Faith and Works
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
James 2:14 NASB
Some people believe that James preached a different Gospel than Paul did. Paul laid the foundation of believing faith throughout his letters. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 NASB). How do we reconcile what James said about faith and works with what Paul taught?
There is a difference between saying that you have faith and actually demonstrating that faith. I knew a man some years ago who evidenced knowledge of the Bible. He told me he believed the Bible, but his life did not demonstrate a believing faith. Saying, “I have faith”, is one thing, but living that faith is something totally different. We expect to see evidence of faith in the person who says, “I have faith.” As we grow in our faith, a greater demonstration of our faith will be seen.
Paul taught: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.” (Titus 3:5a NASB). Redemption comes through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial work. We had nothing whatsoever to do with that work. Jesus went to the cross for you and me while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins. All that is required of us is to receive what Christ has accomplished. What James addressed in his letter is the wrong attitude that all I need to do is to say, “I have faith.” Saying it and believing it are two totally different things. Sincerely believing what Christ has done for you will produce a demonstration of faith in you. Do others know your faith by what you say or by what you do? Repentance, as mentioned above, is the beginning evidence of believing faith toward God.
It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to believe. He grants to us the gift of repentance. He reveals to us the need for the work of Christ to be applied to our lives. He regenerates us, causing the life of Christ to be lived out through us. Through believing faith, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit daily and live out Christ’s life. We then demonstrate our faith by our works.
Trust Christ completely for your salvation through the work He did on the cross. Don’t just talk about your faith; demonstrate your faith by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through you in serving others.