Title: The Faith that Saves
Purpose: To change superficial faith to an active, genuine faith
1. What must you do to be saved?
2. Lot of people are saying, just believe and ask Jesus to come into your heart
3. It is true, we are saved by Faith
a. Ephesians 2:8-9 - Saved by grace through faith
b. Romans 5:1 - Justified by faith (therefore -- look back)
c. Romans 3:23-31 - Justified by faith (v.27)
d. Romans 4:1-6 - Abraham, justfied by faith not works (v.5)
e. Therefore, many will say that we are saved by faith alone
4. The book of James also uses Abraham as an example of one justified by faith
5. Text: James 2:14-26
a. Here we actually see the phrase “faith alone”, but it says NOT by faith alone
b. Says faith apart from works is dead, it cannot save
c. Is there a contradiction here?
d. Let’s examine this passage, and we’ll come back to this question.
6. P: “Faith without works cannot save you” Why? 3 Reasons:
I. FAITH CANNOT BE LIVED WITHOUT WORKS
A. (v. 15-16) Illustration of the uselessness of talk when someone is in need
B. (v. 17-18) Challenge
1. Show me your faith without the works
2. Would be like saying, show me you love me without doing anything
C. ILL: We take showers and baths in water. What is water?
1. 2 elements - Hydrogen and Oxygen
2. Everything now days comes in economy size, what if you try to do that with water
3. Separate the 2 elements to be more thrifty, take a bath in oxygen or hydrogen.
4. Problem: It is no longer water and does no good.
D. Problem today is there are those that are trying to separate faith from works.
1. The two are intrinsically connected, cannot have one without the other.
2. If you take one or the other away, you cease to have real faith
II. MERE FAITH (BELIEF) DOESN’T DO THE EVIL BEINGS ANY GOOD
A. (v. 19-20) - Demon’s believe, but they shudder
B. Many today believe in a supreme being
1. So what, the demons know about God and it doesn’t do them any good
2. It would be like saying “I believe in Penecillin”, and yet never take it when you are
sick. Is it going to be of any benefit to you?
3. (v. 20) “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?”
C. ILL: City girl ask farmer which is correct, is the hen “sitting” or “Setting” on the egg?
-Farmer, - Don’t know, don’t care.
-Girl - Why not?
-Farmer - What I’m interested in when the hen starts to cackle is whether she is
laying or lying.
D. Cackling does no good if we are not laying eggs
1. Chicken that cackles too much but doesn’t lay will eventually wind up being dinner
2. Question is for you today is are you laying, or lying?
III. ONLY PERFECT FAITH CAN SAVE US
A. But I thought we are not perfect.
B. Illustrations used:
a. Justified by works when offered Issac up on the Altar
b. (v. 23) - Believed (Faith in) God, credited as righteousness
c. (v. 22) - Faith was working --- Faith was perfected
d. Meaning of “Perfect” in Grk
-It is a relative term, exact meaning determined by context
-Could mean attainment of an end or enjoyment of an ideal state
-Could mean wholeness or completion
-Could mean blameless
e. Abraham’s faith was “completed” in works
2. Rahab the Harlot
a. Justified by works when received the messengers & sent them out
b. She believed in YHWH, protected his people, was spared.
c. Her works were a RESULT OF HER FAITH
C. Back to the original question - Is there a contradiction between Romans and James?
1. James does not say saved by works. (v.22) But by Faith Working (v.23)
2. Romans does not say saved by mere mental assent
a. (Rom. 4:3) - Same words used in James
b. (Rom 4:20-22) - Shows how it was reckoned as righteousness
-Did not waiver in unbelief
-He was able to perform (works as a result of faith)
-Therefore, it was reckoned to him as righteousness
3. Romans and James talking about different views of faith and works
a. James - Against the veiw that faith is mere mental assent
b. Romans - Against the legalistic view of becoming justified by law keeping
4. We are justified by GRACE through FAITH (See Rom. 3:23ff again)
D. Remember, justified by PERFECT FAITH. Justified by Faith (properly defined)
1. Remember-- “Faith without works cannot save you”
a. Faith Cannot be lived without works
b. Mere Faith (belief) does not do anyone any good (even the demons)
c. Only Perfect (completed) Faith can save you (faith with action)
2. Important distinction between Romans and James
a. Romans speaking directly about Salvation experience
-Rom 3:23ff - Being saved from sin and initial faith (later in chapter 6 will talk about
how we are freed from sin through our own dying
-This takes place in our burial with Jesus in baptism
-Become a new person (symbolism points to the reality - saved )
b. James is speaking to Christians who need to live out their faith
-Dealing with Christians who say they believe in God, but don’t act on it
-What sort of actions need to be an outgrowth of your faith?
3. The entire book of James expounds on these actions
4. Ask yourself if you have a “perfect” “complete” faith. Is it a real faith?
a. Enduring under trial
b. Pure and undefiled religion
c. Not discriminating based on externals
d. Control of the tongue
e. Manifests the wisdom of God
f. Produces humility
g. Produces Dependence on God
h. Patiently waits for Christ’s return
i. Prays for the afflicted
j. Strives to restore your erring brother