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About-Him.Com Devotional 11-19-2011
Faith Without Works is Dead
Text: James 2:14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
On the surface, it seems that James and the Apostle Paul are at odds concerning faith and works. I’m not sure that is the case.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
The good works that we do after salvation are simply Jesus living His life through us. It’s not us doing the work, It’s Him.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Paul, in these scriptures, is not talking of Notorious Works i.e., things that we do in order to impress God, that we might be considered worthy of salvation. This would base our salvation on our own merit, instead of the merit of Christ. Note Ephesians 2:10 above: We are God’s workmanship. He created us in Christ Jesus and ordained that we should walk in good works. That seems to go hand in hand with the words of James.
It should also be noted that things such as believing, repentance and water baptism (Acts 2:38, Mk. 16:16) are acts of obedience to the word of God, rather than as some would say, "works" in the sense of trying to earn our salvation.
An example of works that prove that our salvation in genuine.
Text: James 2: 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 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?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James seems to be referring to those who are all talk and no action. They made a confession of faith and got their name on the church roll and considered themselves saved for all time and eternity. James is saying that there is a little more to it than that.
Text: James 2:18 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.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Simply making mental assent to the gospel is not enough. Faith demands obedience and action.
Text: James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Abraham was justified in God’s eyes when He believed God and God counted Him as righteous. Some years later, he was justified again when he offered his son on the altar of sacrifice. This act of obedience proved that his initial confession of faith was real.
Text: James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Rahab the harlot had a seed of faith planted in her heart when the Israeli spies knocked on her door. Her work in helping the spies escape proved that her faith was real. She was honored to become a forebear of the Lord Jesus.
Text: James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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Don and Marie Spooner
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Last modified: 03-19-2018
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