James 2:14-26 … The Gospel message can be summed up in many different ways … one of which is that we’re saved by “faith alone in God alone.” That short summary is intended to indicate that man is unable to save himself … we are hopeless sinners … only God can save us and He does so by grace (His free gift) through faith, by our acknowledgment and appropriation of what God has done in Christ for our salvation. That’s why the Apostle Paul said so strongly that it’s not by any works of righteousness on our parts, but God alone saves us by His mercy (Titus 3:5).
Now comes the second half of James chapter 2, where James will add to our understanding of faith. He’s not contradicting the concept that faith alone in God alone is the basis of salvation. Instead, he’s strongly insisting that real faith is accompanied by action. You just can’t be God’s silent partner. Several commentators have summed up James’ argument. It was Martin Luther who said: “Faith alone can save, but the faith that saves is never alone.” Another expression of that is this: “You do what you believe … all the rest is just religious talk.” The argument of James is that faith in Christ is always accompanied, not by some required activity, but by activities of love, compassion, and support, which come from the heart.
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