Righteous action does not save a person in and of itself, but it gives evidence that there is genuine faith in the heart, faith which does save a person.

BibleGateway: James 2:14-26

ESV Text: James 2:14-26

James 2:14–26 (Listen)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good1 is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Footnotes

[1] 2:16 Or benefit

(ESV)


KJV Text:

The section starts at about 1:41 and ends at about 3:18

     14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(KJV)


Hymn: TLH 377 (LSB 555):
Salvation unto us has Come

Hymnary.org — Organ Audio

1. Salvation unto us has come 
By God’s free grace and favor; 
Good works cannot avert our doom, 
They help and save us never. 
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, 
Who did for all the world atone; 
He is our one Redeemer. 

2. What God did in His Law demand 
And none to Him could render 
Caused wrath and woe on every hand 
For man, the vile offender. 
Our flesh has not those pure desires 
The spirit of the Law requires, 
And lost is our condition. 

3. It was a false, misleading dream 
That God His Law had given 
That sinners should themselves redeem 
And by their works gain heaven. 
The Law is but a mirror bright 
To bring the inbred sin to light 
That lurks within our nature. 

4. From sin our flesh could not abstain, 
Sin held its sway unceasing; 
The task was useless and in vain, 
Our guilt was e’er increasing. 
None can remove sin’s poisoned dart 
Or purify our guileful heart,- 
So deep is our corruption. 

5. Yet as the Law must be fulfilled 
Or we must die despairing, 
Christ came and hath God’s anger stilled, 
Our human nature sharing. 
He hath for us the Law obeyed 
And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed 
Which over us impended. 

6. Since Christ hath full atonement made 
And brought to us salvation, 
Each Christian therefore may be glad 
And build on this foundation. 
Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead, 
Thy death is now my life indeed, 
For Thou hast paid my ransom. 

7. Let me not doubt, but trust in Thee, 
Thy Word cannot be broken; 
Thy call rings out, “Come unto Me!” 
No falsehood hast Thou spoken. 
Baptized into Thy precious name, 
My faith cannot be put to shame, 
And I shall never perish. 

8. The Law reveals the guilt of sin 
And makes men conscience-stricken; 
The Gospel then doth enter in 
The sinful soul to quicken. 
Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live; 
The Law no peace can ever give, 
No comfort and no blessing. 

9. Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone 
And rests in Him unceasing; 
And by its fruits true faith is known, 
With love and hope increasing. 
Yet faith alone doth justify, 
Works serve thy neighbor and supply 
The proof that faith is living. 

10. All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise 
To Father, Son, and Spirit, 
The God that saved us by His grace,- 
All glory to His merit! 
O Triune God in heaven above, 
Who hast revealed Thy saving love, 
Thy blessed name be hallowed.