Faith without works is useless
James 2:18-3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was our father Abraham not justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was [d]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was credited 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 In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works also when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
3 Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to rein in the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their whole body as well. 4 Look at the ships too: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are nevertheless directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot determines. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one among mankind can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. 11 Does a spring send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, bear olives, or a vine bear figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. Today’s text says: Someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless? So, it is not enough just that we believe in who God is. The demons also believe. The reason they shudder is because Jesus did not die for their redemption. Unlike us, they are unable to repent of their decision to rebel against God. They shudder knowing their eternal fate is sealed and unchangeable. We on the other hand, if we believe, if we have faith, then it should be revealed by our works, that we not only repent of our sin, but that we are redeemed from sin. Faith without works is useless, not because God requires our works, but because our works, reveal our acceptance of His work on our behalf. If we are not changed by our faith, then our faith is useless. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. If we fail to, or choose not to walk in the good works God prepared for us and prepared us for, through the redeeming work of the cross, our faith is useless.
9:10 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Remember that, the demons also believe, and shudder. The demons then, are wiser than those who do not fear the Lord. It is foolishness to know who God is and not fear, respect and revere Him. Romans 1:18-22 says: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools… There is no excuse, no one can truly claim that they do not know who God is. Creation itself reveals all the evidence required for a person to know that God exists. Surely it is foolishness and not wisdom to believe that the awesome magnitude and intricate detail of creation could have happened by accident. The text says: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. I believe in who You are and in what You have done for me. May my faith be revealed in my works. By Your Spirit, may I grow in wisdom and understanding to walk fully in the good works that You have prepared for me and prepared me for, in Christ. Amen.