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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Righteous

by Marilynn Chadwick

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? (James 2:25 NIV)

Rahab the prostitute becomes Rahab the righteous. How can this be? A common harlot turned hero in Joshua's battle at Jericho. A most unlikely name in Matthew’s genealogy of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5). James delights in the upside-down-world of grace where the currency is not self-righteousness, but a simple, childlike faith. He confronts us with God's audacious grace.

How did Rahab make the quantum leap from prostitute to believer? From dead to living faith. James links Rahab's actions—the protection of Joshua and the spies—to her heart of faith. Somehow, she had come to believe in the Lord. "I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us," she confided to the spies as she hid them from their pursuers (Joshua 2:8).

God considered Rahab righteous because of her faith. Her faith gave birth to action. James makes the link between living faith and obedience:

“The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse” (James 2:25-26 MSG).

For her giant faith, Rahab is counted among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, often called the "Hall of Fame of Faith." “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31).

The word translated “disobedient,” apeitheo, comes from two words which mean “without” and “faith.” Again, we see the connection between living faith and action. A disobedient heart is an unbelieving heart. Once again, God's Word drives this point home.

Do you struggle with an unbelieving heart? Reflect on areas where you may need to wrestle your doubts and fears to the ground and step out in living faith.

Lord, I want a bold and daring faith like Rahab. I marvel at the courage of a common harlot who became a hero of faith. She pleased you greatly with her living faith. Show me how to risk all, to resist fear, and to step out in action in response to your Word. Today. Now.

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