“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”
James is writing to Jewish Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire (1:1).
if someone says
James establishes a hypothesis of someone who claims to have an active, dynamic faith but, in reality, has a dead Christian faith. He is a Christian, but his Christianity has little impact on his daily life. This person claims orthodoxy but does not have an “orthopraxy.” Many people have a creed but no conduct. The true fruit of faith is a person who applies truth to experience.
Ep 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
he has faith but does not have works?
Someone claims that he can have faith without works dislodges the principles of Christianity from the application of Christianity. Some claim that they love people, but they show no mercy to them. They discriminate against lower economic levels in the congregation. This is a disjunction of faith and works. True Christianity has a consistency between what we do and what we are. What we do exposes who we are.
True Christianity maintains consistency between what we say and what we do.
Not just any faith can deliver a person from a dead Christian life; only a vital, dynamic trust in the principles of God’s Word can do that. All talk and no walk is not the Christian life.
Faith without a manifestation of that faith in what we do is a dead faith. Principle and application must be in agreement if we are going to have a dynamic faith. Principle without application is an incomplete principle. There is no profit or value in an incomplete principle. In God’s Word, principle and application always walk hand in hand. A professed faith and an actual faith are two different things. We can tell what genuine faith looks like by its action.
Many Christians do not deny the verities of the Christian faith with their mind, but they deny them with how they live out their lives. They live as if the principles of the Word of God do not exist. This is self-deception and delusion (1:22). True faith demonstrates itself in acts of love (2:15). Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. Others can only see our faith in what we do.