Summary: The relation between faith and works in our Christian living.
Our text for today from James 2:14-26 (New International Version).
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[b] and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Let us examine verses 14-17. James is talking about a man who has faith but his faith is not accompanied by action. He says that kind of faith is a dead faith.
If we begin with definition, let us examine what is faith? From Hebrews 1:1-3 it is written:
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
We can understand that faith is believing in God and trusting in God.
Romans 10:17 says: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Let us hear one of the famous word of Christ then:
The Parable of the Sower
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear."
In this parable the seed is the word of God. It is the seed of faith that the worker of the kingdom has planted in human heart.
Now the condition of the ground represents the condition of human heart. Jesus wants us to have a good heart that receive the seed of faith and produces crops. The crops represents the fruit of the spirit.
That is why He says "He who has ears, let him hear."
In Jeremiah 4:3-4 it is written:
3 This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:
"Break up your unplowed ground
and do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,
circumcise your hearts,
you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it.
The reason He tells us the parable of the sower is so that we might be careful to study the scripture and apply it in our life and act based upon it so that in the end we will produce the kind of fruit that glorifies God.