“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:24-26)
The story of Rahab the harlot is recorded for us in the Book of Joshua (2:1-24; 6:17, 22-23, 25). In Rahab’s story there are several things a child of God can glean that will build them up in the most holy faith.
First, God’s grace is no respecter of persons. Rahab was a Gentile, yet her works proved that she was a possessor of faith. (See Romans 2:10-11; 9:23-24; James 2:24-26; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.)
Second, her faith was God-given. She was not of the House of Israel; she knew nothing of the way of approach to the God of Israel to worship Him; for she had not the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, or the Sacrifices and the Offerings. She did not have a preacher or a teacher to show her the way, outside of God Himself. Faith is a gift, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And yet in our text, James 2:25 says, “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” Therefore, faith without works is dead. But saving faith is (not maybe, but will be) manifested by works (read James 2:14-26); works being the Fruit of the Seed of Faith.
Thirdly, you must possess faith to know (or perceive) who God is. (See Joshua 2:9-11.) Rahab said:
- She knew “the LORD hath given you the land” (verse 9)
- We have heard what God has already done to your enemies (verse 10)
- Upon this knowledge “our hearts did melt,” our courage left us (verse 11)
- Therefore, I ask for mercy to save my family and household (verses 12-13)
Faith (or Christ living in you) is the only way Rahab or anyone could know and hear the things she knew and heard that would cause her to go against her king and people (knowing her neighbors were going to be destroyed) and protect the spies as she did. Without spiritual eyes (or faith), you cannot perform the works of righteousness: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). (See also Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 4:13.)
Fourth, the covenant was made between Rahab and the spies that she and her household would be spared the judgment coming on Jericho. This covenant’s sign was a scarlet thread hanging outside her window. The spies promised (2:18-21): Everyone in your house will be saved when we see the scarlet thread in your window. This scarlet thread was the sign of the covenant; just as well as the Blood on the door posts (Exodus 12:1-), and God said, “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you…” and no death shall enter into that house (Exodus 12:13, 23). Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7b, “….For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” His Atonement on the Cross is the sign of our Salvation, our Scarlet Thread, a sign of the Covenant.
Fifth, the reward was both physical and spiritual. Rahab and her household were saved from physical death when Joshua and Israel brought judgment and death to Jericho. She and her household were placed in the midst of Israel (type of Gentile grafted into the Vine). She married Salmon and was the mother of Boaz, the grandmother of Jessie, and the great-grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5-6); thus she is listed in the Godly line of Christ (Matthew 1:1-16). This ultimately pointed to the Mystery of the Ages, the Church (Galatians 3:25-29) made up of Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free.
This represented not only a temporal (physical) salvation, but typed out the Spiritual Salvation from eternal death in Christ (in His Atonement on the Cross). (See Romans 6:23; 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24.)
Thank You God, for the story of Rahab. Thank You God, that even of the Gentiles, You had and have a people who have and shall be given faith, which shall be proven by their works.
Questions: Reader, can you identify with Rahab? Are your works as hers were, works of true faith? What do you perceive about God in the face or life of Jesus Christ? What is your confession (Romans 10:9-10)?
The problem is not who you are or who you were; for Rahab was a harlot. But the problem is what do you know of The Christ? Have you come to confess and rest your case in His Blood Atonement as Rahab did? If so, you are saved and your works will reveal the same.