James 2:25 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? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
As we know from the scriptures that Rahab was a prostitute, whose inn became a shelter for many wayward traveling men and the subsequent immorality. Isn't it interesting that her eventual transformation included sheltering the spies for their holy purpose to check out the promised land for Joshua. She was smart too, as she put her flax out to dry, which she also used to hide them when them when the Amorites came knocking at her door. Then, when they needed to be sent on their way, she lowered hem from the roof, with a scarlet rope she had. When the spies left they remembered that the command from God to Joshua was to completely wipe out the Amorites, and all the people in the city of Jericho. The scarlet rope would be left out to ensure that Rahab would be saved.
In passage today, Rahab is used as another example of those who were made righteous by faith. Because she was so despised by society for her trade, the story of salvation shows us how God justifies the worst of sinners by faith, not by their works. The ironic thing is that in Matthew, in his genealogy, we learn that Rahab is the wife of Salmon and in line of Jesus.
Here how one commentator sums up the miraculous story of what Rahab's faith led to in the Jesus story,
"Family Connections—While Rahab’s parents, brothers and sisters were alive at the time of her association with the spies Joshua sent out, we are not given any of their names (Joshua 2:13). Some of the ancient Jewish fathers who held her in high reputation reckoned that she was the wife of Joshua himself, but in the royal genealogy of Jesus, Rahab is referred to as being the wife of Salmon, one of the two spies she sheltered. In turn, she became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth from whose son, Obed, Jesse the father of David came, through whose line Jesus was born (Matthew 1:5, where the asv reads, “Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab”—not Rachab). Salmon was a prince of the house of Judah, and thus, Rahab, the one time heathen harlot, married into one of the leading families of Israel and became an ancestress of our Lord, the other foreign ancestresses being Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba. The gratitude Salmon felt for Rahab ripened into love, and when grace erased her former life of shame he made her his wife. Jerome’s comment of the inclusion of the four foreign women in Matthew’s genealogy is suggestive—
In it none of the holy women are included, only those whom the Scriptures blame, in order that He who came in behalf of sinners, Himself being born of sinners, might destroy the sins of all."
So what can we learn? God uses all people regardless of their background and sinful past. The common denominator is faith to believe in what God has done, and the courage to act on it. Again today we see faith always leads to works. Where is God calling you today to step out in response to God's call on your life. The scarlet cord Rahab used was a sign that by the scarlet cord of Jesus' life and death, we would be saved from our enemy, namely sin. Thanks be to God!