James continues the theme of taking care of the poor as we begin in James 2:14.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, ”Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the save way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.James 2: 14-17
Looking at verse 14, we see that James refers to a man that ”claims” to have faith. James is talking about fake faith. If a person says they have faith, but their actions don’t back it up, what kind of faith is that? Deeds or actions are what we do because we have faith. So, a man without deeds can’t possibly have real faith.
It does no good to merely tell the poor that you wish them well. Action is required to show your true concern. ”…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.”(v. 17) The action is what proves that our faith is real.
18 But someone will say, ”You have faith; I have deeds”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.James 2: 18-19
It seems that there are people who think that believing in one God is enough to save them. But James assures them even the demons believe in one God and they shudder at the thought! Belief in God and the Messiah is not enough to get them into heaven.
Verses 20-26 goes on to show examples of people who believed and backed that up with actions that proved their faith. The first example is Abraham who was a righteous man. The action that proved his faith was preparing an altar for a sacrifice and then proceeding to put his son on the altar. This is what God had told him to do to prove his faith. But, when Abraham was about to kill his son, God stopped him and provided a ram for the sacrifice.
24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.James 2:24
The account of Rahab providing a place for the spies to sleep and then sending them in a different direction was enough to show God her faith.
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
We can’t fool God. He knows the truth about our belief and our conviction. But the deeds speak volumes to others who observe the way we live as Christians. So, let your actions so people your faith.
Tomorrow we’ll begin Chapter 3. I hope you’ll come back for more.