Faith Without Works – James 2:14-26

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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A young man with a clear testimony of faith in Christ and knowledge of dispensational truth was at one time excited about the Lord. He even taught at church. Then he stopped serving and drifted away from the Lord into a destructive pattern. His spiritual life in Christ lay dormant inside and was stifled. Finally, he hit a low that brought him back to a daily walk with Christ. Today he is actively serving Christ and experiencing a joy within that he lacked for a number of years.

The Apostle James told the kingdom saints something unique to Israel’s program when he wrote: “Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). James was talking to fellow Jews about being justified from sin and given eternal life. He asked: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” (vs. 21). James made this statement because the Jews he addressed were still under the Law of Moses. They could only be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah and obedience to the Gospel of the Kingdom. This gospel required circumcision (Genesis 17:7-14; Acts 15:1), confession of sin (Matthew 3:6; Romans 10:10), repentance, and water baptism for forgiveness and eternal life (Acts 2:38; Mark 1:4). This was why James used the examples of Abraham and Rahab, who demonstrated their faith by works and therein received justification from the Lord. Under Israel’s program, which has now been set aside, James was correct to say: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (2:24). All this stands in stark contrast to God’s present program of grace. Today we are saved 100% apart from works by faith in the work of Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6). No works can be added. God will accept no works to merit eternal life. Salvation today is wholly a gift of God’s grace.

There is something for us to learn as a secondary application from the words of James about faith and works. In any dispensation, there is a certain spiritual deadness, dormancy, or void that creeps in if we fail to work for the cause of Christ after salvation. Serving Christ brings spiritual joy, purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment. It breathes a life and vitality into our faith that cannot be experienced without it. Don’t miss out. See your faith come alive by regularly working for your Savior.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."