But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
Suppose someone disagrees and says, “It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds.” I would answer, “Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them.”
But someone might argue, “Some people have faith, and others have good works.” My answer would be that you can’t show me your faith if you don’t do anything. But I will show you my faith by the good I do.
[L But] Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have ·deeds [works].” ·Show me [Prove; Demonstrate] your faith without ·doing anything [L works], and I will ·show you [prove; demonstrate] my faith by ·what I do [my works].
Now what use is it, my brothers, for a man to say he “has faith” if his actions do not correspond with it? Could that sort of faith save anyone’s soul? If a fellow man or woman has no clothes to wear and nothing to eat, and one of you say, “Good luck to you I hope you’ll keep warm and find enough to eat”, and yet give them nothing to meet their physical needs, what on earth is the good of that? Yet that is exactly what a bare faith without a corresponding life is like—useless and dead. If we only “have faith” a man could easily challenge us by saying, “you say that you have faith and I have merely good actions. Well, all you can do is to show me a faith without corresponding actions, but I can show you by my actions that I have faith as well.” To the man who thinks that faith by itself is enough I feel inclined to say, “So you believe that there is one God? That’s fine. So do all the devils in hell and shudder in terror!” For, my dear short-sighted man, can’t you see far enough to realise that faith without the right actions is dead and useless? Think of Abraham, our ancestor. Wasn’t it his action which really justified him in God’s sight when his faith led him to offer his son Isaac on the altar? Can’t you see that his faith and his actions were, so to speak, partners—that his faith was implemented by his deed? That is what the scripture means when it says: ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.’
But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.”
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
But someone will say, "You have emunah and I have ma’asim." You make known to me the Hisgalus haSod (the revelation of the mystery) of your emunah without your ma’asim, and I’ll show you, Chaver, from my ma’asim, the Emunah.
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