The Root Produces The Fruit.

James 2:14-18

“What does  it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 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? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

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Faith And Works.

“Faith Without Works Is Dead.”  Most of you reading this have probably heard a sermon or two on this topic.  It’s a message is expounded on from pretty much every pulpit.  

Far too often, sadly, this passage is taken out of context to make you believe you need to do good works in order to be pleasing God, to be acceptable to Him, and/or to prove your love for Him.  The implication is, of course, that the lack of them “proves” that either you don’t love Him enough or, even worse, maybe you’re not even be saved! Now there’s a frightening thought!  😲

Predictably, there is a call for everyone to “Repent!”  and, just to be sure, you run up to the altar to get “Saved,” all over again.  Church, this is not a scriptural concept.  It’s another in a long line of deceptions from you know who:  The devil. 👿🙄

Context Is King.

Any time you take the TEXT out of it’s CONTEXT, you are left with a CON.  Well, we don’t need any of that in the Church! SO, since the Bible is its own best commentary, let’s look at this passage in it’s proper context because, when it comes to Bible interpretation, CONTEXT IS KING.

First in order of importance is to determine TO WHOM the book is written. The entire book of James was written TO, and I quote:  “The twelve tribes that are scattered abroad.”  (See ch. 1, vs. 1).  Paul is writing TO THE JEWS OF THE DISPERSION.  Notice that he is admonishing them not to neglect caring for other believers in need.  THAT is the CONTEXT of his remarks. 

Secondly, what he is talking about has nothing whatever to do concerning your right standing with God but relating with those around you.  Your relationship with God is a done deal.  

(For an more in-depth study on this topic as well as on rightly dividing the word of God, you may follow the link below:

https://emmausroadministries.international/2016/05/06/part-1-of-16-introduction-to-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/)

Remember Widows And Orphans.
At the end of chapter one, James is reminding these Jews, who were scattered throughout the Roman world, not to forget widows and orphans.  Chapter 2 also encourages these same Jewish believers not to show favoritism to those who are wealthy over those of lesser means.  
He emphasized that they are not justified by works before God but before men.  By that he meant THEY (the world) will know us by our love. 💖 The entire book of James is teaching about relating to others, not about being acceptable to God.
Forever Secure.
Church, your good works cannot save you; they never could.  They have nothing to do with either procuring or maintaining your salvation.  The lack of them will not cause you to lose your salvation or be left behind in the rapture, as some have more than hinted.  AS IF! 😲

Do not be afraid:  You are forever safe and secure in Jesus!  You can NEVER lose your salvation!  Call it “Eternal Security” or whatever you want.  I put my faith in the FINISHED work of JESUS!

Dead Works.

That (false) “teaching” is a cheap scare tactic by well-meaning preachers but it is an abuse of the privilege of the pulpit.  The person teaching it is using his own self efforts to try and manipulate his people into living holy lives.  It is a dead work that not only does not bring about the desired result: It backfires. 💥
(For more on the subject of holiness, you may follow the link below:
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Transformed By Beholding.

The one thing that would be most effective in helping people live holy lives seems to be the one thing many don’t seem to want to preach.  It is simply this:  Beholding Jesus in His beauty and glory, not our ugliness and gory. 

But if you go to church and during the sermon Jesus’ Name is hardly even mentioned and His beauty unveiled, how can you be transformed?  The answer is, “YOU CAN’T.” 😓  If you don’t hear about Him, the Holy Spirit, Who actually does the transforming, has nothing to work with.  Give Him the raw materials He needs and your people willl be changed, effortlessly…..without your striving, pastors!

Backwards?

We are transformed by beholding, not scolding.  In fact, if the sheep are not fed, there will be no root to become the fruit! 😓 The Church has it backwards.  We are trying to get the fruit without first feeding and watering the root by unveiling more of Jesus!  That’s like asking the fire to give you warmth without supplying any wood. 🙃

Please understand that our Daddy is ALWAYS WELL PLEASED WITH YOU!  You can read more on this subject by following the link below:

Feed My Sheep.

At the risk of being misquoted, we pay far more attention to the lost than to the sheep that already are in the fold.  Jesus said “Let the children first be fed,” FED being the operative word.  When they are properly fed and watered, the sheep go and do good works because they want to, not because they have to or you told them to. You won’t have to beg them to go out and reach the lost;  THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO SHUT UP ABOUT JESUS!!!

I’m telling you:  If the greater part of your preaching from the pulpit is unveiling Jesus and pointing to Him, better be prepared to enlarge your Church buildings.  A great harvest that is sure to come your way.  It will be standing room only! 😍

The Purpose Of Good Works.

So what do these verses in James mean?  They can really mess you up until you read what Jesus had to say on the subject.  Let’s see what He thinks is the purpose of “good works.”

Matthew 5:16
“16 In the same way, let your light shine before Others, so that THEY may see your good works and GIVE GLORY TO YOUR FATHER who is in heaven.”

Aha!!  Good works point the way TO GOD to those who are UNSAVED so that THEY will see them and glorify your Father In Heaven AND PERHAPS GET SAVED!

You see?  It has NOTHING to do with YOU doing good works in order to be pleasing to God.  I reiterate:  With us He is already “well-pleased!”  WE ARE HIS BELOVED!

Double Negative.

Listen:  Your salvation is a sure thing.  It is NEVER EVER EVER in jeopardy.  Read for yourself in John 10:28-29.  Nothing…..not any force, no evil spirit, NOT EVEN YOU, “can pluck YOU out of His hand.”  You cannot even jump out. 😁

The verb in this verse is a DOUBLE NEGATIVE in Greek, “ou-mé,” which makes the negative even stronger.  It means “Ain’t nuthin’ no way no how” can ever, ever, EVER, no NEVER, take you away from Jesus!!!  AMEN!!!

According to Romans chapter 5, we are not justified before God by works, but by faith.…..and look at what Matthew wrote in chapter 25:
“37 “Then the RIGHTEOUS will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

In Love With Jesus.

See? The righteous are so enamored with Jesus and doing what makes Him happy that they don’t even take note of their good works.  They are actually unaware of them.  They do good works because they know how much THEY ARE LOVED BY JESUS as a response to His love.  Good works just flow!  Sometimes they gush all over everybody!

When you know how much you are loved by God, no one will have to beg you to do good works, make you go out and witness to others, or live a holy life.  You wouldn’t be able to stop doing those things even if you wanted to.

We love, we live, and DO because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.

So you see, you have to have THE ROOT to produce THE FRUIT!

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