Summary: James talks about three kinds of faith.
a. There is a large controversy between Faith and Works. Many churches say you must have works to get to heaven, others say it is “Faith Alone” that saves.
i. Paul states in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For if is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that nor of yourselves, if is a gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
ii. How can James and Paul contradict each other? They don’t! The Compliment each other.
b. When Paul talks about works, he is usually talking about the “works of the law.” James uses the term works to describe “works of God.”
i. Paul and James had two different audiences.
1. Paul’s audience was struggling with the Law and Salvation.
2. James’ audience was content with a simple belief with no actions.
ii. Paul explains that it is the faith that saves only by the grace of God.
iii. Paul makes it clear that the works of the law cannot earn someone salvation.
iv. James defines the faith that Paul is talking about.
1. Here James mentions 3 types of faith.
II. Distinguishing Faith (James 2:14-18)
a. James tells us that it is our works that tell others who we are.
i. Our works define our faith.
b. James uses an illustration of a brother or sister is need.
1. It is our works that show what our faith is in.
b. James says that our works define our faith.
III. Disguising Faith (James 2:19-20)
a. James here mentions a type of Faith that even the demons have.
b. Many Christians today have this kind of faith.
i. The reason I call it disguising faith is because it disguises itself as genuine faith.
ii. It is a faith of simple knowledge. James shows that it is the works that separate the disguising from the actual faith.
IV. Developing Faith (James 2:21-24)
a. James describes this next faith with two examples.
1. “Faith was working with his works” James shows us that it is our works that develop our faith.
2. God used Abraham’s works to develop Abraham into the Man that God wanted him to be.
3. It was because of Abraham’s works that Abraham was called “Friend of God.”
b. Abraham is the only one in the Bible to be called Friend of God.
4. It was Abraham’s works that show his belief in God.
ii. Rahab the Harlot
1. Rahab showed her faith by receiving the messengers.
2. Rahab proclaimed her faith, but she showed it when she hid the spies.
iii. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Chirst Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
1. God wants us to walk in our good works. He uses those works to develop us spiritually.
V. How do we know our faith is real?
a. True faith is accompanied by works.
i. James mentions two types of works
1. Works of Compassion towards others.
a. These types of actions are mentioned in verses 15-16.
b. These works are simple task of helping out others.
c. It is possible to do these tasks without being a Christian.
2. Works of an obedient response to God’s commands.
a. These are the tasks the separate Christians from “good people.”
a. Paul and James do not contradict. James simply describes the faith that saves. It is faith that works.
i. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old is gone the new has come.”
b. 1 John 3:17-18, “But whoever has the world’s good and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.