We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV Discernment isn’t easy, but God has given us two gifts that can help us. The impulse of the Spirit Thank God for the gift of the Spirit....
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?