Faith Without Works

by Joanna Pierce on February 22, 2018

What doth it profit, my brethren though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? (James 2:14, KJV)

Faith and Works

In our personal relationship with God, we must exercise both faith and works. We cannot be void of either faith or works because the lack of one will impact our life as well as others. We have a tendency to define faith and works by our own standards, and in doing so, we put God in a box. We cannot define faith and we cannot define works. We must look to God and his Word to see the definitions.

Many claim Paul was an advocate for faith only and James for works only. However, a close look at the Word shows Paul and James both supported the coupling of faith and works together.

Six Principles of Faith with Works

See All People as Equals

We cannot see people as objects without value; we should see everyone as an equal because the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Scripture tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We need to look upon people with the heart of God.

If we don’t combine our faith and works, we become just another body on the pew—a part of the furniture. We need to look upon people with loving eyes and be moved by the Spirit to help people, from all walks of life. James tells us not to favor one person over another (James 2:9), but to love and help everyone equally.

Stay Motivated to Keep All the Laws

We cannot pick and choose what part of God’s Word we want to follow and what elements we want to avoid. If we don’t abide the whole law, we’ll be guilty of all of it (James 2:10–13). Jesus came to follow the whole law. He set the example, so we must follow Him!

The love of God must be in us to be able to follow the law. Fear is not enough of a motivator to help us keep it. We must genuinely love God, love His law, and love every part of our relationship with Him. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, he will help us do the things He has called us to do (Titus 2:11–14).

Couple Faith with Action

A man cannot just say that he has faith without showing any works (James 2:14). Faith is always going to be active and moving. If we read about our patriarchs and matriarchs of faith in Hebrews 11, we see their faith had “legs”—it took them somewhere! Just like our forefathers of faith, we need to be working in our faith. We need to be engaged in the needs of the church and be active!

Make Sure Faith is Profitable

James tells us speaking about or believing in meeting a need for others doesn’t actually meet the need of helping someone (James 2:14–17). Unless we actually take action to help give someone food or clothing, our faith isn’t profitable (James 2:20). We need to take our faith and activate it in the work of God’s Kingdom. We should be prepared and ready to help people at all times. When someone is in need, we need to act to help them. When they return, we need to help them again.

Couple Faith and Works Together

As mentioned previously, our faith and our works can not stand in silos. Both components build on each other; they help grow and advance each other in our life and in the Kingdom of God. Just like following after the full law, we can’t pick and choose one over the other to abide in our walk with Him.

Show forth Evidence

James noted, as did Paul, that you can’t just have faith without works. You will show your faith by your works (James 2:18). We must declare our faith in Jesus by change. When you have an encounter with Jesus, you won’t stay the same. The work of obedience to the Gospel will work a change in us. With the Holy Ghost flowing through us, it will help us to bring power to our faith, which will manifest into works. The Holy Spirit will guide us and move us into places we’ve never been before. But, without the faith, we won’t have the works, and without works, we won’t have faith.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 21, 2018 with Pastor Linton