We’ve been studying James 2:14-26 on the issue of justification by faith. Or is it by works? The time has now come to walk briefly through the text itself. To do so I want to divide the text into three parts. Continue reading . . .
We’ve been studying James 2:14-26 on the issue of justification by faith. Or is it by works? The time has now come to walk briefly through the text itself. To do so I want to divide the text into three parts.
First, in vv. 14-17 James labors to demonstrate that a so-called “faith” that does not produce works of obedience and compassion and generosity and kindness is not saving faith. What good is it, he asks, if you say you have faith but there are no works? “Can THAT faith save him?” (James 2:14b). No, says James. “That” kind of faith is not saving faith and we know it isn’t saving faith because it is not a working faith. As you’ve heard countless times, faith alone justifies, but not the faith that is alone. James isn’t saying that you need works as the cause of your justification. He is saying that you need works as the consequence of your justification.
Second, in vv. 18-19 he provides yet another line of evidence to make his point. He puts forth a hypothetical discussion between two people. The principle here is the same: How do I know you have faith in the absence of works? If you have no works, if you have no desire to obey Jesus, if you fail to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on, how am I supposed to know you really have faith? Do you expect me simply to believe because you say so? Instead, let me demonstrate to you the reality of my faith precisely in the works that I love to do for the sake of God’s glory.
But someone objects: “Wait a