For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
For the past several verses, James has been pile-driving, body-slamming, and otherwise savaging the popular notion that genuine faith can somehow exist without external evidence. By way of review, he has exposed people who espouse such a faulty theology as hypocrites and posers. He has compared them unfavorably (!) to demons. Finally, he has brought two Old Testament “big guns” – Abraham and Rahab – to bear, blowing weak antinomian theology to smithereens.
You would think that this would be enough, that James would be content to let the bruised and bloody body of this heresy lie writhing in the dust.
But no. As testament to the real-world danger posed by this perversion of the Gospel, James takes one parting shot.
You see, it’s not just that faith without works is faulty theology. It’s not simply incomplete or mistaken. No, faith apart from resulting works is dead. Kaput. It does not exist. You may see a corpse, but there is no life there. It is at room temperature. Call the coroner, write out the certificate, read the will.
Let’s put James’s point as succinctly as we can. Pay close attention to this.
If you made a decision for salvation at some point in your life, but can point to no significant results of that decision in your life, there is a very good chance that you are, in fact, not saved.
That is a pretty strong, pretty judgemental (by the current definition of that word, anyway) thing to say. That is, however, the point that James – inspired by the Holy Spirit – has been making all along. And it is much better to find out now, and come to Christ in true faith and repentance, than get a really rude awakening when it is to late.
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