“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14). A true biblical saving faith in Jesus Christ will always be demonstrated by the way we live our life. Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees to bring forth fruits that prove their faith; their Jewish heritage had no eternal value (Matthew 3:7-12). Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Jesus said He doesn’t know the people who say to Him, “Lord, Lord,” and continues to practice evil (Matthew 7:21-23). True believers in Jesus Christ will abide in His word (John 8:31-32). Believers in Jesus Christ are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); and their ungodly lifestyle is gone forever.
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:15-17). Saying Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior doesn’t necessarily prove a thing, words can be cheap; your faith should have actions that corresponds to what you’re declaring. Helping the poor and needy has always been the custom of God’s people. “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17). “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). True biblical faith will go the extra mile to help other people (Matthew 5:41-42). Just saying that we have saving faith in Jesus Christ while ignoring the needs of other people goes against true biblical faith. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” True biblical faith is not selfish, but considers the needs of other people (Philippians 2:1-4).
“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20). I’ve heard people say they believe in a higher power, or they believe in “a” God. But that only proves they’re not a fool (Psalm 14:1), it doesn’t prove anything about their faith! The demons know Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and they will end up in the lake of fire (Matthew 8:28-34). Just saying Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, with no commitment to live your life to please God, demonstrates that your faith is not true biblical faith! True faith produces works that pleases God.
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only’” (James 2:21-24). “Justified” means to be right with God. Abraham demonstrated his faith when he obeyed God’s orders to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22:1-15). Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead even if he sacrificed him (Hebrews 11:17-19). “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’” (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3). Abraham is the example of true, living, and active faith for every believer in Jesus Christ. Abraham’s faith wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes just like we all do; but the overall direction of Abraham’s life was a strong faith in God that was demonstrated by his lifestyle.
“Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” (James 2:25). Rahab was saved by faith just like Abraham! Abraham was the father of the Jews, and Rahab was a Gentle. Abraham was a man who had divine guidance, and was a leader at the top of the social order. Rahab was a woman, total pagan, a prostitute, and had only indirect revelation about God. Both Abraham and Rahab are in the genealogy of Jesus Christ and listed in the heroes of faith (Matthew 1:2, 5; Hebrews 11:17-19, 31). Rahab’s lie was a sin and unnecessary from our human perspective—but we don’t know her heart, but God did! Rahab put her life on the line when she helped the spies. God knows our every thought and motive. God says, “My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Does going to church, studying the Bible, and singing Christian songs prove our faith? Not necessarily. Rahab demonstrated her faith in God when she risked her life to save the Jewish spies (Joshua 2). Moses, Joseph, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many others proved their faith by their actions. Are we so committed to Jesus Christ that we will sacrifice our own hopes, dreams, ambitions, and risk our own life to be true to our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). Can you say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Jim Elliot, who was killed while working to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador, wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Do you have that kind of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?