Summary: James is battling those who say you are saved by faith and can live as you want.
WILL YOUR FAITH GET YOU TO HEAVEN?
This is the passage that some people believe that James contradicts Paul. It seems on the surface that this is true. In Romans 3:28, Paul specifically says that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law. Yet we are told by James that it is by works that a man is justified and not by faith only. Paul uses Abraham as an example. But so does James yes Abraham as example to prove his point. Now on the surface it does seem that James is contradicting Paul. I think we are going to find that there is no contradiction at all but they compliment one another. James and Paul are actually battling different enemies. James and Paul are not standing toe to toe battling each other. They are standing back to back battling opposite foes. Paul is battling those battling those who say you have to work for your salvation. On the other hand James is battling those who say you are saved by faith and can live as you want. What I want to show you from James is that a faith that will take you to heaven is a faith that manifest itself in works. Paul talks about being justified before God. James talks about being justified before men. Both are important. The only way I am going to know you are saved is your faith manifest itself in good works. But preacher it doesn’t matter whether you know I am saved or not. No, you are right, but what if a lost person looks at how your faith manifest itself? Paul is talking about faith on the believing side. James talks about faith on the behavior side. James says that heaven going faith will always manifest itself.
Using the text found in James I want to show you what saving faith really is. Before I finish this message I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand weather your faith is genuine and real.
The first thing James teaches in our text is that SAVING FAITH IS A MATTER OF WORKS AS WELL AS WORDS. Look at verse 14. You can translate it this way; can that kind of faith save you? He is saying that a faith that does not manifest itself is not real faith. The key is the verse is “say”. He is saying that a man makes a profession of faith yet his daily living does not reveal it is genuine faith.
He uses an illustration to give meaning to his words. I will paraphrase what he is saying. If a person come and knocked my door and said I am hungry and hot can you help me. If I would say Lord bless you feed you and keep you cool and have a good day I will see you in the morning. What good is that going to do the person that comes to my house? I gave him religious words. But pious words can’t feed a person and keep him cool. James says that simple words aren’t enough. We have to demonstrate the reality of our faith in deeds. Saving faith is a matter of works as well as words. faith and works are like your legs. They just go together. You and I can’t walk properly without both legs. Its like two ores in a boat. Say you name one of the ores faith and the other works. You say today it looks like faith will do the job. So you take faith and begin to ore toward shore. You find you will just go in circles. Well it doesn’t look like faith is going to do the job. You put faith back into the boat and get out works. You begin to ore on the other side of the boat. Still you find you are just going in circles. But when you take both faith and works working together, you find you can get to the shore. Do the deeds of your life give evidence that you have had a saving experience with Jesus Christ?
Look at verse 19. We are just sort of going down the list in the text. To believe there is one God is good. any rational person will say I believe in one God. I did hear about an atheist arguing with a devout Quaker. The atheist said to the Quaker; “Have you ever seen God?” No. Have you ever felt God. No. Have you ever smelled God? No. Then how do you know there is a God. The Quaker said have you ever seen your brain? No. Have you ever felt your brain? No. Have you ever smelled your brain? No. Then how do you know you have a brain?