by Pastor David Grey
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? – James 2:14
God instructed Moses to cast a bronze serpent and raise it high above the camp so that anyone bitten by a poisonous snake could stare at it and be healed.
He gave Noah a specific blueprint and told him to build an ark. He laid out a strange battle plan for Joshua to take Jericho and He told Gideon to pare his army down to a mere 300 men before going into battle.
Can you imagine any of those men responding, “Thank you, Lord. I believe you. I have faith in you” and not doing just as God had instructed? Of course not.
True faith has always been accompanied by obedience. This is precisely what James means in the above verse. Faith that is not accompanied by obedience is not faith at all. James says that there is no life, it is dead.
The problem many have with this statement in James stems from misunderstanding the word, works. Martin Luther, coming from a ‘works for salvation’ background was so thrown by the word that he concluded the book of James did not even belong in the Canon of scripture. Many have been confused about this ever since.
After all, are we not told in Ephesians that we are saved by grace and “not by works”? So, are works important or aren’t they?
The answer is simple when we understand that the writer of the Ephesians and James are talking about two different kinds of works, or more accurately, works which stem from two different motivations within us.
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