But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
— JAMES 2:18 —
Veniamin Portansky: Word of Grace Bible Institute | USA
Imagine this scenario. One person speaks of salvation by faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, but shows negligence in matters of practical sanctification, seeing obedience to God’s word as an attempt to convert them to legalism. Another person focuses all her attention on external behavior as proof of salvation, minimizing the importance of faith. What a contrast! Sadly, this is all too common. Just as breathing testifies to the presence of life in the body, so does the fruit of righteousness to living faith within a person. Saving faith cannot exist without good works of righteousness, and works cannot be righteous without faith. God does not accept our works if they do not come from true faith. Without faith, man cannot please God! James says that saving faith cannot be separated from the fruit of righteousness. If faith does not manifest itself in spiritual growth, then that faith is dead. Indeed, faith is a state of mind and it can be seen and evaluated only on the basis of how it affects a person’s thinking and behavior. Just as breathing testifies to the presence of life in the body, so does the fruit of righteousness to living faith within a person. We are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). Does your faith display itself in a godly life, or do you continue to live an unfruitful, unholy life? Do not justify an unfruitful life by the fact that you are born again but have not yet committed yourself to Christ. That is not an option. The only proof of genuine faith is practical obedience to the truth of Scripture.