Skip to main content

James 2:20: Do You Want To Be Shown, You Foolish Person, That Faith Apart From Works Is Useless?

James 2:20
[20] Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? (ESV)

There is some strong language here in this verse. James is challenging the one whom he calls a foolish person. Likely there would have been some people in the church that were being misled by a false understanding of faith. James is ready to set the record straight. The one who thinks they can have faith apart from works is a fool!

In many of our churches today, James would be controversial, even offensive. I am sure that there would be people who would resign their membership and join the Church of the Happy Handshake down the road. I mean, after all, how dare someone tell them that they are a fool? They go to church to have someone make them feel good!

James makes a distinction here between a genuine faith that is alive vs. a dead, ineffective, useless faith that has no works. It seems that one of the things that the church is good at is declaring that God loves us and wants to offer his grace to sinners. However, we need to also tell people that if they are going to place their faith in God and receive this grace, there is a need for repentance.

Repentance is a work that is connected with genuine faith. We are to turn to God and turn away from our sins. If someone claims that their faith is genuine yet continues to walk in every single sin with no remorse or change you can be sure that the faith they are claiming is dead, ineffective, even useless.

Are you a fool? Or are you faithful? Is the faith that you claim to have accompanied with action? If you claim to have placed your faith in Christ, have you repented of your sin?


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