Faith without Works is Dead


Faith without Works is Dead. James continues chapter 2 on his discussion of faith vs works. Is James saying that you are saved by your works? No!



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. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James 2:18-20 & 26, NKJV


Faith without Works is Dead. James continues chapter 2 on his discussion of faith vs works. Is James saying that you are saved by your works? No!


Faith without Works is Dead - Questions


As we consider these verses, two questions come to mind that must be answered.


1. Is James saying that it takes faith plus works to be saved?


2. Does this contradict the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8 & 9?


Faith without Works is Dead - Faith plus Works?

Taking these verses in context, we understand that James is addressing practical Christianity and true belief. James has just addressed the sin of showing favoritism based upon wealth. He then continues here by saying that there is more to faith than just believing that God is God or that Jesus is the Son of God. 


As a matter of fact, James states, You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!


In other words, true faith will be evidenced by a change in one's life. First, one's very soul and heart are changed. Instead of loving the things that people in the world love (fame, fortune, and power), they now love the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to please Him in all that they do and say. Instead of seeking to please the people of this world, they seek to please Christ.


That change in the hearts of new believers will be evidenced by a change in their outward appearance and actions as well. In other words, James is saying that if your heart, soul, and life have not changed, then perhaps you should consider your faith. Is it alive or is it dead! As James concludes in verse 26, faith without the evidence of works is like a body without a spirit. A body without a spirit is dead and so faith without works is dead!


No, it does not take works to be saved, but true faith will be evidenced by works which please God instead of those of this world.


Faith without Works is Dead - Ephesians 2

Is James contradicting the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2, verses 8 and 9?


8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8 & 9, NKJV


To answer that question we should add verse 10 of Ephesians 2. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


Both Paul and James would say that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Paul goes on in verse 10 to say that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works. And, not only are we to evidence our faith by doing good works, but the good news is that it is not left up to us. God who saved us will equip us to do the works that He has prepared for us to do.


Not only then will our faith be evidenced by good works, but God has designed each and every one of us to have all that is needed to do the specific works He has designed for us to do. 


How amazing is that?


Faith without Works is Dead - Conclusion

What conclusion should we draw from these verses? God calls each of us to examine ourselves to be sure that we are, indeed, true believers.


Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

2 Corinthians 13:5, NKJV


It is a sobering thought to think that, thinking we are true believers, we could come to the end of our lives and hear Jesus say, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."


21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV


Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart. Coming to Christ involves a complete change of one's heart which will result in a complete change in one's life. 


That does not mean we will not sin. We will all wrestle with our sin natures here on this earth, but it does mean that in our devotion to Christ alone, we will seek to live more and more for Him.


In our heart of hearts our one and only desire is to please Christ. Because this is true, we will find ourselves longing for the day when Christ will bring us home to be with Him forever!


My prayer today is that we will all examine our hearts and lives to see if we are truly a believer. If we find ourselves lacking, we need to go to Christ. He has paid the debt of our sins on the cross of Calvary. Once we were alienated from God, but in Christ that fellowship with God is renewed. Christ sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us; we now have access to God Himself.


Go to Christ. He will save you now!


God Bless You,

Linda




James 2 Devotionals

James 2 Introduction

Show No Partiality - verses 1-7

Do Justice, Love Mercy - verses 8-12

Faith vs Works - verses 13-17

Faith without Works is Dead - verses 18-20 & 26

How Faith Works - verses 21-25



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