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Faith and Works

14 What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works.] 15 If a brother or sister is without [adequate] clothing and lacks [enough] food for each day, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace [with my blessing], [keep] warm and feed yourselves,” but he does not give them the necessities for the body, what good does that do? 17 So too, faith, if it does not have works [to back it up], is by itself dead [inoperative and ineffective].

18 But someone may say, “You [claim to] have faith and I have [good] works; show me your [alleged] faith without the works [if you can], and I will show you my faith by my works [that is, by what I do].” 19 You believe that [a]God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]!(A) 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish [spiritually shallow] person, that faith without [good] works is useless? 21 Was our father Abraham not [shown to be] justified by works [of obedience which expressed his faith] when he offered Isaac his son on the altar [as a sacrifice to God]?(B) 22 You see that [his] faith was working together with his works, and as a result of the works, his faith was completed [reaching its maturity when he expressed his faith through obedience]. 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will,” and he was called the friend of God.(C) 24 You see that a man (believer) is justified by works and not by faith alone [that is, by acts of obedience a born-again believer reveals his faith]. 25 In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works too, when she received the [Hebrew] [b]spies as guests and protected them, and sent them away [to escape] by a different route?(D) 26 For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead.

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Footnotes

  1. James 2:19 A reference to the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith.
  2. James 2:25 Lit messengers.

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