the spies and sent the guards off in the wrong direction.

To explain to the spies why she helped them Rahab says, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you… for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:9 and 11b). Then she asked the spies to swear to spare her life and the lives of all her family when they come take possession of the land. The spies agreed and Rahab let them down by a rope from her window. They returned to tell Joshua all that happened. Shortly thereafter Israel marched into the Promised Land and defeated Jericho. Rahab and all her family were spared.

So why are we talking about this obscure Old Testament character? Well, because the New Testament seems to think she is worth talking about. Notice that Rahab is the only woman mentioned by name as one who had faith in the great faith chapter, Hebrews 11. The apostle James also mentions her as an example of justification by faith in action. Not only that, but we also find out in Matthew 1 that this Rahab is an ancestor of Jesus Christ himself. So the real question is, what did Rahab get right that we need to imitate?

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being “certain of what of we do not see.” From the account in Joshua 2 it is clear that Rahab is certain of something she does not see. She was certain that Israel’s God was the true God of heaven and earth. She had faith in a God whom she hadn’t even encountered yet. Hearing testimony of the great miracles that He was working on His people’s behalf was enough. She believed. But James rightly points out that Rahab did more than just believe; she acted on her faith. She was so certain of this that she was willing to wager her life on it. She was willing to betray her king, her city, and all the people in it (save her family) in order to be in right relationship with the one, true God. She was a traitor for Christ.

Now I want to ask you two questions. First, does your faith work? James says that “faith without works is dead.” If you have a living faith, then it will produce action in your life. It is this “living faith” that is dangerous. It is this type of faith that brings about change in our world and lights hearts on fire for the Lord. Do you have a living active faith? If not, then you should ask God to renew and revive your faith. We serve the originator of all life. It was He who breathed life into Adam and Eve’s lifeless forms, and He can breathe life into your lifeless faith if you ask Him to.

Second, are you willing to be a traitor for Christ? Rahab valued being in right relationship with God more than she valued anything else…even her own life. She knew she would be killed if the king’s guards found out she had lied, but she feared God more than death. She valued God above all else. She was willing to turn her back on everyone and everything in order to follow Him. The Bible teaches that this world is at odds with the world to come. James 4:4 says “friendship with the world is hostility toward God.” This world is so at odds with God’s kingdom that we must choose between the two. Where does your allegiance lie? Are you willing to “betray” this world in order to be a citizen of the next? Are you willing to choose God over any and everything else in this world that could compete for your time or passion? That’s what it means to be a traitor for Christ. You choose Christ over all else. You choose Christ over anything that comes between you and Him, because you value Him more than anything.

Make your choice.

For further reading this week…

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