Theme: COMMENTARY ON JAMES CHAPTERS 1 – 2
Text: “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. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” – James 2:18-20.
Comment: This statement by Apostle James had been misunderstood by some in the past, who felt the doctrine of justification by the merit of good works which Apostle James stresses in the above text contradicts St. Paul position that man is justified by faith.
The point Apostle James is making in the above text is that faith, which is belief in God can only be meaningful or convincing when it is expressed in action. If salvation could be obtained merely by expressing belief in God, then the devils would also be saved because they also believe that God exists. (James 2:19) But because it is by what one does that people can know the sincerity or depth of his faith, Apostle James highlights the difference between the person who sees a brother or sister naked and destitute of food and gives him the things needful to the body and the person who merely tells him to go in peace, even though he could do better by assisting him materially. (James 2:15, 16) Abraham was deemed as righteous by God on the basis of his faith in that he waited patiently until the promise of a child was fulfilled. Writing on the importance of faith, St. Paul declared: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” – Hebrews 11:1, 2.