Rahab? Rahab the prostitute becomes Rahab the Righteous. How can this be? James confronts us with God’s audacious grace in Chapter 2. A common harlot turned hero in Joshua’s great battle of Jericho. James delights in the upside-down -world of grace, where the currency is not self-righteousness, but rather a living faith.
So how does one make the quantum leap from prostitute to believer; from dead to living faith? James links Rahab’s actions–the protection of Joshua and the spies as they prepared to conquer Jericho–to her heart of faith. Somehow, she had come to believe in the Lord. “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…” she confided to the spies as she hid them from their pursuers (Joshua 2:8).
God considered her righteous because of her faith, which gave birth to action. James makes the link between living faith and obedience in James 2:25, 26:
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
For her giant faith, Rahab is counted among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Fame of Faith.” Hebrews 11:31: By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Notice the word, “disobedient,” apeitheo, and reflect on its meaning: “without faith or unbelieving.” Again we see the connection between living faith and action. A disobedient heart is an unbelieving heart. God’s Word drives this point home again, and again.
Do you struggle with an unbelieving heart? Where do you need to wrestle your doubts and fears to the ground and step out in living faith?
Lord, teach me about bold and daring faith. I marvel at the courage of a common harlot who became a faith hero. She pleased you greatly with her living faith. Show me how to risk all, to resist fear, and to step out in action in response to your Word. Today. –Amen