Summary: A series of messages from the book of James. Teaching verse upon verse. It takes a faith and works mix to stay on track and to stay friutful.
Faith Plus Works Equals a Hit Text: James 2:14-26
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ”And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she 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.
In this latter part of the chapter, the apostle shows the error of those who rested in a bare profession of the Christian faith, as if that would save them, while the temper of their minds and the tenour of their lives were altogether disagreeable to that holy religion which they professed. To let them see, therefore, what a wretched foundation they built their hopes upon; it is here proved at large that a man is justified, not by faith only, but by works.
So does Paul’s writings in Romans and James writings bring conflict? No, here are two men that would stand back to back in the old western movies in a show down at high noon and they would start counting steps and as they reached to the count of ten they would both stay back to back and shot all the bad enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ together!
In-fact, let’s just look at one of the writings of Paul in Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”. (There we are, he has stated it so clearly: we cannot be saved from sin and restored to right-standing before God by ANYTHING we might DO — it’s not of works — we can only be saved by the grace of God when we cast all our trust upon Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
NOW LISTEN TO THE VERY NEXT VERSE, Ephesians 2:10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Being saved by grace is a rock solid fact, but after salvation comes the very fruit that every new believer is given. The indwelling fruit that comes directly from the grace of God is now for the very purpose of helping others through works!
James 2:14-17What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
How many of you have heard of the great tightrope walker, Jean Francois Gravelot, a French aerialist, who called himself "The Great Blondin? He was one of the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, and there are many legends told of feats he performed. One of the most often told stories of Blondin is of his crossing over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He reportedly did that several times. At some point he turned to his large audience, which included numerous reporters from various newspapers, and he asked them, “How many believe I can walk across this tightrope over the Falls pushing a wheelbarrow?” People cheered loudly — they were sure the great Blondin could do it. Then he asked, “How many believe I can push a wheelbarrow across the tightrope with a man sitting in it?” Again, there was a loud response. Blondin then pointed to one of the most enthusiastic men in the audience, and said, “Okay, you get into the wheelbarrow.” Needless to say, the man made a quick exit. Blondin demonstrated that there is often a great difference between the faith we SAY we have, and the faith we really have. The measure of our faith is NOT our “talk” — it’s our “walk!”