What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
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?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
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?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
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.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
James asks a very important question in verse fourteen. The question itself illustrates that it is possible to have a faith which will not save you. The answer one gives is vitally important. James asks whether or not a person’s faith, which is not accompanied by action, can save him. In other words, if someone says he is saved, but he does not have actions that demonstrate it, is he really saved? As you read through this section, it becomes obvious that James’ answer is no, this kind of faith does not save. Can a person who claims to be saved, really be saved if he does not reach out and meet others’ needs when he becomes aware of them? Does just believing in your head and knowing factually that Jesus is God and that He died and rose again enough to get you to heaven? According to James, no it isn’t (18-19). Is he saying then that we are saved by our works? No! He uses Abraham and Rahab to illustrate that works do not save you, but that if you really have saving faith, you will demonstrate it by the way you live. Faith is manifested by the way you act. What do your actions tell you about your faith?
Observation: What do I see?
Interpretation: What does it mean?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do?