James 2:17-18 NIV
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
James 2:17-18 – Message
Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
Is it enough to say I believe in something, but do nothing about it? Doesn’t my action based upon my belief actually prove that I believe what I say I believe? For example, if I say I believe in God but do not do the things He would do, is my faith genuine? If you are in need and I have the power to meet that need, but walk away from you and only say I will pray for you, is my faith genuine? True faith always takes action. The works that you do are a manifestation of the faith you have. You can’t have one without the other. Genuine faith produces works. Faith and works show that you are serious about what you indicate you believe.
When I went to get my drivers license a number of years ago I had studied the book and was very confident that I could drive. However, there was a phase two to me being able to acquire my license. I actually had to drive. If I had gone in that day and told the person that I knew all the information and I believed I could drive, but refused to get in the car with him and show him that I could drive, I would not have gotten my license. My learning required action. The action was actually testing. It was proof that what I learned sunk in and that I was able to translate it into practical action while behind the wheel. I realize this is not the perfect example, but I do believe that in our natural lives we understand that believing we can do or believing we know something is not enough, so why would it be enough in our journey of faith? Jesus in Matthew addresses those at the end of their faith journey by their works. They are judged for what they do and do not do, as if it is done or not done directly for him. Action to faith is required.
How does Freda apply this? Evaluate what I say I believe, see if my actions line up. If they don’t, seek for Godly ways to unite the two and glorify Him.
Sue says:January 29, 2014 at 8:39 pm
Simply put … walk the talk. An inactive faith is a lifeless faith. Faith and works cannot be separated. Faith is seen through the work that you do for Him.
A faith life is a life of action. Too many times I’ve hesitated when God has been saying … go … do … act. These verses are perfectly clear, if I say I have faith then I will live a life of obedience. My obedience will show my trust in God. If I am truly giving God the place He deserves then nothing will deter me from obedience. I can’t help but wonder at the things and situations which I’ve placed above Him.
My prayer is that my passion for God will drive my actions.
Karen says:January 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm
Subjective: personal opinions, interpretations, points of view, emotions and judgment.
Objective: fact-based, measurable and observable.
Faith: subjective confidence or trust in someone or something.
Action: something done or performed.
Karen can have her personal opinions, interpretations, points of view, emotions and judgments about all things pertaining to faith but this is not measurable or observable. This scripture is clear, Christ requires more than just subjective platitudes. He requires us to move our faith to action so that it becomes alive. A living performance observed by all.
Jim Holmes says:January 29, 2014 at 10:33 pm
I apologize that I mistakenly did verses 19 and 20 instead…
From James, chapt. 2, we gather this information about faith which comes from Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The chapter begins by saying that faith is not biased to one side or the other, that when it comes to faith, one is not to show favoritism.
Consider this, for example:
If you do, you commit sin, and are transgressors of the law, and are guilty of all, he shall have judgement without mercy that shows no mercy. This means that “what we do”…”by what work we do”…accounts to us…changes our destiny for all time! Listen to this: Mercy rejoices against judgment.
For example; If you don’t give food or clothing to the body, there is no profit.
If you don’t give faith works, there is no profit (faith is dead)
If you believe there is One God, that is, have faith in God, but don’t live out your faith by your works, it don’t profit you anything….because the devil believes the same. (verse 19 and 20)
Now, true living faith says this:
By works (by faith) , we are justified
By works (by faith), faith made perfect
By works(by faith), made righteous (called friend of God)
By works (by faith), are justified
True and Living Faith is inseparable from a manifestation of works!
Body without spirit is dead
Faith without works is dead
Above I did a quick read of the chapter to try and see what is being said in verses 19 and 20 of James, chapter 2: this then is my paraphrase:
For the following verses…
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
You and I do well to believe that there is only one God. We know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is One God…the true Living God. Nothing that was made was made without Him. This One God created all things. And yet, did you know that the devil believes as you do. How can just believing like the devil, profit you or I? We all can tremble before God knowing this very fact. Will that save us? Well it won’t save you, I, or the devil. What is it that makes the difference?
It’s faith! It’s by our works that makes our faith perfect…or brings our faith to fruition. Faith without works doesn’t help you at all…it is dead…or doesn’t exist, and you are just fooling yourself to think you have it…. you might as well accept the fact that you are deceived….because it doesn’t account for righteousness, or justification. It doesn’t even account for you believing the Truth, that there is One God…. It’s nothing but vanity…your believing is in vain…for nothing., if you do not act and live according to what you believe.
Jim Holmes says:January 30, 2014 at 12:13 am
17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yes, a man may 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. Here is my paraphrase: (and comments)
If you say you believe, or have faith, or trust God…prove it. If you can’t display this living reality in your life, it doesn’t amount anything…and in fact, nothing. So, just saying you have faith accounts for nothing. Faith, believing, trusting…requires for you to take some kind of action. Listen to what is being said here; “Show me your faith without your works.” This is impossible….it is like saying show me something by not bringing it out in the open to see! Well, if you can do that….then (almost with tongue in cheek), I will show you my faith by you seeing the work that comes from my faith, from what I believe. Overall, the scripture in 18 seems to be saying…. You can’t show me your faith, so I am not able to show you mine. It reminds me of Jesus in Matthew, chapter 13:
17 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
So…from these scriptures in James, it seems to say that my faith doesn’t express itself alone…it is dead. It requires works on your part, and my part. It is my faith together with your faith that makes a difference, like when Jesus could do not many works, without the faith of the people. Jesus recognizes faith and is drawn to it. He reacts to faith like when the woman with the blood issue touched his clothing. We are one body in Christ. It is Jesus who is working in and through us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, together….where two or three are gathered together in His name…He is in the midst!
Susan Craig says:January 30, 2014 at 12:25 am
These verses have ignited alot of debate in the church from the time they were written.They speak about two words that can have varied meanings if they are taken in the wrong order. Both Faith and Works are essential elements that should be present in every Christian. Faith is essential for salvation-it indicates a change in our position in relation to God. But the evidence in our lives of that faith is seen by our works or actions. If our heart and mind have been changed(if we are truely submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives),there should be evidence of that change in the way we conduct ourselves and in the way we interact with others. We will be known by the fruit that the Spirit produces in our lives. We must do justly,love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. We need to demonstrate our love for God by loving our fellow human beings. This means making it our habit to put others ahead of ourselves and provide help to others as needed. It means going the extra mile and making a difference in this world-it is letting our light shine and sharing the good news. It means standing up for right and taking a stand against wrong. Good works are the evidence that God has made a change in us on the inside and they are an outward demonstration of our thankful hearts for all the blessings God has given to us.
Praying that others will know we are christians by our love!!
Pat McRae says:January 30, 2014 at 1:24 am
Faith is lonely, hidden, questioned. WHY? Because faith without works is not faith. Faith and works go together, they are a pair. One can not have faith without works, or works without faith. Faith is showcased in the deeds we do. Faith without works is dead and works without faith is disaster.
This is not a scripture I would need to hear preached because I see it daily in my life. It is not that I think “WOW that sure took a lot of faith to get out of bed, I might of slipped and broke my back.” Or “I sure need faith to walk into that store and spend money because tomorrow I might be broke.”
No I get up knowing God is with me and because He is with me I have everything I need to do His Will today. What I do naturally all day long is done because I have faith in His promises. So when the world says you need a savings bank account I can say yes good idea. But what if God says your brother has no food, that baby has no diapers, that drug addict has spent the rent and her family is headed to the street, what is to be my response? Should I say
“To bad they should learn to budget like me!” Or “Yes Lord this is Your money that You have blessed me with, use to Your glory.”
Once again I think God is saying faith means putting your eyes on Him and His promises so our measure of faith can be increased as we willingly do what the world deems stupid, foolish, wasteful.
I also believe if you don’t have faith in a deed set before you and you have been given the deed by man, not from the hand of God, you need to step back. No faith, no deed!! WHY? Because if God is not in it the deed, no matter how good the deed might be, it will not turn out good. An example great deed done but people speak negatively about you behind your back and there is no glory given to God.
This is when the enemy has been able to beat me up the most. And every time when I complain and grumble God has whispered to me, “I didn’t ask you to do that.”
Lord may my deeds show my faith in You and may my faith in You lead me to do deeds that bring glory to Your Name and Your Kingdom.