Summary: James tells us that faith without works is dead. He is not saying Paul is wrong. Paul spoke about becoming a believer and follower of Christ, James is talking about behaving as a believer and follower of Christ. Out loud faith is not merely, words, thi
Intro: What does your faith say? That is the question you should ask yourself this morning as you listen to this message. What does your lifestyle say about the God you say you serve? James is clearly pulling no punches as He deals directly with living, abiding full life generating faith. Does your faith agree that God is God and you are not? Does your faith say that you’re saved by grace alone by faith alone not by works but for works. Is your faith one of hypocritical holiness or righteous action?
Before we try to break this passage down understand that James is not saying that works save. Number one he is not talking about works of the law. He is not talking about trying to keep the 613 laws and other requirements heaped onto people in Jesus’ day. He is talking about an outworking of the Holy Spirit of God that changes us into new creatures. I don’t treat my wife right because I have to, but because God is in the process of liberating me from myself and my sinful nature. I don’t discipline my children because I have to but because my father instructs me it is best for them to be trained and instructed to know Him. I don’t feed and clothe people because I have to but because it is what God recreated me to do!!! I don’t love you guys when you mess up or confess my sins when I fall because I have too but because I can and because it heals and my God covers it.
Too many of us are asking the same question as people asked in the Bible. What must I do to be saved? The response is always believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You don’t work to God he has already worked toward you. What you should ask is what should I do now that I know Jesus. You know what people usually ask me? How much should I give, how much does God want me to come to Church? How much translation, what can I do (least amount) to get to heaven.
Zodhiates, a Greek-American Bible Scholar remarks that
Christianity is not getting a few notions into our heads, but it is a change of the seat of all our affections and dispositions, a change of the heart. True, we begin with the head, but we travel to the heart, and from the heart we travel to the hand.
James is addressing a group of Jews who in practicing their faith may have believed works no longer have anything to do with faith. James is defeating the Devils ideas about faith in this passage.
The devil would love to lead you to believe one of two things. First Good deeds by themselves without faith in Christ will deliver you to the pearly gates and well done. Not true. Jesus said in Matthew 7:23. Depart from me you who do iniquity I knew you not. Jesus again connects believing faith and Christ like behavior. Second I believe in Jesus as my Savior but it has absolutely no impact on daily living, no relationship to God so-ever, no relationship to others based on Jesus work. That type of belief does not save. James wants us to not be deceived. He wants us to be delivered from the power of Sin and developed in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, “He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2.10 Our lives are to be lives bearing much fruit, why? Jesus the giver of life and bringer of fruit lives in us.