Summary: About your faith showing itself through your works.
Saved by a Faith That Works
We need to understand that good deeds do not save us. Likewise, good beliefs do not save us. But what saves us is a faith that rests in Christ Jesus; His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven; a faith that shows itself in works. For the bible declares that faith without works is dead and without faith it is impossible to please God.
(Tell story about the Great Blondin)
A lot of us say I believe, I believe; but how many of us are willing to get into God’s wheel barrel?
I get into many conversations with people who say they are Christians, and I am amazed at how their faith in God works:
• Some tell me they believe in God but are not sure of what part Jesus plays in it if any.
• Some tell me that God exists, but faith is this magical thing that happens because you are a good person.
• Some tell me that the bible is written by man and so it has some contradictions, so they just pick and chose out of the bible what works for they philosophy in life.
• Some tell me that they believe in God and that is good enough.
In listening to these people and looking at the way us so-called Christians act. I find that most of our faith only lives at the surface. It is not a faith that is rooted in the core of our being. It is a faith that only works when it appeals to us, when we don’t have to give up our life and activities to serve God. It is the kind of faith that a person can look you right in the eye and say “I’m done with my service for the Lord for today, now I’m going home to watch basketball.”
So this tells me that we have a fake-faith. It’s not the real belief as the bible says, but something that we shape and mold to fit our lifestyles.
James chapter 2 tells us what real faith is. This chapter points out that there is a phony faith…a devils faith you might say. And it tells what real saving faith is.
(Read James 2:14-26)
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.“
(Tell subject of sermon)
In these verses James is telling us that a true saving faith is the kind of faith that shows itself in the works you do after you are saved by His grace.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
In these verses Paul kicks off our understanding of a saving faith by letting us know that it is God’s grace first and foremost that has allowed us to sit here and believe anything. And that it is not anything you have done, thought about doing, or ever will do that allows you to be saved. But it is a gift of God alone offered to us in Christ by the gospel; and is received by faith alone, without the merit of your works.
Now James comes in with his two-cents and tells us that ok you have some faith but what good is it if it is not producing any good fruits? When is it going to get you in God’s eyes if your faith is all talk but no action? He tells you that it is dead, being alone, of no use to you in your race toward your soul salvation. He says that our faith in Christ Jesus produces works and the two together that lets us know we are saved by a faith that works.