Joshua 2 recounts the familiar story of the encounter between Rahab and the spies. As I read the chapter, I am reminded by how faith and works intertwine in the salvation of man.
We are saved by faith and not by works ….
This is certainly true of Rahab. She and her family were saved because of her faith (v8-14). She had faith that the Lord had given the land to the Israelites (v9). She had faith that the Lord is the true God of heaven and earth (v11). She exhibited faith when the oath she agreed with the spies were based on the name of the Lord (12) – a God whom she was not familiar with and knew very little of. She was certainly not saved because of works, for Rahab, by vocation, was living the immoral life of a prostitute (v1). We are also well aware of the lie she told (v4-5), which no doubt saved the lives of the spies, but it is important to note that the Bible did not condone the lie, it simply reported it. Perhaps if Rahab had been determined not to lie, God would have provided a way to spare the lives of the spies nonetheless.
But our works justify and confirm our faith ….
The actions (i.e., “works”) of Rahab were a clear confirmation of where her faith lay. She helped the spies escape (v15) and even provided clear instructions on how not to get caught (v16). She followed the instructions of the spies by tying the scarlet cord at her window (v21) – a sign to the invading Israelite army that she was a friend and not to be harmed. Some commentators see this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus. Just as the scarlet cord guaranteed Rahab and her family’s safety, the blood of Christ guarantees our salvation.
Faith and works … intertwined ….
The intertwining of faith and works in the life of Rahab is a lesson for all of us. Faith and works can never be separated.
Do our lives reflect both faith and works in action?
Is our church one that is based on faith in the salvation plan of our Lord Jesus Christ and works that portray us as salt and light to the world?
Or are we too distracted or busy bickering such that we don’t even exhibit faith, much less, works?
Something beautiful happens was when faith and works are intertwined. This is clearly seen in the life of Rahab who was so privileged to be part of the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). There are very few more significant callings than that!
Dn Michael Teo