Works Could be a Sign of Faith
Many times I have asked myself, after meeting someone; “I wonder if this person is saved?” Can you know if someone is saved? Maybe not, but there are in the Bible signs that accompany salvation that point in the direction of someone being saved.
The saved tax collector Matthew records this memorable saying of Jesus: 7:16-23
You shall know them by their fruits. … every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
So what are those Fruits?
The Apostle Paul, in considering evidence on one’s salvation states Gal 5:22-25:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, and temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Disciple Mark states: 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name:
• They shall cast out devils;
• they shall speak with new tongues;
• They shall take up serpents;
• and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them;
• they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
The Apostle John 13:34-35 said: A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
All these followers of Christ have recorded their witness of what Christ taught concerning evidences of salvation.
James, the brother of Christ, the Bishop of Jerusalem, also shares his half brother’s and Lord’s understanding of signs that accompany salvation.
James spent his whole childhood examining his half brothers life.
The one thing he can say that was obvious from living with his brother Jesus was that what you say with your words must be backed up by your actions, or you’re a liar.
So James opens with this question:
Question 1: Jam 2:14 What [does it] profit, my brethren (brothers and sisters), though a man say he has faith, and has not works? Can faith save him?
Pastor, I thought you taught that salvation comes “by faith alone?”
Then how is it that James appears to state? “Faith alone cannot save!”
If we were to quit reading here then it would appear there is error in the Bible and
that this scripture contradicts others.
But we must always read all scripture, in its context.
Many have wrongly thought that this passage in James contradicts the other
scriptures in the Bible, but it is a misunderstanding of James point.
James is the Bishop of the church at Jerusalem;
• every week He sees people show up for church,
• do their one day a week church thing, and then leave for the week,
• only returning the next week,
• never having taken part in the work of the church.
So James, Attempts to drive home a point to the congregation at Jerusalem.
“though a man say he has faith, and has not works? Can faith save him?”
In order to better understand James Point, let me rephrase his question
though a man says he has faith, but has no works to back it up;
Can what he believes to be faith, with no signs of works get him to heaven?”
James’ question is for the purpose of getting his congregation to consider
Their Christian walk?
• Are you sure you are going to Heaven?
• Are you sure of your salvation?
• We do not see any other evidence of it then the fact that you show up here every week?
So James gives them an example
Jam 2:15-16 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [you] warmed and filled; but you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [does it] profit?
• The Jerusalem church is impoverished at this point
• People are daily coming to the church looking for food, shelter, clothing
• Yet, those who are showing up for the weekly church service
o Are not showing up to help minister during the week
o Are not providing anything for these fellow believers
o Are just not involved
o Yet at weekly service are pretending to be part of the fellowship and part of the ministry.
On Sunday you see the naked, starving, hurting brother and sister at the service and say:
• Peace be to you
• Be warm
• Be filled
• But you give nothing
Answer 1 Jam 2:17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.
James Illustrates: Jam 2:18 Yea, a man may 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.
James may have been thinking back to something that happened between himself, Jesus, and their father Joseph; There is no proof that this is the case but Jesus told this story in Matthew 21:28-31
But what do you think? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not.
Which of the two did the will of his father? They answered him, The first.
Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots will enter into the kingdom of God before you.
Then James gives another Illustration 2: Jam 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
The devil and the demons angels believe in God, but they only obey when forced.
Question 2: Jam 2:20 But will (desire) you to know, O vain man, that faith without (apart from) works is dead? (i.e. Do you have a desire or the will to learn?)
Example: Jam 2:21-23 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? See you how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
• Our faith is verified through our willingness to give the best we have to God
• Our faith is verified through our willingness to loss everything we hold dear for the sake of following God
• Our faith is verified in turning lose of things we cannot keep anyway
Answer 2: Jam 2:24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Example: Jam 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?
• Rahab was justified in that she heard of the works of God, and out of fear turned her life over to the true God and was saved.
• Rahab lived in the wall of Jericho
• What happened to the wall of Jericho? It fell, but Rahab was spared
Jam 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
• Works do not produce salvation.
• But if you have salvation, works will follow your life.
• If you say you are saved, but your life does not have signs that accompany salvation, do not be deceived to think that you are saved.
• Repent of your sin, come to Christ and you shall be made whole.
• Then you will begin to see signs in your life that accompany salvation.
“For Greater Glory”