Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rahab: The Prostitute Who Believed

A prostitutes saving faith as an example for us all.
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? ~James 2:20

Hopefully by now we are all beginning to see the importance and value of good works in the lives of Christians. The value and importance of good works are not in their ability to win salvation for us (because they can’t), and their worth is not found in their ability to keep us saved (because they don’t), but their significance is found in what they say about who we are. James notes that anyone can say they are a Christian and believe in God, but without the evidence of a changed life, the confession means very little. As he looks from Scripture for examples of those who believe and have a changed life to back up their confession, he gives us two.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; ~James 1:21,22

As Pastor noted these last two Sundays, Abraham is an obvious choice as one who’s life and works match up with a confession of faith in the One True God. Here is a man whose entire life was changed and affected not only him, but his family and all that he owned. Yes, Abraham was a good choice for James to use as one whose justifying faith in God produces evidence of salvation through good works. The other was a prostitute…

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? ~James 2:25

Who would have thought James would use a harlot as an example of true saving faith? But, after examining her confession and comparing it to her life and the actions she took, we can see why James chose her. Consider what she says to the two spies that night in Jericho so long ago…

Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. ~Joshua 2:8-11

Rahab believes in and knows of God Almighty! Living as a prostitute among a people who worship false gods and live in utter spiritual darkness, Rahab hears of the One True God and believes. If God has changed her heart and she believes and trusts God in a saving way then, according to James, we should see that confession lived out in her words and deeds.

Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. ~Joshua 2:18

After saving the two spies from the men of Jericho, Rahab acknowledges God’s plan to remove the current inhabitants of the land and give it to the Israelites. She responds in the same way any sinner who recognizes their position before God… she asks for mercy! The two spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord in the window of her home and trust that this sign will protect her and her whole household from the destruction coming to Jericho. Rahab’s confession of faith was backed up by her protective treatment of God’s people and reliance upon Him for mercy. And as Pastor pointed out to us she remained in her home and trusted in the promise even while death, destruction, and judgment were falling all around her. Her faith was a:

  • Shocking Faith 
  • Simple Faith 
  • Singular Faith 
  • Saving Faith 
  • Sanctifying Faith 

What might someone say about your faith? Is it as clearly lived out and real as the faith of this prostitute from Jericho?

By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. ~Hebrews 11:31

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