Faith IS Action

James wrote this from a place of love to help people come to ‘True Faith’. One of the enemies of True Faith is being satisfied with ‘Good Intentions’. In 12-15 years of leading the Jerusalem church: he had seen action & intention, James had seen the real deal and he had seen the fakers.

James 2:14-26

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

  • Again James is calling to account those who declare themselves ‘Christian’
  • All Show & No Go / All Talk & No Act
  • I pray none of us will be that person…
  • What is the kind of faith that can save anyone?
  • Must ‘Saving Faith’ move you to act?

15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

  • ‘You See’, we are responsible for what God brings us into contact with
  • An example of ‘Good Intentions’ without ‘Good Actions’
  • Have you ever been the object of this kind of ‘Care’… Not care at all

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

  • James is defining / God is defining FAITH
  • What gives our faith life is the action it produces

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

  • Biblical Faith, can’t help but be ‘Shown’ by the life one leads
  • True Faith is not a matter of intention (the road to perdition is paved with…)

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

  • There is a difference between claiming faith and ‘Living Faith’
  • A belief in the reality of a All Powerful Creator is not Faith that saves
  • It is the faith in God that is expressed in the laying down of your life in trust

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. (perfect)

  • Previous actions were mixed…this time Abraham’s actions were 100% faith
  • His faith enabled him to Act. His Actions ‘exercised’ his faith

23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

  • God is not looking for us to have ‘theoretical’ faith, but to act in reality
  • What he knew about God he acted on, and by acting God grew his faith

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works

  • Two examples both listed in Hebrews 11 (both ends of the ‘food chain of faith’)
  • Was everything in Rahab’s life as it should be?
  • When given the opportunity to act on faith in God,she did
  • Good works are as essential to faith as breath is to a body…
  • Lack of breath PROVES a body is dead…our actions PROVE our faith is Alive!

Application Questions:

How do you honestly evaluate your ‘Faith’ as being a ‘Saving Faith’?

Does your faith drive your actions or do your actions drive your faith?

When have you acted because you believed God no matter what? What happened?

How do you define ‘Belief’? Do you have beliefs you do not act on?


The end of the previous passage, James 1:25

But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

  • ‘The Law That Sets US Free’ is JESUS!
  • WE need to carefully examine HIS LIFE and His Word (O.T. & N.T.)
  • WE are set free when we surrender our lives to Him
  • WE live out the reality of our surrender by His Spirit in us: ‘Living 4 Him’
  • WE keep living for Him and experiencing the blessings of His presence

Today we will look carefully at some specifics of that ‘Perfect Law’: we will see how we can do it, (LIVE IT OUT, NOT JUST TALK) and realize that we need regular reminders to keep doing it. And we will see what James means by: ‘then God will bless you for it’.

The Merciful & Just Kingdom of Christ IS Without Prejudice. What is the value of any religion if it doesn’t effect every part of your life? If we have surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ shouldn’t that impact everything? The only way for us to display God’s mercy is to recognize our own need for it. From that place we can humble ourselves before God and then HE transforms us.

James 1:26-28 & 2:1-13

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

  • The claim is critical; if you make the claim you are saying God’s Spirit is in you
  • If God’s Spirit is in charge of your tongue it will be increasingly controlled
  • God’s mercy is reflected in His followers: who needs that mercy? (Marginalized)
  • Refusing to let the world corrupt you is not a passive endeavor, it’s WAR

1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

  • Jesus Christ is ‘Undiscriminating’ regarding who He cares for and forgives
  • We are all the same to Him, God judges ‘Spiritual Condition’ we look at status
  • In order to truly reflect Christ’s impact on us we have to see people like God

5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?

  • We look at people from a worldly / material perspective
  • Our Lord, and we as His followers, are to see and treat everyone evenhandedly
  • Jesus; words in the Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor…
  • Who is truly aligned with Christ? Those who invest in this world or the next
  • We want to be in favor with the current culture and with the rich…

8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

  • The Royal law is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His call to us
  • Jesus’ parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ defines who your neighbor is: Everyone!
  • In essence, you don’t get to pick who your neighbor is based on preferences

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

  • Sin is Sin to God…we view sin in categories and rates some worse than others
  • If you have committed ONE sin you are in violation of the law and guilty
  • Our recognition of our own guilt is crucial to the process of redemption

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

  • As Christians our standards for actions & words are Christ’s actions and words
  • The core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s mercy for us:
  • Mercy for others is to be our way of life
  • God will judge our attitude, words and actions based on our ‘heart of mercy’

Application Questions:

What has, and what currently shapes your definition of ‘Pure & Genuine’ Religion?

How can you actively practice treating people the same no matter their socioeconomic status?

Why is favoring people with resources over those without a sin equal with murder?

Who’s been an example to you of practicing mercy consistently & indiscriminately?