Bible Study: James 2: 14-26 – RiverheadLOCAL


“Talking is cheap, show me!” “
Text: James 2: 14-26

14 What good is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but has no works? Can [a]may faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and needs daily food, 16 and one of you said to them: “Go in peace, [b]be warm and full ”, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what good is it? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [c]dead, being by himself.

18 But someone [d]may well say: “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith apart from works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that [e]God is unique. You do well; demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you ready to recognize, you fool, that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [f]as a result of works, faith was [g]perfected; 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which said, “And Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not the harlot Rahab also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

Have you ever heard of the term “trash talk?” He is quite popular, especially in the sports world. Even before a game is played, there are some players who think they can gain an advantage by talking about how their team (or theirs) are performing. I remember the quote from the Temple quarterback from John Unitas fame to his teammates: Let’s play! ”

The Book of James was the first of the New Testament books written around AD 48-49. The theme of the book is good Christian conduct in the midst of persecution. You see, the people James wrote to were first generation Jewish Christians who were hunted down and, in some cases, martyred for converting to Christianity. James therefore writes this letter to encourage them to stand firm for Jesus Christ (1: 2,12), but also to rebuke them and hold them responsible for inappropriate conduct, such as sin (1: 13-15), personal favoritism (2: 1-7) and harshly addressing fellow Christians (3: 1-12). Please take the time to read this entire text for yourself, as I want to focus on the word “justified”.

I recently asked three people from three different systems of artificial religion to tell me that they believe we are saved by our works because the Bible says “faith without works is dead”. (James 2:26) In our last four studies we have clearly seen in Ephesians 2: 8-9, Galatians 2: 16-21, Romans 11: 5-6 and Romans 4: 1-5 that our works cannot to save us . Each of the four texts was written by Paul from books whose main theme was doctrine, or the teaching on salvation.

Some people may view James 2:21 as a contradiction to the Word of God, because James wrote: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? The word “justified” has two definitions and translations. In James 2:21, Abraham was “justified” which means “to prove or show that he is righteous.” Her faith, like Rahab the harlot in verse 25, was proven by their demonstration of faith in obedience. In verse 23, we revisit Genesis 15: 6, this time quoted by James. Last time, we saw in Romans 4: 5 that it is God who “justifies the ungodly” by faith or belief. In Romans 4: 5 the word “justified” means; “To judge, consider or treat as righteous”. It also means “to be regarded as a surety or a surety”.

In our text, James says that saving faith is proven to those who observe our life by what we do, and not on the basis of what we say. If a person’s actions do not show a changed life for Jesus Christ, then his claim to be faithful to the Lord is dead. In James 2:23 and Romans 4: 5, the righteousness of God was credited, or deposited in the “account” of Abraham, he proved his faith in God by obedience to him, (James 2:22) , and he received God’s bond as his child.

If you had thought that Paul and Jacques were contradicting each other, I hope this study shed some light on you. Have you surrendered, by powerless faith, to the bond of Jesus Christ? Can your observers see a change in the way you live?

Steve visconti

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