A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 2:14-26
The Christian life—the relationship of faith and works James
Believers Should Know That a Faith That Is Not Matched by Works is
Fake James 2:14-17
does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith and not
works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister becomes naked
and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say to them, “Leave
in peace, may you be warm and filled [with food],” yet you do not
give them those things which they need for the body. What good [is
it]? 17 So, if faith does not have works, it is dead in itself.
and not works=
teachfaith alone in Jesus Christ alone
saves. Others do not. What does this passage mean?
this passage, works are not for saving faith but show what we really
epistle is written to those already saved. They already are
believers. The works mentioned are not for salvation. It is a
contrast between a phony faith and a genuine faith. James 1:1-2 WELJames, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 My brothers, consider it all joy when you find yourself surrounded
by various trials.
have been taught by our church leaders (or at least are supposed to
be taught) the Gospel, Christian doctrine and whywe
believe this, the Christian life and whywe
are to live this. Note here, how Paul ministered to the Philippians.
He taught; they learned. What he said, he did. His life and words
matched whether in private or in public. Philippians 4:9 WEL Those
things, which you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me, do,
and the God of peace will be with you.
all show what we really believe, by how we live. If we are really
Christians, our lives will reveal it.
Wesley comments on this verse:
Jam 1:22, the apostle has been enforcing Christian practice. He now
applies to those who neglect this, under the pretense of faith. St.
Paul had taught that "a man is justified by faith without the
works of the law." This some began already to wrest to their
own destruction. Wherefore St. James, purposely repeating (Jam 2:21,
Jam 2:23, Jam 2:25) the same phrases, testimonies, and examples,
which St. Paul had used, Rom 4:3, Heb 11:17, Heb 11:31, refutes not
the doctrine of St. Paul, but the error of those who abused it.
There is, therefore, no contradiction between the apostles: they
both delivered the truth of God, but in a different manner, as
having to do with different kinds of men. On another occasion St.
James himself pleaded the cause of faith, Act 15:13-21; and St. Paul
himself strenuously pleads for works, particularly in his latter
epistles. This verse is a summary of what follows. What profiteth
it? is enlarged on, Jam 2:15-17; though a man say, Jam 2:18-19 can
that faith save him? Jam 2:20.
is not, though he have faith; but, though he say he have faith.
Here, therefore, true, living faith is meant: but in other parts of
the argument the apostle speaks of a dead, imaginary faith. He does
not, therefore, teach that true faith can, but that it cannot,
subsist without works: nor does he oppose faith to works; but that
empty name of faith, to real faith working by love. Can that faith
"which is without works" save him? No more than it can
profit his neighbor.
this verse: James
2:14-20 Describes dead faith (including "demonic" faith).
James 2:21-26 Describes dynamic, living, useful faith giving three
illustrations. James' objective is to answer the question "What
is genuine, saving faith?". This question makes James 2:14-26
one of the most vitally important sections of Scripture because the
truth James explains deals directly with a person's eternal destiny.
The most frightening deception in this life is to think that "I
possess saving faith" when it fact in God's eyes it is not
genuine saving faith.
necessarily the works of feeding and housing the poor thoughthat might be, buta
non-Christian can do as much and maybe better.
would be Christian works as
5:22-26 WEL But, the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such
things. 24 Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with
its passions and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also
walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be longing for empty praise,
irritating one another, and envying one another.
Corinthians 13:4-8A WEL Love is very
patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about
itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not
self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list
of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the
truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
calmly endures all things. 8 Love never ends,
who have been born again are to do good deeds.
2:14 NASB Who gave Himself for us to
redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a
people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
3:14 NASB Our people must also learn to
engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not
Peter 2:12 NASB Keep your behavior
excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they
slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as
they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
deeds donot always mean to given money
example given in our passage refers to meeting physical and material
in answer Jesus said to them: "Go and report to John the things
you have seen and heard: that the blind regain sight, the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, dead are raised, the poor are
comments on this verse: "The poor
are evangelized"—what the poor (and everyone else) need most
is salvation and a new life, not a free distribution of wealth.
actions of these would be a reflection of
12:28-31 NLT One of the teachers of
religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He
realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, "Of all the
commandments, which is the most important?" Jesus replied, "The
most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our
God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God
with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your
strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."
that loving God is first, not loving the neighbor. Many, if not most
Christian(?) leaders teach loving the neighbor and barely mention
God is in obeying what Jesus has taught, not some voice or
impression inside us. John 14:15 NLT If
you love me, obey my commandments.
is an order of priorities in meeting needs: spouse, then children,
then our congregational members, then the church elsewhere, and
finally the non-believer.
and sister here refer to those whom James wrote to in James 1:1-2.
They are believers.
Believers Should Know Faith Alone With a Change of Life Seen Is Fake
may say, “You have faith, and I have works. You show me your faith
without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19
You believe that God is one? You do well; the devils also believe and
without works= A faith only in the mind, not in a changed heart.
with works= A faith in the heartand
mind revealing itself in the good deeds that Jesus wants us to do.
Believers Should Know These Examples James 2:20-26
will you understand, you senseless man, that faith without works is
dead? 21 Wasn’t Abraham, our father, justified by works when he had
offered Isaac, his son, on the altar? 22 See how faith worked
together with his works, and [how] faith was made complete by works?
23 The Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him for righteousness,” and he was called
the Friend of God. 24 You see then how a person is justified by works
and not by faith only. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab, the
harlot, justified by works when she had received the messengers and
sent [them] out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead also.
on James 2:14-26
are good works?
are Christians required to do good works?
some examples of good works Christians can do?