James 2:14-18 (NKJV) 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
These verses were written by James, the brother of Jesus. It is important to note that James did not become a follower of Jesus Christ until after Jesus was resurrected from the grave. Once James became a follower, his actions reflected such - he became zealous for the kingdom and strived to spread both Godly truth and love to everyone that he encountered.
During his life, James spent much of his focus encouraging Jewish people to grow in their new Christian faith. To accomplish this, he often wrote motivating letters.
Our focus verses for this lesson come from one such letter. James believed that if a person truly placed their faith in Christ’s saving love, then that person would have works in his life which would be reflective of Christ’s love.
It is important to note that salvation is a gift which cannot be earned. The gift of salvation is offered freely through the blood of Jesus. Since salvation is only possible through the blood of Jesus, good works do not have the power to save.
Good works are simply the result of the gift of salvation. When we truly place our faith in Christ Jesus and HIS love, our lives then become living instruments to disperse and share CHRIST’S LOVE! It is this dispersing and sharing of Christ’s love that fits the category of good works!
Ephesians 2: 8-10 (NKJV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Profit - advantage, gain, profit
Faith - belief, trust, confidence- especially reliance upon Christ for salvation
Works - labor, action, deed, task, employment; a deed, action; that which is wrought or made, a work.
Dead - a corpse, lifeless, subject to death, spiritually dead
Connection to Us
Recently I had a chance to visit the Coca-Cola factory in Atlanta, Georgia. What an amazing experience! Who knew that there was so much involved in making that most delicious carbonated beverage!?
As I sat reflecting upon our focus verses for this week, I began to make a connection between the soda fountains that I saw at the factory and our physical bodies. BOTH the soda fountains and our physical bodies are made to be “containers”. Both will readily disperse whatever they are filled with. Neither “disperse” things in the HOPES of EARNING something!
Think about this, a Coca-Cola fountain does not disperse Coke with the hopes of earning the chance to become a Coca-Cola fountain. Instead, a Coca-Cola fountain disperses Coke because it ALREADY is a Coca Cola fountain!
A Coca-Cola fountain can only disperse Coca-Cola because the fountain, container and contents already BELONG to the brand Coca-Cola. This fountain has already totally been FILLED with Coca-Cola.
In the same way, a Christian does not disperse good works in the hopes of becoming saved. A Christian disperses good works because he or she is FILLED with the LOVE of Jesus because he or she ALREADY is saved!
As Christians, let’s reflect upon this question daily. What are our lives currently dispersing? What we are dispersing is a direct reflection of what fills us. Are we allowing our “containers” to be filled with God’s love? Have we taken the time to ask for and receive a fresh and unending supply of God’s love today? We must remember that our “containers” were created to be FILLED and USED by God. His goal for us is for each one of us to spread HIS LOVE on earth! Faith without works is dead… ie…. our bodies not dispersing HIS LOVE are useless!!!!