"And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away,, and they departed; and she bound the scarlet line in the window." (Josh.2:21)
James 2:26 tells us that "faith without works is dead"; and in the case of Rahab, the harlot, if her faith had not included works, she would have been dead, along with her family. In fact, the previous verse says, point blank, this lady of the night from Jericho, notwithstanding her dubious occupation, was "justified by works." Yet we find her included with the other exemplars of faith in Hebrews eleven. (She and Abraham share this seemingly paradoxical description.) Add to the mix Paul's plain words in Galatians 2:16, "For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified," and you have the makings for a first-rate contradiction. But only if you are willing to throw all common sense out the window.
You've heard the saying, I'm sure, "Faith alone saves, but faith that saves is not alone." Well, this little play on words, to my way of thinking, hits the nail on the head. Fidelity does not constitute a marriage; but a marriage without it is just so much paper work. Works follow faith as surely as night follows day. Their manifestation may be obvious or almost unperceivable; but they will be there.
It was Amy Carmichael who said, "Risk everything on God." And that's exactly what Rahab did. There were probably other women in Jericho who made their living the same way she did, but she was the only one who was alive after the destruction of her city. It was not giving up prostitution that saved her life (though I'm sure she did); it was taking the two spies at their word (faith) and tying the scarlet line in her window (works). The spies could not see the faith in her heart (only God saw that), but they could see the scarlet cord in her window.
Many years ago, as a young child, I, too, took God at this Word, and He hung a scarlet cord (the blood of His Son) in the window of my soul. Now I have no fear of destruction in the judgment to come; and any "good works" seen in my life spring from that. Those who know me cannot see the faith that lives in my soul, but they can see its effects in my life, and I trust that will give them comfort when I have gone to Heaven. There, God will not look for those works, however, but for the "scarlet cord" placed in my soul those many years ago. And on that day, even more so than this day, I will be ever so glad I risked everything on Him.