Faith, Part 1
Salvation Bible Basics
The second ingredient that Jesus spoke about was faith. Repentance and faith work hand in hand, but you are in no position to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus as your Saviour until you first have come to a place of repentance.
We are going to look at James 2:14-24 and see what God says about faith. In this passage we see three kinds of faith. Only one is real.
Dead Faith — In James 2:14, ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’ Notice the question that James asks here. If a person says they believe in Jesus but there has been no change in his life and he is not doing anything that would prove he is a Christian, can his faith save him?
This person has no works that accompany his belief. He doesn’t live for God. He isn’t interested in attending church. He isn’t interested in reading the Word of God. He isn’t interested in following the Lord. When confronted with truth, he doesn’t change his path. He just goes on the way he is, yet he says he believes. Can his faith save him? That is the question that is asked.
James 2:15-16 – ‘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?’
James answers by giving an illustration. Suppose your next-door neighbours come knocking on your door wanting help. They are in complete rags. They have absolutely nothing. They are emaciated because they haven’t eaten in a long time. They come to tell you that the heat has been turned off, they don’t have any clothes or food left, the whole family is starving to death, and they need your help. You look at them, smile real big and say, ‘God bless you. I’ll pray for you,’ and you close the door. Is that man any warmer now? Is his belly any fuller? Is his family any better off? No, it didn’t do him any good. The point that James is trying to make is that if a man says, ‘I believe in Jesus,’ but his life isn’t any different, does he truly have faith? Can his kind of faith save him?
James 2:17 – ‘Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ If a man says, ‘I believe,’ but he doesn’t show any works, his life hasn’t changed, he is still the same old mean, difficult, deceitful person, just as much as a liar as he ever was, he has a dead faith. Faith, being alone is dead. It produces nothing.
James 2:18 – ‘Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ Do you want someone to be convinced that you believe in Jesus Christ? Then you need to show works that prove your faith is genuine.
I have absolutely no reason, no confidence at all to trust that someone knows Christ whose life does not change. I have every reason to doubt that his faith is genuine, just like John did when he refused to baptise the Pharisees and told them to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. He wanted to see a changed life before he would be willing to baptise them.