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Lesson 6 for November 8, 2014

James 2:14-17 James 2:18 James 2:19-20 James 2:21-24 James 2:25-26
faith by itself,
if it does not
have works, is
I will show
you my faith
by my works
faith without
works is dead
faith was
together with
his works
faith without
works is dead
Faith in action
Showing our
The faith of
The faith of
Faith and works Faith examples
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does
not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and
destitute of daily food, 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? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not
have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
Is there a faith that does not save?
A living faith saves. A dead faith cannot save.
How can I distinguish if my faith is alive or
According to James, my faith is shown on how
I treat others.
When we confront somebodys need and we
do nothing about it, we are not practicing our
faith. That faith slowly weakens and dies. A
faith without works gradually dies.
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. (James 2:18)
Genuine faith is shown by selfless actions,
which God prepared beforehand that we
should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Paul stated that God not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to His mercy He saved us.
(Titus 3:5) Then, he wrote:
This is a faithful saying, and these things
I want you to affirm constantly, that those
who have believed in God should be careful
to maintain good works. These things are
good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:8)
Both James and Paul agree; faith and works
are inseparable. But works cannot save us
anyway, only faith can.
Our characters are revealed by what we do. The
works show whether the faith is genuine.
It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an
impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no
cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the
name of Jesus is the only name under heaven
whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not
through faith make Him our personal Saviour. It is
not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not
enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and
have our names registered on the church roll. He that
keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He
in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by
the Spirit which He hath given us. Hereby we do
know that we know Him if we keep His
commandments. 1 John 3:24; 1 John 2:3. This is the
genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our
profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is
revealed in works of righteousness.
E.G.W. (Christs Object Lessons, cp. 24, pg. 312)
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the
demons believeand tremble! But do you want to know, O
foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:19-20)
The faith James is talking about is just a certainty
that some doctrines are true. We could be
convinced because of the evidence we may find in
Gods Word, but our heart could remain cold
and unconverted.
So a mere mental belief alone cannot save us.
Thats the faith of a foolish man. Thats a dead
faith; the faith of demons.
Only the faith in Jesus as our personal Savior can
save. That faith becomes visible in my life as it did
in the lives of Abraham and Rahab.
Was not Abraham our
father justified by works
when he offered Isaac his
son on the altar? Do you
see that faith was working
together with his works, and
by works faith was made
perfect? And the Scripture
was fulfilled which says,
Abraham believed God, and
it was accounted to him for
righteousness. And he was
called the friend of God.
You see then that a man is
justified by works, and not
by faith only. (James 2:21-24)
What then shall we say
that Abraham our father
has found according to the
flesh? For if Abraham was
justified by works, he has
something to boast about,
but not before God. For
what does the Scripture
say? Abraham believed
God, and it was accounted
to him for righteousness.
Now to him who works, the
wages are not counted as
grace but as debt.
(Romans 4:1-5)
Both James and Paul studied Abrahams example. James concluded that we are
justified by works, but Paul concluded that we are justified by faith. How can we
explain that apparent contradiction?
James PAUL
Lets see how Paul theologically
studied Abrahams life.
1. Abraham did no work that could justify
him before God (Romans 4:1-5)
2. He obeyed God by faith when he was
ordered to leave his homeland (Acts 11:8)
3. He believed that God could give Sarah a
son by faith (Romans 4:19)
4. He offered Isaac by faith (Hebrews 11:19)
So Paul (and James) understood that
Abrahams faith was PERFECTED by his
works. He gradually walked more firmly in
his faith.
James said that Abraham was justified by
his works. That is, the works that show his
faith was true; the faith that actually saved
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by
works when she received the messengers and sent them
out another way? For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead also.
(James 2:25-26)
Would her faith have saved her if
she hadnt hidden the
Would her faith have saved her if
she hadnt placed that crimson
thread at her window?
Would her relatives have been
saved if they hadnt stayed at
So James concludes that if you
are saved by faith, then you will
live according to that faith. If you
dont, your faith is dead.
Rahab believed that the God of the Israelites would conquer Canaan (including
We need the faith of Abraham in
our day, to lighten the darkness that
gathers around us, shutting out the
sweet sunlight of Gods love, and
dwarfing spiritual growth. Our
faith should be prolific of good
works; for faith without works is
dead. Every duty performed, every
sacrifice made in the name of Jesus,
brings an exceeding great reward. In
the very act of duty, God speaks and
gives His blessing.
E.G.W. (Reflecting Christ, March 6)