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Faith That Is Only Words

January 21, 2020

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? James 2:14 (NIV)

Try to picture this man. He claims to have faith. He says he is a believer. He talks about believing in Christ. But James says he “has no deeds.” There is nothing distinctively Christ-like about his behavior. Nothing makes him obviously different from other men in the world, except that he claims to have faith. His faith is only in his words. It is a claim. It is only something that he says.

James tells us that a faith like that is completely useless. He gives us an illustration to show how useless this kind of faith is. Suppose a man is cold or hungry. Someone says to him, “Keep warm. Eat well.” What good is that?

The point that James is making is very simple: faith that is only about words is as useless as telling a man who is hungry to eat or telling a man who is cold to keep warm. A faith like that will not save you. It is completely useless. It leaves you in the same position as the devil (2:19).

The devil knows Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross and rose from the dead, but the devil does not love Christ or trust Christ, and he certainly does not serve Christ. The devil serves himself. He is completely preoccupied with his own misery.

Faith that justifies is not a dead faith, but a living faith; a faith that expresses itself in love.

How do you, personally, feel about James’ point that genuine faith must exhibit itself in love for Christ?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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