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Faith Without Works is "Dead"

While it is impossible for us to earn our own salvation through good works (just as it is impossible to earn our own salvation through works of the Law of Moses), it is also impossible for us to have a living and active faith without showing that faith by our works:

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 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 recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, 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."  James 2:14-26

Works Without Faith?

What about the man or woman who tries to earn their own salvation solely by their works...rather than putting their faith (the faith that leads to obedience) in the promises of God and Jesus?

What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works."  Romans 9:30-32 (NAS)

"You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision* nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?"   Galatians 5:4-7 (NAS)

Are we seeking to be justified based on a foundation of works of the Law of Moses, or based on a foundation of an obedient faith in God and Christ Jesus?

* Note:  Circumcision involves the cutting of flesh and was required for all male Jews by the Law of Moses (see Galatians 3:17).  This physical circumcision was not required under the new covenant...the Law of Christ.

True Faith Produces Love and Obedience:

Look again at Galatians 5:6-7 above.  Under the new covenant, faith working through love is what is emphasized.  Whether or not you were circumcised (physical circumcision was required of the Jews only by the Law of Moses) does not mean anything anymore under the new covenant.  Verse 7 says..."you were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?" 

True faith means that we are "working through love" and that we have the type of faith (the obedience of faith) that leads us to "obeying the truth."

Thought Question:

Ask yourself...what, if anything, hinders me from "obeying the truth?"

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