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James 2:18  (King James Version)
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<< James 2:17   James 2:19 >>


James 2:17-18

Some of the wrong thinking about works is derived from Martin Luther's teaching that salvation is by faith alone, a statement that does not appear in the Bible. It is true that God gives salvation through His merciful gift of grace. However, James says that a person's faith is proved by his works (James 2:14-26). If a person has no works, he is actually proving that he has no faith.

People who denigrate Christian works must be rigidly ignored because God pointedly assigns work to all Christian converts. Ephesians 2:10 pointedly states, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has prepared, ordained, and assigned these works beforehand. They are requirements and must be accomplished to the level and quality God judges as right and good. At the same time, these works are the very purpose for which the Christian is called and converted. Even though the works do not earn one salvation, God's calling, regeneration, and assignment of works are given so that we are prepared to live that same way of life for all eternity.

The works that we do—the way we live our lives—prove our conversion, that our faith in Christ is real and makes the witness that glorifies God. Thus, we must understand these truths regarding works:

1) God has never intended that works save anybody. Jesus is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. God knew beforehand that we would need a Savior for salvation.

2) Doing the works provides practice in God's way of life, thus helping to ingrain His way as part of our character.

3) Doing the works is a witness before the world, and by them God is glorified. These are their major purposes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Two): Works



James 2:17-26

Obedience and keeping the law are prerequisites to true, living faith. Without obedience, faith is dead, worthless. By these few scriptures alone, we know that anyone who says the law is done away has not yet made contact with the true God and has no basis for faith toward Him!

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God



James 2:18-20

Since Christ questions whether even the elect will have the kind of faith He requires, it should be obvious we must grow in faith. Our initial faith toward God has to expand from a tender trust to full-blown conviction. Though we begin by being faithful in little things, we begin to develop the absolute trust required to submit our lives to our Sovereign and Provider without question, equivocation, or wavering.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God



James 2:18

Testimony of beliefs without the works to prove them is invalid.

If we are put on trial for our beliefs, the Court will say, "We want to see your faith in action." If the Bible requires something, it is God-ordered. If it is God-ordered, it should be a conviction. If it is a conviction and God-ordered, not to do it would be a sin, disobedience to God. Before we state that what we believe is a conviction, we must be prepared to say that its opposite is a sin.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is a clear command from God to give our children a Christian education. Are we prepared to say that not to do so is sin? After all, God orders it. How are we doing it? What have we provided for our children's Christian education? How much time are we spending doing it? If we have children, we can be sure these questions will be asked.

If we say we are against unrighteous themes in movies and TV (adultery, fornication, murder, pornography and obscenity made to seem attractive, justified, right and good), or that we believe good and righteous themes should not be debased, then we can be sure the next question will be, "Do you own a TV set?" Yes, we answer. "How much did it cost?" Several hundred dollars. "Where do you keep the TV?" In the living room. "Why there, where it is available to the whole family? How much time do you watch it each day? Have you ever heard obscenity on your TV? Have you ever seen sin exalted? Why do you invite into your home these things you claim are contrary to your beliefs?" A sharp attorney will ask such pointed questions, and our lifestyle could condemn us unless it matches our beliefs.

The Court will concentrate on looking for whether we live our beliefs. We must live up to what we say we believe. The Court will not demand that we be perfect, but that we consistently show by our lifestyle that we are living by what we believe.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Are Your Beliefs Preferences or Convictions?




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing James 2:18:

Matthew 23:23
Romans 2:13
Galatians 3:7
Galatians 3:19
2 Thessalonians 3:2
James 2:14

 

<< James 2:17   James 2:19 >>



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