Summary: What is real faith? James talks about 3 types of faith. 2 are false and one is true.
Real Faith Really Works
The faith that is dead (v. 14-17)
The faith of the demons (v. 18-19)
Intellectual and emotional
The faith that is dynamic (v. 20-22, 24, 26)
Intellectual, emotional, and willful
Rahab (v. 25)
Well, it is summer time and the vacation season is upon us.
People will be traveling to vacations destinations around the country over the next month or so. We will be traveling west to the Rocky Mountains, one of the Lords’ spectacular creations.
Some may be traveling east to other popular destinations. One place that many honeymooners used to travel that is a spectacular creation of the Lord is Niagara Falls, which is between New York and Canada.
About 150 years ago, there was actually a man who crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope. His name was Charles Blondin.
When he came to America and saw the Niagara Falls, he became obsessed with crossing them on a tightrope. That he did in 1859 for the first time.
From 1859 to 1860, he crossed the Niagara Falls 8 times performing different antics on the tightrope.
Once he balanced a chair on the tightrope and stood on it.
Another time, he took pictures of the crowd while balanced on the tight rope.
He cooked a meal on a small portable cooker and lowered it to the amazed passengers on the Maid of the Mist below.
He even took a wheel barrow across and once carried his manager on his back across the falls.
The story is told that when people had seen him take the wheel barrow across and even his manager on his back, he asked the people attending if they thought he could do it again. They all cheered that they thought he could. He asked them if they thought he could take a man in the wheelbarrow and cross Niagara Falls. They shouted even louder that they thought he could do it. Then, it is told that he asked the crowd, who wants to get in? There were no cheers this time, only silence.
There is a great difference between
believing something in your head and
believing something with your actions.
Turn with me to James 2:14-26.
We are going to see that James has a lot to say about a belief and a faith that does not produce action in our lives. In fact we are going to see that a real faith really works.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If 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? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But 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. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 In 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? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
This section of Scripture has been one of the more controversial sections of Scripture throughout history.
It is controversial because it seems to contradict what Paul says.
Romans 3:28-For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
James 2:24 - You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
Wow, that seems pretty opposite, in fact it almost seems to be a different gospel that James is preaching.
I would argue that Paul and James are not preaching different gospels. They, in fact, are preaching the same gospel and believe the same things, as the same Holy Spirit has inspired them both.