Archive for May 18, 2014
“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17 (NASB)
If faith is divinely given (as Ephesians 2:8 indicates), it would manifest its mighty effects; for salvation is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). From Ephesians 3:17-19 we learn that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, that we are “rooted and grounded in love” and “know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge”; and those who have Christ abiding in their hearts would show forth His love and never say to a destitute brother, “Go in peace” (James 2:16).
According to James, a faith which responds in the manner suggested in verses 15 and 16 is dead faith; “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?” Just as truly as we are saved by faith, and without faith a man’s works are dead, so “faith if it has no works, is dead.”
What does James mean by “dead” faith? We know there is a faith unto salvation, a living faith; but there is also a faith not unto salvation. Real saving faith is more than merely believing that there is a God. There are millions of people who believe there is a God but who have never believed in Him unto salvation; this is mere head belief and is not a living, saving faith. It is dead faith–for “with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness” (Romans 10:10). If we have faith in Jesus Christ–a real living faith–works just must follow; they will follow; it is impossible for them not to follow.
Someone has said that faith is the “root,” and works are the “fruit.” A person is in error who testifies that he has exercised faith unto salvation and yet bears no fruit at all. All born again believers bear some fruit, for where there is spiritual life there is, of necessity, some evidence of that life in fruit-bearing.