James deals with the elephant in the middle of the living room…How can one claim to have faith if their life fails to reflect any evidence of that faith? Growing up, many great evangelists passed through my town and church. They would preach wonderful sermons on the Gospel and Christ’s sacrifice. At the close of the evening, they would present alter calls and ask people to pray the sinner’s prayer requesting Christ to come into their lives and save them. It was a great way to spread the Gospel–many were saved and lives changed. However, there were also some that were caught up in the emotion and missed the point of the prayer. The prayer was not a call for fire insurance so once prayed that is the end; instead, it is a call for the Lord to enter our lives and begin a relationship with us that transforms us into His image.
James is preaching to that point. One cannot truly have a relationship with God and it not impact that person’s life. As we walk with the Lord, we become different people. We desire to be selfless, we desire to serve God and others. We seek him through prayer, scripture, and fellowship with other believers. It is not that those things “save” us but as new creations, our lives look and run differently. As His chosen, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). James is simply saying that our faith is evident through how we live out our lives. We need not be perfect, but, we should be different. The great news is that God takes us as we are (Romans 5:8). The greater news is that God does the transformation as we seek Him and rely upon Him. (Phil 1:6 and 2:12-13) James is not saying our salvation comes by completing good works, instead, He is saying that our salvation transforms us into people that are different and that becomes evident in how we then live.
God Bless You
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.