Faith vs Works

Faith vs Works. What is the relationship between faith and works? James 2 continues with this thought in verses 14 through 17. 

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17, NKJV

Faith vs Works. What is the relationship between faith and works? James 2 continues with this thought in verses 14 through 17. 

Faith vs Works - Can Faith Save?

As we continue through James 2, James continues with his treatise on what we could call practical Christianity. In this section, James asks three questions and then draws a conclusion.

1st Question: What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works?

2nd Question: Can faith save him (or her)?

In other words we could say, James is asking the question, what is faith? Can faith save? In thinking of this, we must be careful not to draw the wrong conclusion. What does it mean to be saved? 

Acts 2:21: And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Luke 7:50: Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go  in peace."

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

Faith--trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation--saves. However, if it is true faith it will involve a changing of a person's heart and life. Faith does not mean the same thing as in believing that there is one God. The demons believe also, and tremble! (James 2:19)

Faith vs Works - What does Faith Profit?

3rd Question: If a brother or sister has a physical need and we do not give them the things for their body, what does faith profit?

James is illustrating that true faith involved as change of heart. Being born into this world in sin, our life revolves around ourselves. Even from a very young age, it is easy to see that children are naturally self-centered.

As we grow into adulthood, how does that affect our goals and values? What matters most to us? Are we, like the world, consumed with gaining riches, power, and/or fame? Who does the world consider to be the most successful? Those who are rich or famous. 

If we see our need of Christ and come to Him for salvation and then go away unchanged, that is not true faith. James is illustrating that when one comes to Christ for true faith, one's heart is changed. That does not mean that we will no longer sin, but it does mean that our desire is to please Christ and to become more like Him.

James illustration shows us that if we are not moved to action when we see our fellow man in need, then we must ask the question, "Are we truly saved? Do we have true faith?"

Faith vs Works - Faith without Works is Dead

James 2, verse 17, draws the conclusion: Thus also faith by itself, without works, is dead.

True Christianity is a religion of the heart. When we come to Christ for salvation He changes our hearts. The Holy Spirit enters our hearts and convicts us of sin as well and teaches us obedience to God's Word. When we read the Word of God, what was just once words now challenges and changes us. We begin to understand truth! God rules in the lives and hearts of all of His children.

Do you have true faith? We can make a great show before our fellow peers. We may look ever so nice and appear ever so godly, but God looks upon our hearts. God is not fooled. We are told that in the final judgment God will separate the sheep from the goats. (The true believers from the unbelievers.)

31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with him, then He will sit on His throne of glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherds divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And he will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Matthew 25:31-36, NKJV

Will you be a sheep or a goat? God knows!

God Bless You,


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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Book of James

James 1

James 2