Today’s Scripture: 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? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:15-17
Notice the words “brother or sister” in verse 15. This is referring to others who have put their trust in Christ. The very word “brother” proves that this passage is written to people who are already born again.
When James asks “Can faith save him?” in verse 14, he is not asking if faith alone can save from Hell, but from a terrible judgment mentioned in verse 13. This judgment is the judgment that all brothers and sisters in Christ will go to, and there we will be judged by works, not by faith. This judgment is where we will receive (or not receive) our rewards. Without works, we will receive a loss, but we will still be saved from Hell (1 Cor. 3:15).
When James refers to faith being dead, he is not saying that faith alone is not enough to save from Hell. Comparing Romans 4 with James 2 clearly shows that justification before God is by faith alone. Justification before men is by works. People cannot see faith, they can only see us act on our faith. So if we are not helping others, which is what this passage is about, then others cannot see if we are saved. We have dead faith.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18
Do you see what James is talking about? Our faith needs to be shown. Works do not prove to God that we have faith, but works show men we have faith.
Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.