James 2, Faith without works is dead?!
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. – James 2:18
Notice carefully James’ words, “…shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”. With God we are justified by FAITH; BUT with men we are justified by WORKS. The reason is simply because mankind cannot see out heart; but God can. We read in 1st Samuel 16:7, “…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.“
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. – Romans 4:3
Another misunderstood passage is James 2:14 – What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
What is the context of this? Is it talking about salvation as in the soul? Let’s see:
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. – James 2:15-17
James 2 is talking about helping other people, if you are a saved Christian and merely say God bless you and do not feed the poor and hungry, can that faith save the poor and hungry, does it fill their bellies with food? No it doesn’t, you must do works to fill their bellies, by feeding them, buying the food etc.
Another misunderstood passage is James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
In genesis 22 we read, And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. – Genesis 22:3
So who was Abraham justified before with his works? The two young men that came with Abraham and Isaac. He was not justified before God, for the scriptures clearly say: For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. – Romans 4:3-4
James 2 has nothing to do with salvation of the soul. It has nothing to do with saying you must have works or you’re not truly saved. If you have been preaching this false works based gospel and given this scripture to people, you need to repent and believe the gospel, the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is His works that save us, not our own.