By Pastor John Bingham
James 2:14-16, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
If we were to isolate verse 14, it would seem to teach that you cannot be saved without works. As the early church fathers assembled the Cannon of Scripture, they debated over including this powerful little Epistle because of this very statement. Yet, James is not teaching that you cannot be saved without works; rather, he is stressing that works are a tangible evidence of our faith.
First, Salvation is by Faith alone, not of works:
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Second, after salvation, our lives are transformed from the inside out. We are saved by faith, then are called to do good works:
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
James is stressing this same principle, that if a man claims to be saved, but never demonstrates a transformed life by his good works, then His profession of faith is not genuine, it is not real. For when God saves us, we are called to walk after His steps, and follow His will in our life. If you are a Christian today, make sure the evidence of your life (your good works) demonstrates your faith in Christ by following Him.