James 2:14–17 (ESV)
Faith Without Works Is Dead
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,”
without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
This text has often stirred up controversy because it seems
to fly in the face of Paul’s writing that we are saved by faith alone. This even stirred the heart of Martin Luther to the point of not wanting the book of James in the Bible. But with further review, you will find that they do not contradict each other.
Paul’s teaching that you are saved by faith alone, also includes that we are called to good works.
Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you
have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk
Today’s reading offers an interesting paradox: faith without works is dead and works without faith is dead. They go hand in hand, but faith comes first and works is a byproduct...
a result of saving faith.
I pray: O Lord, I give thanks for the faith you gave me and I know I am saved by faith alone. Thank you for this precious gift. Out of gratitude for this precious
gift, let my love for you spill over through works... which you have prepared beforehand. Amen.