What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? James 2:14
One of the most misunderstood teachings, maybe in the whole Bible, is faith without works is dead. So what is the Apostle James trying to teach us here? The next scripture I think James makes it pretty clear what hes trying to say, however there are many Christians who like to use this teaching to justify a works based salvation
However as we look into this teaching further, I think you’ll see that James is teaching that works is evidence of our faith in Christ . Our works don’t produce salvation, its only the works of Christ that has given us salvation.
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? James 2:15-16
Here James gives an example, say there is someone who is in need of food and clothing. What should you do for them? If you just tell them that “I’m praying for you” how does that help them in the meantime? Now I believe in the power of prayer, however if we have the means to help someone, we can be the answer to their prayer!
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:17-18
So the principle of this teaching is if we have faith in Christ then it should produce some evidence of that faith. This is why Baptism is an essential doctrine of Christianity, it demonstrates the faith you have in Jesus as your Lord
We shouldn’t confuse this teaching however with works being the evidence of our salvation. As salvation is in Christ alone and not by our own works. However Jesus wants us to be his hands and feet, let our works be the evidence of Christ love for us Amen!