In the Bible, James Epistle mentions faith without works is dead.
Many people misunderstand the truth behind it.
Why is that?
Because it leads people to believe good deeds are the entry into heaven.
What is James saying?
He isn’t implying good deeds equals salvation.
God is precise on the origin of heaven. He used Apostle Paul to convey salvation as His gift of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).
In fact, James is expanding on Apostle Paul message that faith produces works.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
James reminds us to carry out good deeds not for receiving favoritism but to radiate Christ’s loving nature.
Christian works are a byproduct of faith.
It’s easy to take scripture out of context. The problem is when I do this I’m taking away from the full scope of the message.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to use part of scriptures.
But sometimes, to clarify its lesson the whole section requires attention. And a prime example is faith without works is dead.
Here’s what I mean.
Contained within James’ message is 13 scriptures. Each of them by themselves is helpful but when interwoven together they explain the reason behind his message.
For instance, he begins with heightening the connection between faith and good deeds. He gives examples of the way they work together. And used Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac as an excellent illustration (James 2:21-23).
Here’s the interesting part.
James is sharing the same truth spoken by Christ.
Jesus put it this way:
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 “ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! Matthew 25:35-40 NLT
I think you’ll agree with me when I say Christ word is final. Here is Jesus’s blueprint for the way faith and good deeds work together.
And with Christ as our guide, we can’t go wrong.