Daily Devotion in James 2
The one thing that has kept many out of Heaven, even professing Christians, is discussed in this chapter (James 2:4-26). Sadly, those people may have thought they had done what was necessary to obtain Heaven but found they were mistaken. The faith that they thought would bar them from everlasting torment turned out not to be “real” faith.
Just believing in God is not saving or trusting faith! Even the devils believe in God (James 2:19). They even tremble at the mention of Him, yet their “faith” will not save them any more than that kind of faith will save anyone. Satan has even talked to God, yet his knowing the Creator will not get him into Heaven.
Knowledge is not necessarily faith. I can believe that there is a president in the Whitehouse, but that faith does not make me a member of his family or even part of his cabinet. Genuine Christian faith is more than knowing about spiritual things.
The one ingredient that makes faith real is that one trusts one’s belief physically. That trust is exhibited by, and often observed by others around him, one’s works. One believes Jesus died on the cross for his sins and by faith trusts that sacrifice as payment for his sins.
One believes by faith that Jesus will hear his prayers, so he talks to Him every day. A believer trusts the Bible is God’s Word, so he tries to follow every commandment its pages reveal. The saved person, by faith, believes that God will meet his every need.
The believer patiently waits for Him to meet his needs, rather than impatiently racking up credit card debt because God did not provide in the time expected. One tithes because God commands it, and the child of God knows God will somehow help him live on less. These steps into uncertain situations may seem foolish to one not living by genuine faith, but to the faithful, these steps prove that their faith is real.
Faith without these “works” (proofs) is not genuine faith. Three times (James 2:17, 20, 26) faith without works is referred to as “dead.”
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17
Many know the “works” part is important and try to incorporate it into their own theology. Unfortunately, they get the order wrong. They put the works first and think that it will save them and prove that they have faith.
To prove they have faith, they try to do religious ceremonies or do good deeds. They try to clean up their life, try to act righteously, and many other good works. These acts, as noble as they may appear, are not by faith. They are attempts to pay for God’s approval and are not by faith at all. One cannot work oneself to Heaven.
Faith is extending one’s trust, unproven, and unseen, towards God. The proof of the trust is that the “works” show one is acting on his faith’s behalf. This may seem like a fine line to some, but it is the line that separates the saved from the unsaved. Is your faith manifested by your works of faith?
“Faith is an inside job, that works its way out.” — Author Unknown
Words to Understand:
Destitute: lacking basic needs; poor
Gay: happy; colorful; showy
Transgressors: those breaking God’s laws; sinners
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8 ¶ If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 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?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 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.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.