The Book of James Bible Study Chapter 2 Part 3

James 2:14-19

In many places Paul lays out, very clearly, that one of the foundations of our faith is that we are justified by faith, not by works (Abraham believed G-d and it was credited to him as righteousness). Some people, when they read what we are about to read, assume that James had a different understanding/theology to Paul. This is not the case. What James is pointing out is that if we have a true Biblical faith it is going to be active in our lives and cannot help but produce deeds (An apple tree cannot help but bear apples – fruit). Deeds are a (super)natural fruit of faith. These deeds or works do not save us (only faith in Yeshua can do that that), but they provide proof/give testimony to the fact that we are genuinely saved.

v14: James is in no way disagreeing that faith saves us, but he wants to teach us that Biblical

faith, given the opportunity (the thief on the cross had no opportunity or time to do deeds. He went to paradise on confession alone), will produce works.

· Profit is something that’s measurable, it can be seen. Abraham had faith – but that faith was going to produce blessing to others (Gen 12:1-3)

· If a man proclaims to have faith but this is not backed up by works then the faith that he is proclaiming that he has is not a true/saving faith. True faith, which produces righteousness, brings about a noticeable change in a person’s life.

v15: Naked – having no clothes. As we have seen fairly often in these studies clothing/garments are related to good deeds (Rev 19:8). However, this passage is not talking about this principle, but is talking about people who are literally so destitute that they have neither clothing nor food.

v16: One of you – ie someone from the believing community.

· Be warmed and filled (satisfied by food) – these are empty words. They do not change the reality for those people who have nothing. James is saying it is not enough just to speak a word (or a confession of faith etc), it has to be a word that produces action.

v17: Those works are not instruments that justify a person before G-d, but those works justify (show that is acceptable) the individual’s faith. Only the work of Yeshua on the cross is able to justify us before G-d. G-d the Father sees Yeshua’s work and not ours, however people see our works and those works enable them to glorify G-d (Matt 5:16)

v18: James is talking about evidence that manifests/proves faith that Is genuine.

v19: James is writing to Jewish believers who are in exile. Here, he is alluding to a famous prayer that the Jewish people pray – the Shema, which many people pray three times a day (morning, noon and night). It is taken from Deut 6:4-9. Just saying this prayer (which is like a creed/statement of faith) is not evidence of saving faith. Just believing that G-d exists is not enough to save. Just believing that there is only one G-d is not enough – Roms 10:8-10

· The demons respond physically to the fact that there is only one G-d. They respond in fear, but also in rebellion. Even though it can be said that the demons believe (have “faith”) in only one G-d it doesn’t move them toward genuine faith, but it moves them toward rebellion. Many people say that they believe but when you look at their life it manifests sin – their actions show that they are actually in rebellion toward G-d.

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