14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
Works, as used here, is our testimony. Our testimony bears witness to the faithfulness of holy and righteous God. Do you have a testimony? Does that testimony stop at your conversion? Our testimony should be growing day by day. Our testimony is a living witness to a living God. If you have no works, do you really have faith?
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “ Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. Charity or love is an operative principle. Here James is giving an example, what good is your charity if it is never put into practice? It is worthless if not practice. Faith also must be practice, else faith is worthless.
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize,you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Faith without works is dead. Faith cannot be practiced in words alone. Giving lip service to faith is worthless and meaningless. Faith must be practiced by stepping out into God’s will. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, I am sure in Abraham’s mind this made no sense. But Abraham, by faith, followed the directions he was given. God had no intentions of actually sacrificing Isaac, but God wanted to know if Abraham loved Isaac more than God. Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac showed that Abraham’s faith was fully in God.
Sometimes God will push us to go beyond our understanding, then we go by faith not by sight. We live in trying times. Right now it seems as if the world is going to melt down taking us with it. Have faith and believe that God has everything under His control. Will we suffer? Sure all men suffer, suffering came at the fall of man in the garden. But God is here and He can carry us through the rough times.
We train for what is to come. Train your faith and strengthen it as well. The time may come when our physical strength fails. Then all we have is our faith, and that will be enough.