Faith Without Works Is Dead!

“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

James 2:26

When we read this verse, some could interpret it to mean that one must possess faith and works to receive salvation. On the surface, it seems James stands opposite of Apostle Paul, who said, “We maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28). 

On the contrary, James agrees with Paul; however, he also states that faith and works are inseparable. He does not advocate that a person can be justified by works apart from faith. Instead, Paul stresses that by faith, we are saved, and James emphasizes that the natural byproduct of our salvation is good works.

Let’s be clear. Doing something nice for someone with a begrudging attitude and disgruntle heart does not equate to a good work, but doing something with a heart of compassion and love in Jesus’s name, that’s a good work indeed. It is important to understand that there is no amount of good works that will earn God’s favor, His forgiveness of sin. 

The forgiveness of sin can only be received through Jesus Christ, to be cleansed by His shed blood. Therefore, do not be fooled by those who claim that good works are necessary to enter into the kingdom of heaven because that statement is not congruent with God’s word. 

In short, faith is how a person obtains salvation– “For by grace you are saved through faith…,” as Apostle Paul wrote. Good works serve as an outward expression of who we are in Christ Jesus on the inside. That is why James states that people who say they are of God and yet they have done no good works in His name, their faith is empty, hallow, or otherwise dead. 

Therefore, let us strive to employ good works throughout our day, not as a means to try and earn God’s favor, but that He may glorify Himself through us by enabling others to see Jesus working both in and through us to show and tell the gospel to the world.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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