Faith by Itself is Dead (James 2:17) - Radical

Faith by Itself is Dead (James 2:17)

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
– James 2:17

That is the resounding message of James chapter two: faith works. We’re not saved, ultimately, we’re not justified, we’re not saved by, the basis of our salvation, is not our good works before God. The basis of our salvation is Jesus’ work on our behalf, on the cross. We’re saved by grace, through faith in Jesus. And this faith in Jesus leads to work with Jesus. In Jesus, for Jesus, to the glory of Jesus. Faith that doesn’t have a work flowing from it is not true faith. And that’s the message of James 2.

James 2:17 Leads Us to Pause

So let’s pause then today, and just think about, “What are the works that are flowing from our faith today? And how can we grow in greater works, flowing from deeper faith?” And specifically in James two, there’s a picture of reaching out to people in need. If a brother or sister comes to you and who’s hungry, who’s hungry or cold, and you say, “Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed,” but do nothing about their physical needs, what good is that?

In the same way, faith by itself, James 2:17, if it doesn’t have works is dead. We are surrounded by people in need. Right around us, far from us. Let’s live out a faith that works on behalf of others in need. Specifically, as we pray for Afghanistan, and we think about the opportunities we have through an avenue like or many other avenues, God, make us a faithful people who have works flowing from our faith. We pray for that today, all throughout today, we pray that our trust in you, our focus on you, our abiding in you, would lead to fruitful work with you, in you, for you, to your glory.

James 2:17 Prays for Help to Work by Faith

God, we pray that you help us to work by faith all day long today, to your glory. To do all that we do out of the overflow of faith in you, and trusting in you, and the power of your spirit in us to produce this work. And God, we pray you and help us in a James 2 like way to be particularly sensitive, to be particularly open and obedient, with the opportunities around us. To care for those in need.

To love, like we see at the end of James 1, orphans and widows. God, we pray for foster care and adoption ministries and widow ministries and ministries to widows to flourish in our churches, through our lives and our families and church families together. And God, for those who are hungry, for those who are displaced, for those who are hurting. God, we pray that our faith would work well on their behalf.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Fruit of Faith in Afghanistan

God, as we pray for Afghanistan all throughout this month, we pray for fruit of faith in Afghanistan. Even as we give and as we pray, may there be fruit to your glory in Afghanistan. God, we pray specifically today for full and faithful translations of your word. God, we know Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by your word.” They need your word, God, please help us so that the scriptures can be translated in all the languages represented in Afghanistan, that they might have faith that works, flowing from the knowledge of your word. Oh God, we pray. Oh God, may each of our lives be marked by faith that works, that’s alive, that’s not dead. That is alive and working for the good of many others and the glory of your name. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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