Life lessons from James #17

Faith without fruit is a false* faith.

“To be fruitful is to understand the process that Faith has on your Growth.”

*faulty, flawed – not genuine – invalid

 

James 2:14-26 (NIV) – 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James wasted no time getting to the heart of the issue.

He began with a Question:

 

James 2:14 (NIV) – 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

To put it bluntly, a faith without any accompanying fruit is a false* faith.

Jesus said the same thing in a different way:

 

Matthew 7:18-19 (NIV) – “18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

 

Matthew 7:20 (NIV) – “By their fruit you will know them.”

 

Matthew 3:8,10 – “8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” “10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

 

James was not referring to a man who has faith… but to someone who says he has faith

James is drawing a clear line here about a false faith and a genuine faith.

Just saying you’re a believer does not make you one

In fact Jesus said: Matthew 7:21 (NIV) – “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

The unnecessary confusion on the Faith–works debate stems from James 2:14 (NIV) – “Can such faith save him?”

The same Greek translation as James’s first question he spoke about a false faith.

Properly translated the questions reads “Can that kind of Faith save him?”

James was certainly NOT saying that faith cannot save a person, but a faith that exhibits no fruit is actually a false Faith.

In churches on Sunday gatherings thousands of people say they have Faith.

But James askes – “What does it profit my brethren if someone says he has faith but does Not have works? Can (that kind of) Faith save him?”

The answer….. NO!!

 

James gives an Illustration:

Having described a false faith he then proceeded to illustrate it:

James 2:15-16 (NIV) – 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

James is shining a spot light on those of us who seem to prefer words over works

Those who know how to talk the talk – but have No impact on the world around us.

Because our faith does NOT produce fruit.

 

Then he gives the application:

James 2:16-17 (NIV) – 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The point is the only way to know if faith is genuine is by its fruit.

We are never called to Judge but we are expected to have the Spiritual sensitivity necessary to be Fruit Inspectors.

 

Here’s a question we should ask ourselves:  “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would they have enough evidence to convict you?”

More specifically would anyone be able to confidently say this about you?

 

In Jesus words – Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV) – “For I was hungry and you gave me

something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I

was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed

me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to

visit me.”

I once again draw your attention to this – James was Not talking about Faith and works but: “About a faith that works.”

In the ancient world, someone finding a person who appeared dead – they would hold a mirror under that persons nose.

If the mirror got misty, it indicated that life was in the body

If the mirror stayed clear it showed the person was dead

James took a Mirror of God’s word and held it under our Faith

Is your faith breathing fruitful works OR Is it “faith without works is dead.”

A faith without fruit is a false faith.