FAITH WORKS GENUINELY

 

James 2:14-26

FAITH WORKS GENUINELY

FAITH WORKS #9,

 

In our church life in America there is much that appears to genuine, but is only imitation. There are many people walking around who claim to be believers or born-again Christians, but they are only imitation. They say that they are saved but they are not genuine.

 

As you know, just saying something doesn’t necessarily make it so. And all too many people make professions with words which are not backed up by their lives.

 

The theme of James is “Faith Works”.  In this message we want to see that Faith Works Genuinely.  True faith is genuine faith.

 

GENUINE FAITH IS NOT JUST WORDS – Vss. 14-17

 

Words alone don’t save.

 

Vs. 14 – We have in our churches today entirely too much “easy believism”. If I just say I’m saved; if I just go through the motions of baptism, I’m okay. I have eternal life.

James is refuting this easy believism claim.

 

Stating that you are saved; giving personal testimony of your faith in Christ is important. But stating your faith in Christ aloud is to be a reflection of something that has really taken place in your heart.

 

Romans 10:9-10 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Paul is saying that if a man has truly put his faith in Christ in his heart, he will confess it before men.

 

Unfortunately, easy believism bypasses the heart and just goes to the mouth. No work has taken place in the heart but a person is saying he or she believes with his mouth.

 

Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

Let us understand what James is saying in verse 14.

James is saying that if a man or woman has truly been saved, his life will show it.

There will be more than words. There will be action.

Works will accompany a man’s profession.

Works don’t save you. As Paul says, salvation “is not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

But works do indicate that change has take place.  The Gospel is a Gospel of change. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Thessalonians 1:9

 

Anyone who is genuinely saved is genuinely changed from what he was, and from what he would be if he hadn’t been saved.

 

James asks what profit is there in words of faith that are not backed by good works? He asks can faith without works save a man?

James was not eliminating faith. The question “Can faith save him?” is actually in the original, “that faith”.

James was simply asking, “Could faith that has no evidence of good works be true faith?” The implied answer, of course, is “no”.

 

Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

Note that salvation is a result of being born again, which we know is placing one’s faith in Christ.

 

Titus 3:8 - This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

 

The salvation described in Titus 3:5 is to be followed by the works of Titus 3:8.

James and Paul are showing us that a person who has truly been born again will evidence a true change by the way they do good works.

 

Vss. 15-16 – James gives us an example that the genuine article of faith is more than words.  James mentions a brother or sister believer without proper food or clothing. 

   

Along comes someone else in the congregation who gives words. He tells the person “Go in peace! Be warmed and filled!” That’s like saying, “May the Lord bless you real good!”

 

There’s nothing wrong with those words, but James says that without helping these people, “What good have you done?

 

Vs. 17 – James concludes that a faith that is all words and no action is a dead faith, because there is no evidence of a change in life-style.

 

GENUINE FAITH IS PROVEN BY ACTION – Vs. 18

 

Vs. 18 – James makes an excellent point here.

 

One man says “I have faith.”

Another man says, “I have works.”   

 

He says, “Show me your faith without works, and I’ll show you faith with my works.

 

Just think of the various actions which prove our faith.

 

One might say, “I have faith that God answers prayer.”

Great! Do you pray and not worry as Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to do.

 

You might say, “I have faith that Christians are supposed to be thankful.”

Great! Are you continually thankful?

 

You might say, “I have faith that the unsaved are going to hell.”

Good! What are you doing to show you believe that? Are you inviting them to church and witnessing to them personally.

 

Read Hebrews 11 and discover that the heroes of faith were men and women of action. And their actions proved their faith.

 

GENUINE FAITH IS MORE THAT JUST MENTAL ASSENT – Vss. 19-20

 

There are still very few atheists in this country.

Mostly all believe in God.

And if you ask them, many will say that they believe in Christ.  But genuine faith is more than mental assent to the existence of God or Christ.

 

Vs. 19 – James says “you believe in God and you are doing well.”

But James then adds this zinger – the devils believe, they know God exists and they tremble!

The demons are scared, but they still aren’t saved.

 

What is the difference between mere intellectual belief and true belief?

 

True belief or faith is trust.

Phillips Brooks gave this acrostic for faith – “Forsaking all, I trust Him.”

 

A person who has true faith in Christ as Savior trusts Him alone for eternal life. He is relying on Christ alone.

 

 

Vs. 20 – James concludes that the faith that is just belief with the head is the faith without action. This is not true faith. Remember true faith or trust in Christ will produce change.   

 

GENUINE FAITH IS DEMONSTRATED BY BIBLE CHARACTERS – Vss.21-26

 

In verses 21-26 James is showing examples of two Bible characters who had genuine faith.

First, they believed God and then they showed it by their actions.

 

Vs. 21 – The first example is Abraham. Notice that it says he was justified by works.

We normally think of justified as meaning to be “declared righteous”. And indeed, the only way someone can be declared righteous is by faith. Romans 5:1

 

The word justified can also mean to “vindicate” or “show to be righteous”.

 

In believe that James is saying that the works of Abraham when he offered Isaac on the altar at God’s command vindicated him, or showed that his faith was real.

 

Vs. 22 – His faith and works went together. First Abraham had the faith, then he proved that faith with the works of offering Isaac.  This work made his faith complete.  Abraham showed how real his faith by obeying God.

 

Vs. 23 – 30 years earlier before the offering of Isaac, Abraham was declared righteous on the basis of faith.

That Scripture was shown to be true by his action with Isaac.

 

Vs. 24 – James is simply saying that this proves that there must be works if there is truly faith.

 

Vs. 25 – How did the children of Israel know that Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and wasn’t trying to deceive them?

Her works of hiding the spies, and helping them escape were the works that proved her faith was genuine.

 

Vs. 26– James concludes with a challenge. “Faith without works is dead, just like the body without the spirit.  A man who has no spirit is a dead man. A faith that has no works is a dead faith.

 

GENUINE FAITH IS NOT JUST WORDS – Vss. 14-17

GENUINE FAITH IS PROVEN BY ACTION – Vs. 18

GENUINE FAITH IS MORE THAT JUST MENTAL ASSENT – Vss. 19-20

GENUINE FAITH IS DEMONSTRATED BY BIBLE CHARACTERS – Vss.21-26

 

 

 

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