14 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.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Game – Can anyone say the vision statement for the church without looking?
We are a biblically rooted church who wants to help you overcome life’s emptiness through a deeper relationship with Christ and connection to a family who cares.
- What are the two types of faith that James is talking about?
- Living faith and dead faith.
- What are the characterizations of living faith and dead faith?
- Living faith is characterized by ongoing actions of loving God and loving others.
- Dead faith is characterized by knowledge without works of faith, endless need for rule-following, or not submitting to living a life of obedience.
- If we were justified in the sense of being saved by works like some would argue from this passage could sinners ever truly have assurance of salvation?
- No, because the question would be how much sin or how many good works are needed to be saved.
- Justification in the sense of salvation is only accomplished by Christ, not by us.
- How would you answer these two extreme questions? One is posed by someone who believes it does not matter what you do after your salvation. The other is posed by a person who believes your obedience maintains your salvation.
- “If I am saved apart from work, why do I have to do good works after I am saved?”
- “If you go on sinning after you are saved you will lose your salvation.”
- Who, in your lifetime, have you looked up to that you know is a believer? How do you know that they are a believer?
- Help them look to the way that the people lived their lives.
- Is there someone in your life that has passed away that claimed to be a believer, but you did not think they were? What would make you think that they were not a believer?
- Again you want them to point to the evidence or lack thereof of these people.
- What is the difference between how James is using the idea of justification and how Paul is using the idea of justification? Do you think that brings more clarity to this passage?
- James is using justification as evidence of a claim. James is saying here that the justification or evidence of your salvation can be found in your works. Not that your works produce justification.
- Paul is using justification like a judge making a decree of innocence or guilt.
- How does James show that Rahab was a believer?
- By her action of hiding the Jews. Her faith was revealed by her actions.
- When was Abraham saved? Was it when he sacrificed Isaac? That is the moment James says Abraham was justified by his works.
- Read Genesis 15:6, Abraham was made righteous by his faith. Isaac’s sacrifice was much later in Genesis 22. So no, Abraham proved that he had living faith by his actions.
- What are some creative ways that you can meet people’s physical needs?
- What do you think is the best way to create an invitation mindset in people in your circle of friends at the church? How can you be an influencer of this change?