3. People: Inside and Out
In Isaiah, we see how the nature of a person is seen in their actions. The fool is known by his speech and actions:
Isaiah 32:6: For the fool will speak folly, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice profanity, and to utter error against Yahweh, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and to cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. 7. The instruments of the churl are evil: he devises wicked devices to destroy the humble with lying words, even when the needy speaks right. WEB
The contrast is in the actions of the noble:
Isaiah 32:8: But the noble devises noble things; and in noble things shall he continue. WEB
The word here describing the “noble”, has meanings both of one generous and liberal, and also that of a noble or prince. When we see this in the early writings, we see it speaking of people who are willing to be generous:
Exodus 35:5: `Take from among you an offering to Yahweh. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, Yahweh's offering: gold, silver, brass, WEB
But then, in the later writings, we see it has taken on the meaning of the nobles or princes,
Psa 118:9: It is better to take refuge in Yahweh, Than to put confidence in princes. WEB
It seems that the nobles and princes were named this way to reflect the character that they should have. They were to be rulers who would look after their people. Their name should follow their deeds. We see in Proverbs how consistency is needed for things to be right.
Prov 17:7: Arrogant speech isn't fitting for a fool, Much less do lying lips fit a prince. WEB
James 2: All or Nothing
In the new testament, we also see need for consistency in both the internal and external and external aspects of life. In James 2, we see the theory about how the law may be kept,
James 2:9: but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. NKJV
The law was an all-or-nothing affair. Either one had to obey all of the law, or else was condemned as a sinner under the law. You couldn't get value from partially serving God.
Faith and Works
James demonstrates that faith and works go hand in hand. Here, faith is something that is inside the person, and works are concerned with how the person relates to the rest of the world. So faith can be something that is invisible and internal, while works can be something that is seen, and external to the person.
Faith is important, because it's the fundamental aspect of the way that someone relates to God. However, for there to be the consistency that God requires, the external needs to match the internal, and consequently, works match the faith.
James 2:17: Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. NKJV
Hence, for this internal and external consistency, there is no value to a faith, unless it is mirrored by the actions it should provoke. Similarly, there isn't value in doing grand and imposing actions, unless there is a faith in God driving it.