What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:1-17
I want my lifestyle and the sum of my ‘works’ in this world to be consistent with the love of God and commands of Jesus Christ. I hope there is much in my life that exemplifies and personifies what I believe. No one wants to be a hypocrite, right? James, in his beautiful letter, says that we should live out our faith by doing good works. He challenges us as believers that a faith merely articulated, absent of accompanying good works, is about as helpful as blessing someone without meeting their obvious needs. The two go hand in hand, in James’ philosophy. Remember, its not a guarantee that our good works will be enough to persuade a doubting world. But, it does bolster our witness. James, after all saw Jesus live perfectly consistent with His message- and yet, James waited until after the resurrection to put His trust in Him.
I think pastor John MacArthur stated is best when he described the relationship of faith and works. “Faith alone saves. But, faith that saves, is never alone.” It’s always accompanied by good works.
How about my life… do I walk the talk? What good works have sprung to life because of my faith in God?
Lord Jesus, as this day begins- You are my model in all things. I want to do as the apostle Paul wrote- I want to realize that “I am Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that I should walk in them”. Lead me into the good works You desire today.
Additional historical thought:
This is the book that Martin Luther thought less of that other New Testament books. He felt it competed with the great doctrines of sola fide, sola gratia – faith alone, grace alone. He wrote “For it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind” when compared to the gospel of John and the Pauline epistles. But what Martin Luther perhaps discounted is that when Christians live by more than platitudes and have good works consistent with their doctrine- it is a witness to the world and highly evangelistic.