Faith Without Works Is Dead

Faith without works is dead is where the rubber meets the road. Faith Without Works Is Dead - James 2:20 - James 2:26


Faith without works is dead

James 2:14-20 and Romans 4:5

James 2:14-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith without works is said twice. It is said here in verse 20 (James 2:20) and verse 26 (James 2:26).

We also know that the Bible says …

Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Most people think that these two contradict themselves, but do they really do that?

Works and faith stand side-by-side. James and Paul talk about two different angles of faith.

Justification before God

Paul knew it wasn’t the works that saved us. He knew it was faith alone in Jesus Christ that saves us. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians was to demonstrate the righteousness of God. Paul knew was talking more about our justification before God. God looks at our heart!

Justification before men

Now James, who was a pastor in Jerusalem, was talking about how we view men to walk. Man will watch what we do. James was not talking about our standing before God but our standing before man. James knew that if we are saved, we should show fruit, as in proof is in the pudding, and people should see that we are not just hears, but doers of the Word of God. We are not perfect! But we can know our faith by watching our life.

[pullquote]faith without works is dead[/pullquote]

New Creation

How can man know that you are saved if you don’t have any works. They won’t see any difference between you and them and they won’t want to have what you have. There is a saying if there is no change, then there is no Christ. Remember Christ makes us a new creation. See 2 Corinthians 5:17. Jesus is the one that changes us, we don’t change and we cannot clean up ourselves then try to come to Him. Jesus is the one that does the changes. When Jesus changes us we will have belief and a change of behavior and desires. These new desires will make us want to work.

Real faith will produce love. You will have a concern for the needs of others too. We will want to see others saved. We will be unashamed and we will be bold. Examine your heart! Do you really care for others and the lost?

The Devil and Demons Believe

As stated above in verse 19 (James 2:19) shows us that even the demons and devil believes in God. They even tremble before God. The devil and the demons even believe in Jesus Christ. But the devil and demons don’t have works. Not to mention, the devil and demons don’t even have joy or peace. Anyone can believe just like the devil and demons. There are no atheist among the demons! Only the fool says there is no God. (Psalm 14:1) There are many people who think they are saved but are not. The Bible shows us this.

Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

These I would have to say is the scariest words in the Bible. Depart from me! That truly shows that many think they are saved but aren’t. There are many people in church that think they are a Child of God, but they are really lost and not saved. Simple believing doesn’t save you! It takes more than belief in God. Most people have enough faith to join a church as a church member, as in they can put on a show to man, but God is not fooled by that! We cannot fool God! God knows our heart! Remember even in the Bible when Jesus healed the people possessed by demons, the demons trembled and knew who He was.

[pullquote]James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works. Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation.1 [/pullquote]

Lordship in Christ

We just have a Lordship in Jesus Christ. That means we do what He says. The Bible says if we love Him, we will do what He says. See John 14:15-31. God is not impressed with orthodoxy (or doctrine) without obedience. Even Abraham was a great example of faith in God with works. He was gonna sacrifice his son. God saw his true faith and what we would do for Him, he provided the escape goat as a sacrifice. If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie! If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. (1 John 1:6-7). Even TobyMac shares this at the end of his song, “I’m For You”.  Also why do you call Jesus Lord, if you don’t do what He ask of us to do.

One thing to remember we cannot see other people’s hearts, but we can see each others obedience to God. Don’t be ashamed! Are you willing to confess Jesus publicly unashamed?

There are folks that believe in ..

  • Prayer, but they don’t pray.
  • Tithing, but they don’t tithe.
  • Word of God, but they don’t read the Bible or if they do, they don’t apply His Word.
  • Church, but they don’t attend fellowship at a church or willing to be the church.

Sum up the two

To sum up the two, we are justified by God by our faith alone, however, we are justified by man by our works. These two do go hand in hand. If we have faith in God, we will want to work for God. By working for God, man will see that we have works. If you are truly saved, you will want to work for Jesus, as well. You will bare the Fruit of the Spirit. By their fruit you will know them! (Matthew 7:16)

Yes, we can backslide, but when we do, we as a child of God, will feel God Chastising you, that is a sign that you are a child of God. God will chastise you until you come back to a state of repentance. Confession without compassion is not true salvation. You will feel guilty on what you are doing before a holy God.

Faith and works go together!

Got Questions?
Sermon notes August 21, 2016 by Pastor Bob Neal & I also share what I felt led to share as I was going over my notes.

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

7 thoughts on “Faith Without Works Is Dead

    1. Amen, yes He does Brett Smith We can fool man but we cannot fool God. Plus men know us by what we do or don’t do. They cannot see our hearts, but they can see our actions of obedience to God or they can see our rebellion to God.

  1. On point brother! I’ve always taught my kids that good works are a by-product of genuine faith. If our faith cannot be evidenced by what we say and do then it is just simply human emotions. Thank you for reiterating this timeless truth.

    1. That’s so right. Anything good in me is not me, it is Jesus, who is using me. We don’t use Him, He uses us. Yes it is a by product. This is how man knows we are truly saved. Thanks for the comment and God bless.

  2. Great post! The ‘works’ that should accompany faith also means that if you are believing God for something, in accordance with His Word, you should act as though you already have what you are believing for – regardless of evidence to the contrary.

    1. Thanks for the comment Matthew. Yes, both works and faith go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. The works that are good in us, is not us, it is Jesus, anyways. A true mark to know you are saved … The Fruit we bare! We allow Him to use us, we don’t use Him. God Bless and have a great day.

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