What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:14-17, 26 ESV
The epistle of James is considered the most PRACTICAL book in the Bible, it is also thought to be the FIRST book written in the NEW COVENANT, the BETTER AGREEMENT. The Jerusalem church was the FIRST church and it was headed by none other than James, the half-brother of our LORD, JESUS. The BOOK of James helps us to put HANDS, FEET and HEARTS to our FAITH! If we are to HONOR GOD, we must know the BIBLE in it’s entirety, not just pieces. JAMES is NOT negating the rest of the BIBLE, or the Apostle PAUL who REMINDS US in Ephesians 2:8-9; For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Both JAMES and PAUL are correct and are saying supporting statements.
Leader, God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:27-29) The prophet Isaiah is a bit harsher: We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6) Martin Luther’s REFORMATION was all about knowing the 5 SOLAS; Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone and to the GLORY of God alone- was a REFOCUS to replace what the CATHOLIC CHURCH had become- WORKS BASED and on its way to HELL due to this FALSE RELIGION!
Conduit, James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God- HE IS telling us our LIVES are our MINISTRY! REAL saving faith is demonstrated by good works. Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a FALSE or DEAD FAITH and is NOT saved! See 1 Cor 6:9-10. Many profess to be Christians but their lives, their priorities, their DESIRE to be LIKED by the WORLD, to FIT IN- indicate their true citizenship. Read Matthew 7:16-23- Jesus states it clearly…” Many will say LORD, LORD- but they are NOT HIS! Misunderstanding the relationship between FAITH and WORKS comes from not understanding what the Bible teaches about salvation. A Faith that does NOT result in an INTERNAL change that demonstrates itself EXTERNALLY is an empty profession of faith—one that does not result in a life of obedience to Christ- it is a DEAD FAITH that cannot SAVE! Today, stand in GOD’s RIGHTEOUSNESS that HE IMPUTES to US when we DIE TO OURSELVES and LET CHRIST LIVE through us! Paul and James both agree; My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. so, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) Remember- people don’t NEED another SERMON, they need a PICTURE! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. (2 Cor 3:2) Let God do the WORK and get the GLORY! Our Job- BELIEVE and ACT AS IF; AVAIL and COMMIT!