WORKS: The Result of True Faith

WORKS: The Result of True Faith sermon notes

WORKS: The Result of True Faith

James 2:14-26

June 17, 2018

Pastor Ben Marshall

We are going to talk about faith and works this morning. This conversation is often filled with baggage and unhealthy understandings of the relationship between faith and works. There has been much sorrow over the course of history because of this conversation. I want to enter in with caution and clarity. I want to caution you to truly hear what the Word of God says. Listen closely this morning and work hard to understand. Here is the clearest way I know how to communicate this point for the ease of understanding and practical application: We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation brings about an inward change of our mind, heart, and will, which results in outward action. We are not saved by works; works are the natural outcome of a saved person with genuine faith in God, someone who has been regenerated, reborn of the Spirit of God by grace through confessed faith in Jesus Christ.

The summary of everything we’re going to talk about today is this: TRUE FAITH RESULTS IN JOYFUL OBEDIENCE.

 

First, let's define our terms:

FAITH – strong, confident trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture, which results in an inward transformation of the mind, emotions, and will, leading to WORKS.

WORKS – joyful, active, intentional, lived out, habitually consistent obedience to the Word and will of God.

 

Paul wrote to those specifically who thought salvation came about through works or earning salvation and forgiveness from God based on outward behavior.[1] He attacked that mentality and with absolute certainty and astounding clarity taught consistently that it is by grace we are saved, not by works (Eph. 2:8-9), we are justified by faith apart from works of the Law, and on he goes. James wrote to those specifically who already claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, those who claim to have already been justified by faith apart from works of the Law but lived out the attitude that salvation brought with it no responsibility.[2] He spoke about faith but specifically to those who merely claimed faith, while it was actually counterfeit.

They are both right. Paul is absolutely right in saying that we are justified by faith apart from the Law, and we are saved by grace through faith; James is absolutely right in saying that those who are saved have a responsibility to live out their faith through works of obedience to God.

If you have received Christ Jesus the Lord as your Savior, it will be revealed in a changed life. “Being a Christian involves trusting Christ and living for Christ; you receive the life, then you reveal the life.”[3] Essentially, to have true faith, it must impact our head, our heart, and our hands. Faith is full-hearted, full-bodied, belief in and following of Jesus Christ. There is no part of us left out.

James referenced the examples of Abraham and Rahab as two who lived out the relationship between faith and works. The faith of Abraham was revealed in his obedience to the Word of God regardless of the consequences. The faith of Rahab was revealed in her obedience to the Word of God regardless of the consequences. Faith apart from works is dead. True faith in Jesus Christ results in joyful obedience to His Word and His Will.

Looking back at the question James poses: Where is the evidence of your faith? I will do my best to show you my faith by my works. Will you join me?

 

[1] Moo, D. (1995). James. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, pp. 1150–1162). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[2]Ibid.

[3] Excerpt From: Warren W. Wiersbe. “Be Mature (James).” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/be-mature-james/id534837497?mt=11