James 2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
As a newly married couple, my wife Grace and I bought some inexpensive furniture that required that we carefully follow directions to assemble it. Quickly, it became obvious that I am no good at following directions. I kept getting the steps out of order, and Grace stepped in to carefully read the directions so that we did everything in the order that it was designed.
In Christian theology, there is something called, “the order of salvation”. The basic idea is that salvation gets done in an order determined by God and that the order matters. Apparently, building a Christian is a bit like building a dresser, and getting things done in the right order is a big deal.
This section of James is full of controversy. We are told elsewhere in Scripture, especially the passages written by the Apostle Paul, that God’s grace alone saves us (Eph. 2:8–9). Yet James seems to be saying that good works play a role in our salvation (v. 24). God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself, so how can this be? We’ll look more at this in tomorrow’s devo.
In verses 14-17, James is speaking of a faith largely based on lip service without lifestyle. What does he call this kind of faith?