James 2:14-17 “14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? 15if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needed to the body; what doth it profit? 17even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”
Over the past few days we have seen that James chapter 2 has dealt a lot with our attitudes towards people, and today carries the same theme. From here on in some very controversial verses are dealt with, but with a closer look into the word of God the message is clear.
Verse 14 poses an important question to us as believers. The verse says “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? Here the bible is challenging our service. The verse is saying, ‘what good is it, though a man say he has faith, but doesn’t show it through works? Can that kind of faith save him?’ it is a sad truth that there are people who claim to have saving faith yet do not possess salvation. It is important to keep in mind that wherever God has a truth Satan has a counterfeit. Jesus himself gives us a clear warning in Matthew 7:21 which says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Notice that verse 14 uses the phrase “though a man say he hath faith”. Notice this man is only saying that he has faith; but with no outward works to show his faith how can he prove he has it? What good is it saying you have faith but having nothing to show that you do? There are many people out there who have the right vocabulary and say the right things, but when it comes down to it their walk does not measure up to their talk. They go around thinking that their words are a good enough substitute for works, but we see this is wrong from the next few verses.
Verses 15 and 16 continues “15if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needed to the body; what doth it profit?” verse 15 and 16 gives the perfect example of verse 14. Here James gives the picture of a Christian Brother or sister coming into a fellowship without clothes or food. One of the believers who says he has faith says to them ‘go on in peace, be warmed and filled’ but doesn’t give them the things they need, then what good is this? Here we see that words are no substitute for works. You can tell someone you’re going to do something, but unless you do it then it’s no good to anyone.
Verse 17 gives a thought-evoking conclusion. The verse says “17even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”. Here we see that the people, who claim they have faith, but do not have works, have a dead faith, because their faith is alone. You see faith and works go hand in hand. Note here that I am NOT saying that salvation requires works; I’m saying that works come about after salvation as proof of a changed life. Any declaration of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false declaration. That kind of faith is a dead faith. The person who has dead faith has the knowledge of salvation, but they have never dedicated their life and accepted Christ as their saviour. He knows the right words, but cannot back it up with the right works. We see that when we get saved we get a new life, we are born again. Now with new life you expect growth. In order to grow as Christians in our faith there must be the presence of good works. If there is not good works then this faith is dead and there can be no growth.
Before writing this I listened to a song called “deeds”. The first chorus goes “if you don’t have faith you have nothing at all, if you don’t have deeds your faith will fall, they can’t be true without each other, you can’t have one without the other” the second chorus goes “if you don’t have deeds you have nothing at all, if you don’t have faith your deeds will fall, they can’t be true without each other, you can’t have one without the other”. I think this is a fantastic way of putting it. To start with if you don’t have saving faith then you don’t have anything, next if you don’t have deeds to show this faith your faith will fail. The second chorus puts it another way. This time it says that if you don’t have deeds you have nothing at all, and if you don’t have faith your deeds will fall. Think of it as your heart as your faith and your brain as your deeds. The heart supplies blood to the brain, but the brain sends electrical impulses to keep your heart beating. They cannot function or even exist without each other. The exact same is seen with faith and deeds. They have to be co-existent, or both will be non-existent.
How is your faith today? Is it dead being without works? Do you go around trying to substitute words for works? Or are you a do-gooder without faith? Understand today that one cannot exist without the other. If you’re a Christian today how are your deeds? Are they showing your faith or are you just talking about it? Search your heart today; make sure that your faith isn’t dead. If it is do not worry though, there is a remedy. Our God has power over death. He can raise your dead faith into living faith. Go to God today, ask for His help. You will know when your faith is living, the proof of a changed life is the desire to do works. You will start serving Christ the way you should be. Don’t settle for a dead faith, revive it today! – Andrew.
Posted on September 20, 2012, in Andrew's Thoughts for the Day and tagged Christ, Christian, christian youth, Faith, God, Good works, James, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Salvation, Satan, Youth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.