James 2:14-25

Introduction  v. 24

      A contradiction?  

  • According to James, we are justified by what we do, not by faith alone.
  • According to Paul (Romans 3-4) we are justified by faith alone, not by what we do.

Consensus, not Contradiction

As the leader of the Church of Jerusalem, James knew about and had no problem with Paul’s teaching.

When the early church compiled the writings we know today as the New Testament, they put the books of Paul and James alongside each other.   

A Matter of Perspective

  • Paul sees “justify” as “to make something or someone right.”
  • James sees “justify” as to prove.

We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith which remains alone.— Phillip Melanchton

James and Paul (James 2:5)

The difference between wages and an heir

  • Wages come because of your efforts.  An inheritance comes because of your relationship.
  • You become a Christian not by your own efforts  (wages), but by grace; what God did for you. It is a gift.(Ephesians 2:8,9)
  • When you become a Christian you are an heir.

Signs that you do not have a LIVING faith

1. You believe— period.

  • Like demons, it is possible to have sound doctrine and not have a faith that is real.  

2.  You shudder

  • Demons respect God’s power and greatness, yet are afraid of God.
  • You can be so scared of punishment that you become a religious person.

Signs that you have a LIVING faith

1.  If it’s alive toward other people. (v. 14-17)

  • If you have a living faith, the presence of the poor, something inside you is activated.
  • Example: Rahab – living faith that is courageous toward others.

        2.  If it’s alive toward God.

  • Example: Abraham
  •  A dead faith may obey God for what you get out of it or because of what you avoid.(shuddering) 
  • True faith seeks friendship with God, to see the beauty of God.
  • True faith understands how God sees you.

Psalm 27  (TPT)
Here’s the one thing I crave from God,

    the one thing I seek above all else:

    I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,

    finding the sweet loveliness of his face,

    filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.

    I want to live my life so close to him

    that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.