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.


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

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