Am I Really Responsible for the Welfare of Others?

Biblical Authority Devotional: All-Encompassing Authority, Part 7

by Steve Ham on May 27, 2011

Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., shows how the Bible commands believers to care for brothers and sisters who are in need.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)

Today’s big question: am I really responsible for the welfare of others?

He can talk the talk but can he walk the walk? Good question. 

I suppose this is one of the reasons why many people see Christians as hypocritical. Every time we do something that does not fit our calling in Christ, there is a disconnect between our walk and our talk. Whenever we ignore a brother or sister in need, we are not living out the faith we proclaim. We consistently disconnect our walk from our talk. 

Yet we are called to show our faith with consistent works that display the grace of Christ in our lives. Reading the book of James, I have often felt a level of shame in contemplating my Christian responsibility to help those in most need. Today’s devotional could well be the one that I, the writer, may need to listen to the most. Here is what James wrote in the verses preceding today’s text:

If a brother or sister is naked or destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (James 2:15–16).

In this series of devotionals I have been highlighting issues in Scripture that are sometimes dismissed (even if only in practice) as being essentially not authoritative. Of course, anybody committed to biblical authority would agree that the entire Word of God is authoritative. I am one of those people, but sometimes I find myself treating one passage as being more authoritative than another. This is simply wrong. I readily defend doctrine but may overlook mercy and grace when it comes to a brother or sister in real need.

I have to admit that I am not always willing to be the one to help. If we are honest with ourselves, we could probably agree that we all need to grow in this area. My reminder, and hopefully yours as well, is that God’s authoritative Word tells me to walk the talk when it comes to those in need.

I am an apologist who defends the authority of the Word of God in my talk, but I must also be an apologist in my walk. The answer for the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15) must not only come out of my mouth but also out of my actions. When those in need see Christ in our actions, they are more likely to hear the gospel from our mouths.

Today’s big idea: commit to helping someone as part of your commitment to an authentic walk.

What to pray: pray for the opportunity to help someone in need.     

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