James 2:14-26 – Faith and Works
SummaryJust as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.
AnalysisIn an imaginary dialogue, the author argues against the false impression that it is possible to conceive of faith apart from faithful action in the world. Faith and works belong to a unified perception of the gifts of God through wisdom, which is intensely practical. God's gifts are purposive, and God's purpose is that the world be loved through those who are given birth through the implanted word as the "first fruits of creation." When it comes to the word of truth, there is no such thing as "hearers only"; there are only those who are "hearers and doers" (see James 1:22-23). To be any other is to be those who forget what God has created them to be. For James, even to speak of faith without its "completion" in works is "senseless" (verses 20, 22). The argument is sealed by the illustration of two "friends of God" whose faith was exhibited in righteous action, Abraham and Rahab (verses 23-25).