James 2:14-17—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.
Faith produces action. The early church must have had just as much trouble as we do today when they realized that they were saved by faith in Christ. People looked at it as a magic formula. They thought if they understood what Christ did for them and voiced their acceptance of it they had a guaranteed place in heaven. James is trying to tell them that genuine faith will result in actions. You can’t separate faith and actions. The actions don’t save us, but they will accompany the faith. Jesus said the same thing by declaring that you will know a tree by its fruit. If someone has a real faith in Christ, then their actions will be like those of Christ. James’ illustration was of meeting physical needs. You can tell a person to be fed and clothed, but it won’t do any good unless you take some kind of action to see that they receive the food and clothes. The analogy says that saying you have faith means nothing. The evidence of genuine faith is a transformed life. If you have believed you were right with God but continued in your old lifestyle, then you must come to the realization that you are fooling yourself. Repentance is a change of direction. To accept Christ as Lord implies that you are no longer the master of your life. Consider: Is your faith alive? Is there enough evidence in your life to convict you of being a Christian? If not, go to the cross and die with Christ, and be raised to a new life in Him!