Skip to main content

James 2:14: What Good Is It, My Brothers, If Someone Says He Has Faith But Does Not Have Works?


James 2:14
[14] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (ESV)

We assume that faith is always good, don't we? I have heard people say, "Well, as long as you have faith, that's all that matters." A good question to ask when someone claims that all we need is some kind of faith is, "Faith in what?" Faith is irrelevant if it does not have an object. We have faith in something or someone.

In the context of this verse James is referring to saving faith in God. The object of faith is God. James goes further than just question the object of a person's faith. Here he questions also the genuineness of their faith in God. James is concerned about those who have false confidence. They may think that they are right with God, and even claim to have faith, but that faith is false.

James makes the claim that the person whose faith will not save him has no works. At first glance this verse seems to contradict a fundamental truth of Scripture that we are saved by the grace of God, and not by works. In fact, there was a time when the great Martin Luther referred to the book of James as a "book of straw," because he was offended by this verse.

What does James mean then by insisting on works accompanying our faith. Very simply, James is not suggesting that works, in any way, save us. James is talking about works being the evidence that we have genuinely received the grace of God's salvation by genuine faith. We can put it this way, "We are not saved by works, but we are saved to do good works!"

Faith that is genuine is evidenced by works. Do you claim to have faith in God? Is there any evidence by your actions? Ask the Lord to help you answer this very important question.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14 [14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV) The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers. Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church. This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to t

Romans 15:22: This Is The Reason Why I Have So Often Been Hindered From Coming To You.

Romans 15:22 [22] This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. (ESV) Paul was quite the traveler. As an Apostle to the Gentiles his task was literally to take the Gospel to the entire known world at the time. Many of the Epistles that Paul writes are letters written to places where he has already been. He preached the Gospel, many were saved, churches were planted, and Paul moved on to a new area. Rome was a place that Paul had never been to. He writes this entire letter to people whom he had never met. As an Apostle to the Gentiles he wanted to give them the good solid teaching they needed to grow in their faith. Likely, someone who was converted on the Day of Pentecost went back to Rome and first shared the Gospel there. Paul says that he has been often hindered from coming to Rome. He could have argued that all kinds of circumstances would not permit him to get to Rome. Paul would not have blamed circumstances. He would have understood that it w