James – Session 5 (James 2:14-26)
Let’s look at where we’ve been: James encourages believers to develop in their faith (1:4), asking God for wisdom as we pursue this goal (1:5-8). We will have to endure trials (1:2-11) and temptations (1:12-18). But the fact remains we were brought forth in the word of truth and are to be His firstfruits (1:18). This is not going to be accomplished by man’s anger (1:19-27) but through a willingness to seek His Word (1:21). There were some who sought to ignore part of God’s truth and were willing to show partiality (2:1-13) but James tells the readers to hold the faith determined by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory (2:1).
James now turns to how this faith — the one we are called to (1:4-8), the one we are born in (1:18), the one we are developing (1:19-27), the one we are holding (2:1) — is supposed to play itself out in our lives. Is it enough to believe? Or does this faith have to motivate us to action? Does it need to be shown? Or can you quietly know?
The Study: Here are some questions to think through as you process this passage for this coming Sunday:
- How does James address his readers in 2:14?
- How many questions does James ask in 2:14-26?
- How many statements of fact does James make in 2:14-26?
- How many illustrations does James give in 2:14-17?
- How many illustrations does James give in 2:21-26?
- Analyze James main statements as you compare and contrast 2:17 and 2:26.
As the Lord leads, read through James 2 this week. Meditate through James 2:14-26 by reading it slowly and thinking through James’ thought. Hide God’s Word in your heart by memorizing James 2:18. Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.
The Memory Verse: James 2:18, “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
The Passage: James 2:14-26 (ESV)
[2:14] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.