Summary: An Expositional Series on the Book of James
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?