Sunday, May 17, 2020

Faith Without Works is Dead

James 2:14-17 by Dr. Cory Gonyo
“Faith Without Works is Dead” James 2:14-17 Purpose: What applied mercy does not look like, urging us to do better than this! 1. The Faith That Does Not Save James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? The issue is stated in the form of a question with the anticipated answer, “No!” “There is no salvation for the person who stops short of discipleship. If faith is only intellectual, only expressed in religious practices, it will not save. The Old Testament also condemns piety without action (Amos 5:21-24, Micah 4:1-4), as do John the Baptist (Luke 3:7- 14), Jesus (Matt. 7:15-20), and Paul (Rom. 1:5; 2:6-8; 6:17-18; Gal. 6:4-6). James follows the rest of Scripture: faith without actions (discipleship) will never save.” -Peter H. Davids, James, New International Bible Commentary (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1989), p. 64 (emphasis added). 2. Mercy Applied – A Scenario James 2:15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, 1be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? “Go in peace” is a Jewish form of farewell. “Be warmed and be filled” is an expression that could probably be a prayer. In Luke 16:19-31, the rich man’s lack of compassion on the poor lands him in hell. So, Mercy Applied would go beyond well-wishing and pray into action! 3. Without Works of Mercy, Faith is Dead James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James repeats the statement for emphasis Dead Faith is… -a dead tree with no roots in Christ, therefore it produces no fruit for Christ -empty faith -a claim to faith that has no other life change -not born again (John 3), is not a new creation (2 Cor. 5) -focused on what I can get, not what God has given me to bless others -mental assent without change of heart, mind, soul, strength, or love for others -faith for yourself without love for fellow Christians -not alive to God but empty of Jesus Christ’s transforming power by the Holy Spirit -a lie that self-deceives, offering no true salvation from sin because it remains ununited to Jesus who died for sin and rose again for righteousness -has not died to self in order to live to Christ Dead Faith is false faith that does not save Dead Faith is religiosity Real Faith is “faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” (James 2:1), a relationship! Real Faith causes you to be born again in Jesus Christ then to live like Him and for Him! 4. Comparing James to Paul, Which Way is it Then? They Actually Agree! Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith [first]; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works [second], which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. James 2:17 Even so faith [first], if it has no works [second], is dead, being by itself. We affirm that works is powerless to save us from sin. We also affirm that good works based in loving your neighbor is a necessary and absolute result, flowing out of true saving faith. Note the concept of “on the basis of” (Rom. 11:6) and “as a result of” (Eph. 2:8-10) versus “if it has no” and “by itself” (James 2:17). That is, Paul’s argument is what must come FIRST! Faith. James’ argument is what must come SECOND. Works. Paul and James actually have the same theological framework, saving faith (first) results in good works (second). Both teach that faith is primary. Both teach that works result from saving faith. Faith is the root of the tree, works are the fruit of the tree. Christ is the vine, we are the branches (John 15). Faith in the grace of God in Christ connects the roots to the fruit through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may be saved and live to the glory of God. Therefore, it is wrong to think that either of these New Testament writers is teaching: Faith + Works = Salvation (wrong view) That is a false gospel (see generally Galatians) But was is being taught by both James and Paul is: Faith unto true Salivation results is good works, or Faith => Salvation produces Righteousness between God AND others True Salvation changes us, causing us to love God and love the family of God!