James 2:14-17 (I encourage you to read these verses for yourself before reading my notes on them)
James continues to focus on faith and works as he challenges the reader to make sure that faith and works are both present in the life of a Christian. Now something that I want to make clear before we move on is the definitions of faith and works that James is using. The faith that James is talking about is not just a knowledge of God and Jesus and simply knowing that they exist. Just like works for James are not just following the rules in the Bible and trying to be good. Faith is the total surrender to Christ as Lord of our lives, and if we have faith like that then we will have works that are obedient to Christ and model the example Christ lived. So to sum up, the faith that James talks about is not just knowledge of God, it is a relationship with Him, and works are not just good things we do, they are things we do in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s moving in our lives. Sometimes we forget what we’re talking about with “faith and works” so I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page.
Now I want to start by saying something that seems harsh but must be said. I only say this because I care about and love you deeply. Most of you reading this blog are living in a dead faith. You go to church, you try to do good things, you may even read your Bible, but you have missed what it truly means to have faith in Christ and live for Him. You’ve been taught to be good and you’ve been taught about who Christ is, but you’ve never taken the steps of having relationship with Him. I’m not saying that any of you are bad people, and I am not saying that you are not saved. You’re faith is simply dead. What you say and what you do don’t line up.
Some of you do good things like volunteer at food shelters or have been on a mission trip before, some of you have even led someone to Christ, but when you get home you disobey your parents, you get drunk at parties, you refuse to show love to the person at school who is annoying, rude, weird, or unpopular. Some of you are in church Sunday mornings after a weekend of partying and fooling around in things you shouldn’t be anywhere near.
A dead faith leads to confusion, doubt, rebellion and ultimately it can lead to death (like the Hell kind of death, not the have a nice funeral before going to Heaven death). James questions whether a faith without works can save a person. He’s not looking at someone who says they have faith and telling them that they are not really saved. No one can see the heart of a person except for God. I would never accuse anyone of not being saved. Thankfully that’s not my place. Jesus says that there will be many people who will go to Hell who lived their lives in a dead faith (Matthew 7:22). Those that Christ cast into Hell prophesied, cast out demons, and did “mighty works” in the name of Jesus, and were called workers of lawlessness and told by Christ that they never knew Him.
Simply saying you believe is not enough to save. Simply doing good things, even in the name of Jesus, is not enough. We must have faith that changes you. We must have works that are obedient to Christ. Being a Christian is all about relationship with Christ, and it’s that relationship that is so easy for us to neglect. I challenge you to examine your life. Are you walking in a dead faith? Get in the Word every day this week and see what the Lord shows you.
There’s one thing I know for certain, Jesus did not call you to a dead faith. He desperately wants to have relationship with you. He desires to heal the parts of your heart that cry out in pain and confusion. There are no answers to your problems outside of relationship with Christ. Amy and I are always here to help where we can. Call us, write us, find us after service. We’ll make time for you. I love y’all more than you’ll know. Grace and peace,