Years ago when we were struggling financially while in seminary, a good friend of mine got word of my plight and came to me and handed me a blank check. He told me he had $10,000 in the account and that I could write the check for any amount I needed up to that amount. I turned his offer down, but was greatly blessed by his token of love. I had known this man for a couple of years. We talked theology all the time, and we pretty much believed the same things. We had prayed together once each week. And so as I got to know him I had little doubt that he was a strong man of God. But after seeing him on many occasions reach out to help others in need, I had no doubt that his faith was a living faith of love.
There are way too many people in Christendom who say that they have faith, but you would never know it by their works. They are the kind of so-called Christians you might call “living thieves.” Their faith is not real, and so they rob God of his due. James will show us in today’s text how to distinguish between a “living thief” and a “living child of God.”