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14 What [tis] doth it profit [ophelos], my [mou] brethren [adelphos], though [ean] a man [tis] say [lego] he hath [echo] faith [pistis], and [de] have [echo] not [me] works [ergon]? can [dunamai][me] faith [pistis] save [sozo] him [autos]? KJV-Interlinear
14 What use is it, my brethren,
if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?NASB
Many folks get confused by these verses, in that Paul
teaches salvation by faith alone and not works, while James appears to teach
salvation by works in addition to faith.
But both Paul and James are speaking of different
works, and that is the key to understanding these next few verses.
The book of James covers the application of
wisdom.James addresses believers, not
unbelievers.Paul addresses unbelievers
28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith
apart from works of the Law.NASB
Paul is addressing legal works, or works from the sin
nature. James is addressing spiritual works, or works from the productive
aspect of ones spiritual life.Both sets
of works come from different perspectives in ones life.
Legalistic works come from all unbelievers and from
works are the fruit of the sin nature.
The sin nature has an area of strength, which is human
good or legalistic works, and an area of weakness, which is sin.Both of these were dealt with at the
Cross.Sin was judged and therefore is
no longer a barrier in human life.However, human good was rejected for the better works of Christ.Therefore, faith becomes the path of
salvation, not human works.
Now, once you are saved, by believing in Christ, then the
issue in your life is no longer, 'what do you think of Christ,' but one of,
'what do you think of doctrine?'
And in the spiritual life of the believer, brings an
expectation of production and preferably spiritual production vs. human
production.The fruit of the spirit is
compared with the fruit of the sin nature.
In other passages, the fruit of the sin nature is
compared to wood, hay, and stubble or worthless production.The fruit of the spirit is compared to gold,
silver, and precious stones or production of phenomenal and intrinsic value.
One day you will stand before Christ to be
judged.In the case of believers, that
judgment is an evaluation.He will
examine the production of our spiritual life as evidenced by the production built
up in our soul.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will cleanse us
with a special fire, a fire which will burn away all worthless production -
wood, hay, and stubble, and leave behind and in tact, all production of value.
If all you have in your soul is human good production,
then you will be, as it were, standing naked before Christ.Could be a bit embarrassing since all of us
will be standing there looking right at you.
If you have advanced in your spiritual life, then your
soul will shine brightly with the more valuable spiritual production - gold,
silver, and precious stones.That will
be your shining moment, and your ticket to phenomenal wealth for all of
So now we have James.Your faith gains you salvation, but faith alone is not enough to advance
you to spiritual maturity.You can talk
the talk, but you also have to walk the walk.And that means that you have to commit your life to living in accordance
with Gods mandates, not just recite them, not just memorize them, not just give
them the pretense of what is really a shallow commitment.
The word here for save, 'sozo,' does not mean to save
from judgment, but it means to make whole, to complete, and therefore means to
advance one to spiritual maturity.
Salvation from judgment gains you a new birth.That is the beginning point of all
believers.Once born, then you must grow
up, and in growing up you are expected to become a responsible and mature
member of the family of God and of society.
To advance in ones spiritual life, presumes that you
will take that which God has given you - time, volition, and doctrine, and with
these three assets, invest them in a productive spiritual life.
Such that, when you stand before Him, He will say to
you, 'You have been a good and faithful servant.'This is faith (ones spiritual life while in
fellowship), combined with works (spiritual production).
Rather than saying to you, 'You have been a worthless
and unproductive servant.'Or faith
(ones spiritual life while out of fellowship), combined with works (legalistic
work of the sin nature).
You may want to review the Parables of Christ, study.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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