Last week we saw the sin of discrimination in the church, this week we will see that “saving faith” will also show up in our actions.
One of the greatest tragedies in the Church today is that we see so many confess the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior but there is then no change in their behavior nor their character.
This absolutely cannot be true, if we obey the Word of God!
We must first answer this question that Jesus ask us all:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Christianity is not a matter of opinion.
Christianity is not a matter of feeling.
Christianity is a matter of life!
Christianity is being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Christianity must be what we are and what we are shows up in what we do!
Christianity is in obedience and not in a feeling, nor is it an opinion!
So what is true saving faith?
*****Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Everyone has faith of some kind even the Atheist who say there is no God.
It is the object of that faith and the results of that faith is what makes the true “saving faith” valid!
James asks us all, what profit do we obtain from our faith?
If we were in a business and had made an investment we would expect at some time to see a profit.
To be saved is to have made an investment in the Word of God!
We must ask ourselves:
1) Do I truly believe the Words that God has given to me?
2) Do I really trust in God’s promises?
3) If I believe what God says then what does He expect of me?
4) What is the profit I receive from my faith?
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth”.
The Lord Jesus said that He was the truth.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The truth is, that what we believe in our hearts will make itself known in our actions!
The profit of this truth is that the Lord Jesus Christ is our salvation and our eternal life.
Jeremiah wrote to the Jews that there is no profit in lies.
Jer 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
So what is true saving faith?
Even in the early church there were those that claimed a saving faith but they were not saved.
Jesus has these words for all those:
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Jesus says that a person of faith will produce some fruit.
When saved we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the fruit, not the fruits, is this:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
And there is more fruit:
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And Jesus adds these words:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he “that doeth” the will of my Father which is in heaven.
You see, it is not what we say that makes us saved, it’s what we do with our faith after we are saved that is the proof of saving faith!
Even Jesus teaches us that just to say we believe is not enough, our belief in the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior must show also in our actions.
Again this is the greatest tragedy in the church today!
James gives us an example.
*****Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister “be” naked, and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16 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?
In this example of James the terms brother or sister, let us know that these are all fellow Christians who are all bound by God’s Word to help others in a time of need if we are able.
That word “be” in verse 15, means we know about this need and/or we are aware of this and know this to be true.
That word “be” also tells us that we have it in our means to offer that help and have not already done so.
In other words we have witnessed with our own eyes that this person is certainly in this position of need.
That word “destitute” means that his lack of nourishment is showing up in his health. It is noticeable for all to see.
This fellow brother or sister in Christ is lacking nourishment and has been for awhile and has reached a point in their lives that they sincerely need some help and they have approached you, honoring you also as a child of God and fellow Christian.
They would have had to humble themselves greatly in order to do this.
You already know what they are, “now” they will see what you are and the truth will show up in your actions.
This is not even a stranger from another assembly but you both attend the same house of God and live in the same neighborhood.
God says to love thy neighbor as thyself.
But what we see is a “faith” that has not resulted in a changed life!
There is nothing wrong with praying for those in need.
There is nothing wrong with wishing for prosperity and happiness for them.
There is nothing wrong with praying that they will be warmed and filled with all the accommodations of this life.
Food and clothing are the basic needs of life in this world we live in now.
In fact God says this:
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But we also know that we have more than what we actually need.
The wrong comes when you have it within your own power to help, especially those that are brothers and sisters in Christ, but you refuse to do so.
You know you have some clothes you can spare.
You know you have food in your cupboard that you can spare.
You know you have the time to even prepare them a hot meal while they warm them selves at your fire.
You know you have the means to help them but your “so called faith” has not profited them at all.
Your faith then has no works!
And James says.
*****Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
What is dead faith?
Any declaration of faith that the Lord Jesus Christ can forgive us of our sins and this does not result in a changed life and good works, is a false declaration of faith!
True saving faith can never be alone because it will also bring with it a new life and that new life will bring forth with it, good works!
This person may know in his mind the doctrine of salvation but he has never submitted himself to the Lord Jesus Christ for His work, nor does he even trust God for his salvation!
True faith in Jesus Christ brings life eternally.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, “but have everlasting life”.
And where that new life exists there will be first growth and then fruit.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
We know that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that justifies us before God, but that faith can never be alone, that faith will always bring with it good works.
We certainly have a right as Christians, to believe that a profession of faith which does not bring a changed life may be an empty profession!
This is not being a judge of others!
Remember it is the Word of God that must our mirror.
We also know that only God knows who is saved because God can see into the heart of the believer!
And James continues:
*****Jas 2:18 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.
Genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation will indeed produce fruit that demonstrates it’s reality!
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus “unto good works”, which God hath before ordained that “we should walk in them”.
By that same faith we are to walk in good works after salvation!
This is a command of God and not a request!
God saved us so that we can show forth the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This is the only job God has given us to do!
James never says that good works produce salvation!
James never says that faith plus good works can save!
James does say that good works will always be a part of true saving faith!
*****Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
We already know that James was writing mainly to the Jews.
The main difference between the Jewish religion and that of other nations was the fact of monotheism as opposed to polytheism as all other nations of that day believed.
Even now there are only 3 monotheistic faiths.
1) Orthodox Judaism.
2) Orthodox Islam.
3) Orthodox Christianity.
That word “orthodox” simply means those that believe the genuine doctrine of their own scriptures.
In Christianity it means that we must accept the complete Word of God!
All other religions are structured around evolutionary pantheism and not one of these pagan beliefs are never condoned in the Bible.
The Jews believe in Jehovah God, but not Jesus Christ.
In Islam their faith is in the writings of Muhammad, not Jehovah God, nor Jesus Christ.
The true Christian places their faith in Jehovah God who came to this Earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Messiah!
James said it was good to be Monotheistic but even that is not sufficient enough for salvation!
Only Christianity acknowledges that our Creator will also be our Redeemer!
And James adds that even the devils(demonic beings) believe in the one God Jehovah and they tremble in fear of Him yet they will never be saved!
The Devil can neither love the Lord nor will he ever obey the Lord!
Satan has made his choice and Satan knows his particular ending.
The “Burning Lake Of Fire” was created for Satan.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, “prepared for the devil and his angels”:
Any human being that ends up in this place has chosen to be there themselves and have only themselves to blame.
*****Jas 2:20 “But wilt thou know”, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Many people today say that James was conflicting with the Apostle Paul but James received these words from the Holy Spirit many years before Paul had written any of his epistles.
And we should never forget these words:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
It is the Word of God that is our guideline for “good works”!
Actually there is no conflict “at all” in the writings of Paul and these of James.
James taught that by the works of the law no one could be saved!
Paul clearly taught that genuine faith would produce good works!
Salvation must be by the “Grace” of God, and accepted by “Faith”.
Since no one can earn salvation and only God can see into the heart of the believer, then only God can know for sure who is saved and who is not.
But it is a fact, that the reality of that “faith” can only be demonstrated to others by “good works”!
So the truth that James states is that faith without good works is a dead faith!
These are all facts of Scripture!
Then James refers to the faith of Abraham giving us an example.
*****Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Just so we can be sure let’s see what the Apostle Paul wrote:
(Rom 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; “but not before God”.)
These two verse may seem to contradict each other but they do not.
Abraham was raised in Ur, a place of pagan worship and he left that place and obeyed the One true God, Jehovah.
Abraham had not been seeking God nor did he deserve any gift of God! (A picture of Grace)
Abraham accepted God at His Word and this was the object of his faith. (A picture of faith)
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, “when he was called” to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, “obeyed”; and “he went” out, not knowing whither he went.
Abraham left his fallen state behind in Ur, to live by faith as a man in a strange land. (A picture of being “Born Again”)
Abraham was then justified in the sight of God. (Once justified forever justified)
Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
James words do not conflict with this statement of Paul!
James simply says, was not Abraham justified “before men”, when he offered up his son Isaac.
Abraham was justified, before God by his faith and his obedience to God after he was already righteous in the eyes of God!
This took place when Abraham left Ur in search for that Heavenly City of God!
These good works of Abraham followed after after his righteousness before God!
There is no conflict between the writings of Paul and the writings of James.
In fact there is no conflict in any of the scriptures in the Word of God!
It is by our good works, “that our faith is made perfect” in the eyes of God and the eyes of those that are always watching, you if you claim to be a Christian!
*****Jas 2:23 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.
The scripture was not “confirmed” but “the scripture was fulfilled”.
Fulfilled means, the Word of God was executed just as God said!
Confirmed would mean that the Word of God was only established.
It’s very important for us to realize that “all” the Word of God “will be fulfilled” just as God says and just as it is written.
It will be the same for us as it was for Abraham!
Abraham did not just believe in God, but Abraham believed every Word that God had said to him.
Gen 15:6 And “he believed” in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Abraham believed the Words that God said, the promises that God had made.
The Word of God was not an “act” of Abraham’s faith, the Word of God was the “object” of Abraham’s faith!
It was not the promise that Abraham believed, Abraham believed all the things that were promised!
Abraham believed that he would have a seed and a very numerous seed while he also believed that the Messiah would spring forth from his seed.
Abraham believed in the end result as if it was already in his possession!
This is what we are all to do!
This is faith’s true meaning!
We are not just to believe the promises that God makes, but we are to accept the complete fulfillment of those promises to a point, “where we can act on them while we are still living”.
Abraham had no problem offering up Isaac as requested by God because Abraham knew that God had plans for Isaac that would be fulfilled no matter what was done to him.
Abraham believed that God would have to resurrect Isaac by some means if he killed his only son! (A picture of Jesus)
Abraham was justified by his faith way before he was justified by his works!
This is the same faith God expects from us all!
This is the faith that brings righteousness before God!
This is saving faith!
This faith comes from considering the Word of God in our own minds and making the decision that it is the Word of God that is real and our own thoughts are vain!
It is this seed of Abraham who can also be “friends with God”.
Jesus said it this way:
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, “if ye do whatsoever I command you”.
Joh 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
True “faith” is accepting the end result of the promises of God as complete but we just haven’t reached them yet, just as Abraham did.
The results of this faith is that we are to be busy about the work of God and we must leave our old life behind as already dead!
Born Again means an immediate change!
So we should begin to see these things clearly.
*****Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
The faith that justifies, must include obedience to the “Royal Law” of the Lord as we studied last week.
But all these things do not happen at once.
We must first have saving faith which brings Salvation.
We must grow in the Word of God which brings Sanctification, to come out from among our old ways and those of the world we live in.
And the object of our faith will be Glorification, the day we meet Christ Jesus.
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Our works can only begin when we can separate ourselves and our works from those of this world.
James gives us another example.
*****Jas 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?
It should be observed that Rahab was a known harlot.
This was her trade, her means of making a living.
Her trade was legal, condoned, and even participated in by the standards of her ruling government but illegal in the eyes of God.
Just as I am now, Rahab was a the chief of sinners in her family.
But God’s amazing “Grace” can save the chieftest of sinners, praise the Lord.
Rahab had received the spies and the messengers of Joshua into her house and believed God’s Word.
(Remember Joshua in the Greek is Jesus)
Rahab showed her faith in her confession to God’s messengers.
Jos 2:9 And she said unto the men, “I know that the LORD” hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
Jos 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: “for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath”.
Even Rahab knew she could not loose her salvation!
Then Rahab showed her “faith” by her works in helping God’s people.
Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them “that believed not”, when she had received the spies with peace.
Rahab did not have a dead faith!
Rahab had a faith that worked in love, by the Word of God!
*****Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Faith is a spiritual thing!
Works are material things!
Where true faith abides, then God will also abide.
It is the Holy Spirit of God who gives eternal life.
God’s love will cause actions from each born again body that did not exist before salvation came.
What is the “Divine Principle”?
The more we exercise our faith in Christ Jesus, the more we will believe.
The more we believe the more “faith” we will receive.
The more “faith we receive, the more we are able to work for the Lord.
The more we work for the Lord, the more we increase our faith.
And this cycle should continue until the day God calls us home!
It is our works after salvation that show our growth in the Lord!
Just as the body without the Spirit is dead, then faith without works is also dead!
Saving faith begins when we believe that there is a God!
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
If we cannot believe that God exists then we will remain lost in this dying world!
Because no amount of good works can get you to Heaven!