Faith Without Works

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!

 

8 thoughts on “Faith Without Works

  1. Inkhorn

    I love this verse from James , I think James is giving his case not for works based salvation, just for works and obedience period. We already know that no where ever is salvation based on works, even Israel was delivered from Egypt before given the law. Therefore the law is teaching, not salvation. God saves not ourselves nor our deeds. But I believe men were swinging in the exact opposite claiming they only needed to have faith and do nothing as a result- fire insurance. Our faith in the salvation provided by Christ leads us to obedience, one will hardly obey someone he doesn’t believe. As John demanded from the Pharisees “bring forth fruit of your repentance” so too, James exhorts Christians to obey God and do the works he has given as evidence that you truly have faith. The strong point that even the demons believe proves as well the response that we ought to have to Christ and faith. Faith is faithful, while salvation itself is a free gift, kingdom living demands that we have a role within Gods kingdom. Jesus turned people away that didn’t know him and he called them lawless? How can this scripture be better understood in light of James?

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  2. lawrencelawkc

    1st Peter speaks of genuine faith in unseen Christ (1Pet1:8) and in the living hope of the resurrection (1Pet1:3) that is tested for it genuineness by the trials of persecution (1Pet1:7).

    Also in 1st Peter, it speaks of this same faith that leads to the salvation of the soul (1Pet1:9) through sincere brotherly love (1Pet1:22).

    It is reasonable to claim that the dead faith in Jam2:17 would be the same faith that is not genuine mentioned in 1Peter. Resonating with the love theme, genuine faith is faith expressed in sincere brotherly love that lays aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking (1Pet2:1) while doing good and suffering for it according to the will God (1Pet3:17).

    In summary, the above is reinforcing your observation 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.”

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