Some people seemingly come to Christ, but their veneer of faith quickly gets worn away when trouble hits (see Matthew 13:20-21). On the other hand are those who accept Christ and are changed to the core.
Such a person was Rahab, a prostitute from Jericho who was transformed from harlot to heroine. In Joshua 2, we read that Joshua sent two spies to gather information in Jericho, where they came and lodged at Rahab's house. There are several things to consider about Rahab from this story:
1. Her status. Simply put, Rahab was a working prostitute (see v. 1). Many commentators like to say she was just an innkeeper because they're uncomfortable with God choosing a prostitute. But the whole point of most of the biblical record is that God saves undeserving people through His grace (see 1 Corinthians 1:27; Ephesians 2:8-9).
2. Her service. The text tells us Rahab took the two spies and hid them in stalks of flax on her roof so they wouldn't be found by the king of Jericho (see vv. 2-6). This demonstrated that she believed in their mission and in their God.
3. Her salvation. Rahab was a work in progress, so this came in phases. First, she heard about God. As she told the spies, "We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites" (v. 10).
Second, she believed what she heard: "I know that the Lord has given you the land" (v. 9). Rahab didn't see the Red Sea open up or witness the defeat of those two kings, but she believed it. This is where true faith is born, generated by the word of God (see Romans 10:17).
Third, Rahab demonstrated what she believed—she showed her faith by her works. For one, she hid the spies, risking her life. She also hung a scarlet rope out her window as instructed, so that God's judgment would pass over her house (see vv. 17-21). And finally, Rahab helped save her family (see vv. 12-13).
4. Her significance. Rahab's story didn't end here in Joshua. She's mentioned no less than three times in the New Testament, twice as an example of faith (see Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). In Matthew 1, she shows up in the royal lineage of King David and Jesus Christ Himself (see v. 5)—which means in God's book, Rahab is a princess, not a prostitute. She underwent a transformation, a change, and she showed it.
When it comes down to it, Christians are not just nicer people—they're transformed people. In fact, if your religion hasn't changed you, maybe you should change your religion. You don't get transformed by saying, "I'm going to become a better person now." Only Jesus Christ can change you from the inside out.
Rahab's story shows us that no one is so bad that they can't be saved, and no one is so good that they don't need to be saved. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). But the good news is that Jesus Christ will save you and transform your life—if you let Him.