III. Instructions onFaith 2:1-26
A. Empty faith. 2:1-7
B. Examined faith. 2:8-13
C. Evidence of faith. 2:14-26
James is dealing with mistaken beliefs about faith. We should begin with defining faith according to the Word of God.
1. The Characteristics of Faith
a. Faith in God –
1). Believes in the existence of God
Genesis 3:1-5; Acts 26:27
2). Believes in the power of God
3). Believes in the person of God, the Lord Jesus Christ
Mark 5:7; Luke 4:41; James 2:19
4). Believes in the judgment of God
b. Faith in God –
1). Believe the testimony of the Word of God – Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.
John 1:29, John 5:22-24
2). Believe the testimony of the Word of God – I am condemned and in need of salvation
John 3:16-18, 36
3). Believe the Word of God – I will confess Him as Saviour and be saved.
Romans 10:9-13; John 1:12,13
c. Faith in God –
1). Belief – I am a new creation in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17
2). Belief – I am indwelt and sealed by God the Holy Spirit
3). Belief – I have been saved from death to life, darkness to light
Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9
4). Belief – I have new life in Christ which leads to living a new life for Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Hebrews 11:1
d. Faith in self –
Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will
I let Israel go.
2 Chronicles 32:15-16 Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no
god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall
your God deliver you out of mine hand? And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.
Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind
and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto
every good work reprobate.
1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the
Son. No matter which characteristic of faith you hold, you are identified with it by your actions. Your faith will manifest itself
in your conduct!
2. The Consideration of faith. 2:14-17 What is the true relationship of faith and works?
James is asking us to consider specifically the characteristics of saving faith.
a. Is saving faith a living faith? 2:14
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
b. Is saving faith manifested in good works? 2:15,16
1). Faith is not revealed by good intentions. Good intentions do not always produce good actions.
2). Faith produces action!
c. Is saving faith dead? Can a dead man help you: feed you, clothe you, house you?
Some had faith – they believed that Jesus is who He claimed to be, but they did not confess Him as their Saviour. They had faith that he was the Son of God but they did not have saving faith that would change their lives. They did not want their lives to change!
John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
There were others, that in the life time of Jesus that had saving faith in Him, but they kept it secret – they did not let people know they were believers because they were afraid.
John 19:38-39 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
We note that they had saving faith though, because the love of God for them led them to love Him and that love overcame their fear and they confessed Him as their Lord – by doing good works. Their works revealed their faith!
3. The Challenge of faith. 2:18,19
The challenge to truth may be brought forth by one that says “I am a Christian, I have faith in God”. The reply is simple –
“Where is the evidence of your faith”?
Your earnest belief is good, but if that is all that it is, your belief is no different than that of Satan or the demons.
They know and believe in God with all of their being, but they are not saved! The have not submitted to Him or obeyed Him.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
4. The Conclusion 2:20
Faith without works is not saving faith! It is simply belief that something is true.
This brings us to the evidence of the case being presented –
5. The Cooperation of faith and works. 2:21-26 Faith and works
Works grow out of faith, revealing the faith to the world. Do you have faith? How do you know? Do those around you know
that you have faith?