epistle, James makes the statement “For just as the body without
the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James
2:26). Faith without works
is dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a
spiritually dead heart. There are many Scriptures that make it
very clear that true saving faith will
result in a transformed life which is
demonstrated by the “works” we do.
How we live reveals what we believe and
whether the faith we profess to have is a living faith.
Many profess to be Christians, but their lives and their priorities indicate otherwise. Jesus put it this way;
“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” (Matthew 7:16-23).
that the message of Jesus is the
same as the message of James. Obedience to God is the mark
of true saving faith. James uses the example of Abraham and Rahab as
the type of works that demonstrate salvation, and both of those examples
are of people who obeyed God in faith. Saying we believe in Jesus does
not save us, nor does religious service. What saves us is a life of
faith demonstrated by ongoing obedience to God.
1. The first error is the gospel of “easy believism.” This error is the belief that one can “make a decision for Christ” or “pray a prayer of salvation,” and based upon that profession of faith salvation occurs. This is also called “decisional regeneration” and is dangerous and deceptive. Often those who advocate this view of salvation say that once a person has prayed the sinners’ prayer or made a profession of faith they are saved regardless of how they live afterwards. This leads to the creation of a new type of person called the “carnal Christian” in order to excuse the ungodly lifestyles of many who have made a one-time profession of faith in Christ. Yet as we can see in James and other verses of Scripture, this type of profession of faith that does not result in a life of obedience to Christ is in reality a dead faith that does not save.
2. The other error in regards to the relationship between works and faith is to make works part of what justifies us before God. The mixture of works and faith together creates a works-based system of righteousness which is totally contrary to what Scripture teaches. There is no conflict between Romans 4:5, “But to him who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” and what James wrote when he said “faith without works is dead.” Works come from true faith and a heart that has been justified by God by faith alone. The works that follow salvation do not make us righteous before God; they simply flow from a heart that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit as naturally as water flows downhill.
Understanding the relationship between faith and works is important because it helps us avoid the errors mentioned above. Saying we believe in Christ does not save us, nor does praying a prayer of salvation or making a “decision” for Christ.
is a sovereign act of God whereby unregenerate sinners have the “..
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
3:5) poured out on them, thereby
them to be born again
3:16). When this happens
God gives them new hearts and puts a new spirit within them (Ezekiel
36:26). God removes their sin-hardened hearts of stone and
replaces them with hearts of flesh and fills them with the indwelling
presence of the Holy Spirit which causes them to walk in obedience
to His statues and judgments (Ezekiel
Faith without works is dead because it comes from a heart that has not been regenerated by God. It is an empty profession of faith from someone to whom Christ will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.”
Belief beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.
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Author & Webmaster: Preston
H. Hazzard, Sr.