In the Same Way

By: Tracy Cooney
“And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
James 2:25-26
The men at her door were different than the others. She could tell right away. The word “Israel” conjured up stories she had heard for years about a rag tag group of slaves turned ocean parting army. Any city their God brought them to they conquered. And now, here they were in her hometown. Rahab trembled with fear. Fear, yes, but something else too. Something very much like hope.

Where Jericho saw a threat, Rahab saw salvation. A way out.

Before she ever opened her mouth to profess her faith, Rahab acted in a way to prove it. There was not enough time to do otherwise. In a moment, she had to decide if the stories she had heard were folklore or fact. And if they were fact, they changed everything. So she moved stealthily to hide the spies and then approached them with an audacious request. She asked for a rescue. She believed that God’s promise for Israel could be extended to her when everything around her said it couldn’t possibly be. She was the wrong woman with the wrong job from the wrong city. Would God even offer a lifeline to someone outside of the chosen race?

The answer was a resounding yes.

God didn’t just throw Rahab a life preserver, He grafted her in as a daughter. She didn’t merely survive; she was written into the sweeping story of His ultimate rescue. The woman from enemy territory became a matriarch in Israel’s royal line, a line that would give birth to kings and one day, a Savior. When they called the roll of ancestors to announce Christ’s birth, when few women were mentioned, Rahab was remembered. In a long list of Israelite men, the woman from Jericho was named.

Our faith begins when we believe that the stories we have heard are true, but it doesn’t end there. Not when the stakes are so high. Upon these stories rest matters of life and death, a choice between destruction or salvation—not only for us, but for those around us. So we move. We believe God’s promises extend to us and we act in a way that proves it.

The God of Abraham is the God of Rahab. If we don’t look closely enough, we will miss the miracle of that. James tells us we serve a God who looks at the faith of a founding father and the faith of a pagan prostitute and says “in the same way.” By grace, through faith.

And their faith had feet. Does ours?

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