Faith and Works – James 2:14-17

James 2:14-17 

[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

[15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

[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?

[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Last week’s message Galatians 13:11-14, entitled Justified by Faith, showed us that Paul taught “we are saved by faith alone”.

This week’s post is focused on a piece of scripture that is often misunderstood. James, believed to be the 1/2 brother of Jesus, is NOT contradicting Paul. James is NOT saying that faith AND good works are the way to God. Some even profess that James is saying that only good works will get us to heaven. Not so!

James was telling the people of the Jewish Council (Christians) that we ARE saved by faith alone, but he takes it one step further. He says that once saved, our hearts should be changed as we are totally a new being. He asks the question, “are we authentically saved if we are not following it up with good works?”

We are told to be the extension of Jesus Christ here on earth. We are to be his hands and feet and a servant to others. If Jesus is actually in us, then we should be growing in love every day and if we are growing in love, then it ought to be showing in how we live and how we treat others.

James gives us an example. If someone has a need of clothes or food, etc. and we tell them to “trust in the Lord” or perhaps we say “I’ll pray for you, go in peace”, how has that helped the persons situation?

James wants us to understand that as Christians, if we do not follow up our salvation with works, then chances are, we have NOT really become a new person in Christ; have we?

Did we really accept Jesus into our being or did we just say some words and NOT truly believe with our hearts?

I suggest the message James was trying to get across was; if there is some way we can actually help others and don’t, do we genuinely have salvation or do we just have a worthless faith?

Jehovah – Tsidkenu,

Father, The Lord of Righteousness

I ask in the name of Jesus that I have the kind of faith that James was talking about here. Yes, I have accepted Jesus by faith but now Lord, I ask that you allow me to grow in that faith the way you intended.

By “serving” others the way Jesus did, will show that I am growing in my faith. Lord, it’s my desire to grow in you every day, to please you by my works, to honour you and to give you all the glory.

In the name of The Lord Jesus Christ, my saviour.

Amen

Martin Luther said – “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

Justified by Faith – Galatians 3: 11-14

Galatians 3:

[11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
[12] And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
[13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Definitions:

Justification

The act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.

Paradise (also known as Abraham’s Bosom) –

A place (of blessings) in Sheol, for those faith believers of God, during the Old Testament times. Because Christ had not been born and crucified, he was not able to take their sins. This meant they could not go to heaven, into the presence of God, at that point in time.

After His death, Jesus went to Paradise and took the OT believers to Heaven. Paradise was then closed.

Every person (with faith in Jesus), from then on, will immediately be in the presence of The Lord, upon death.

Law 

The Law is God’s instructions concerning the moral, social, and spiritual behavior of His people found in the first five books of the Bible.

Gentile 

It is generally taught in the Christian churches of North America, that the world is divided into three main religious groups – Jews, Gentiles and Christians.

The modern definition of a “gentile” is: “relating to the nations at large, as distinguished from the Jews.”

Faith

A belief and trust and loyalty to God.

Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.

Firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

God was (and is) looking for faith in Him, not merely law keeping and doing good works. Faith in Jesus is what gives us salvation.

Back in Abraham’s day, (Old Testament) many of his people were justified (cleansed of their sins in order to get into Paradise) through faith they had in God. They got into paradise because they listened to Abraham; believed, had faith in and worshipped The True God.

However, many people of that day continued to live only by the law and were lost. The law requires unwavering obedience, which man cannot do!

The Bible tells us that once Jesus was crucified on the cross everything changed. Our faith today must be in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Christ bought us with his blood. He was sin-free but he took our sin and was crucified, on the cross (tree) in our place. He suffered what he did NOT deserve and died to take away our sins.

We will not be saved by the Law. We will not be saved by doing good works, by animal sacrifice or being a descendant of Abraham, but by our faith alone. Faith in Christ Jesus!

Almighty God

Thank you for sending your only begotten Son to earth to become our Saviour.

Thank you that we do not get saved by good works and obeying the law. We are sinners and no amount of living by rules and regulations could atone for the times we fail. No one on this earth would ever make it to Heaven, if that were the path.

Thank you Lord that once saved, believers do their best to live by the Mosaic rules and regulations and many good works are done by and for people.

Thank you that Gentiles are now included in the promises you made to Abraham. Thank you that many people of all nations are accepting you, as their Saviour.

And most of all Father, thank you that you have given ALL people an EASY way to come to you – through faith and a personal relationship in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, our Redeemer.

Thank you that everyone who declares Jesus as Lord, has true faith and asks for forgiveness of sins, can join your family for eternity.

In His holy and precious name, I pray,

Amen

No one can be counted sinless without Jesus.

Signs of the End Times – Luke 21: 24-28

Luke 21:24-28 KJV

[24] And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

[26] Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

[27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great

[28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

There was a time in the past, when the Christians in Jerusalem fled for safety, across the Jordan River to a city named Pella. None of the Christians were killed by Romans because they followed the advice of Jesus and left Jerusalem before the Romans arrived.

We see however in Luke 21:24, non-Christians and Jews did not pay attention to Jesus’ warnings and the Romans killed all of the Jewish people that had remained in Jerusalem. Jesus had given people the warning, but not all chose to listen.

The same is happening today. Jesus told us that he is coming again and that we need to be ready. Christians are paying attention and obeying His Word, but many others are not.

Some authors believe all of these verses are referring to past events when the Roman armies arrived and destroyed Judea.

However, most scholars agree that the author Luke, has changed his view at verse 25 to tell of things to come – signs referring to Jesus’ second coming: still; today a future event.

Luke tells us that there will be many signs signalling that the end times are drawing near. They will be seen in the heavens, moon and stars.

We know that the moon can affect the earth. For instance, the moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth is the main cause of the rise and fall of ocean tides.

Lately we have been witnessing many tidal waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos erupting, climate changes, forest fires, etc. Could these events be the beginning of what verse 25 is speaking of?

Astrologers have been following the signs in the skies (blood moons, eclipses, alignment of stars) and are sharing their findings that line up with The Biblical Word.

Verse 26 declares that “men will faint from fear and anxiety over what is coming upon the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken”.

Today, we have a small glimpse of what is going to grow and get worse. We all seem to sense that a larger crisis will eventually arrive. It’s as if we are all holding our breath, just waiting for the “big catastrophes” to start taking place.

Whether they start with homes along the coastal fault lines falling into the ocean, tidal waves, hurricanes, wars or even diseases, is not known. Although all of these situations are already happening, we “instinctively feel” that something bigger is just sitting on the horizon!

What does the Bible tell us of the signs that the Tribulation (beginning of End Times) is near?

  • People will be deceiving one another.
  • Wars will break out – not only country against country but people against people.
  • Terrorism everywhere
  • Uprisings and riots
  • Shootings – today crowds are being targeted for no reason (bullying is a big reason for children shooting other children)
  • Famines – weather wrecking crops, prices of food rising daily, there are more people using food banks or going hungry than ever before.
  • Diseases – look what is happening right now (Jan 2018) with the flu bug. Those with the flu are dying as well as their caregivers. Schools are being closed while being disinfected. Diseases of all kinds are running rampant.
  • Disasters such as tidal waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos erupting, climate changes, forest fires, etc. are everyday occurrences.
  • Disloyalty – people are betraying each other, even friend against friend and family member against family member
  • Economic Trouble – Governments (and officials) are no longer trusted, stealing from the top down is happening, countries are deep in debt, people’s jobs are being replaced with machines with no other means of income available.
  • Sin – sex is rampant and will continue to run wild. An example is to look at the news today. Even top officials are being accused and convicted of multiple sexual misconducts and rapes.

The above events are not going to get better – they will only become worse as time goes by. And soon the Prophecies of Revelation 6 will begin.

Luke 21:26 is speaking of times which will be the most horrendous time ever, the time just prior to Jesus’ second coming. Jesus has assured those (who have come to Jesus during the Tribulations) believers who are still alive during the great tribulation, to be ready because He is coming to end all of the calamity. He will take those who have been faithful during the Tribulation with him to glory.

How should we be living right now? “Accept Jesus as your Saviour” so that you can be taken at the rapture and you will not have to endure the seven years of Tribulation.

Live your life now in obedience to God.

Heavenly Father

Matthew 24:14 tells us that when the “Gospel is preached to the whole world – and then the end shall come”.

With radio, TV, internet, etc., today’s technology make this prophecy a reality to be seen worldwide.

No matter where in the world we are, the Gospel of Jesus can be seen or heard.

I believe this shows us that we are living in the final days before Jesus comes.

I pray for those who don’t know you Lord. I pray that as people all over the world hear about you, they will come to you.

I pray for eyes to be opened to see, for ears to hear, for minds to understand that there is only a short time left before judgement day, to realize that Jesus is waiting for them to repent and become a member of Gods family forever. I pray that many will find you before it’s too late.

I know Father that you are not wanting for anyone to perish and some think that you are delaying too long. But I believe Father that you are patient and waiting for those last “few” to change their hearts. Thank you Lord for your grace. 2 Peter 3:9

Father, I thank you for your love, that whomever comes before you, asking for forgiveness of their sins, will find mercy and grace through Jesus Christ.

In the Holy name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I pray

Amen