Vision | Devotion #3: Work Out Your Salvation
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”James 2:14-17
I attended a secular college Bible class that used the Bible as literature and not as the living Word of God. It was one of the most eye-opening semesters of my life. It taught me a few things about myself. First, I do not know enough about the Bible, and I needed to study more. Second, the world has a skewed view of the Word of God and will stop at nothing to disprove it.
One of the discussions we had in the class was about James 2:14-17 and Ephesians 2:8-9,“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The professor believed that James and the writer of Ephesians (Paul) were contradicting each other. James was saying you needed works to prove your faith and Paul was saying we only need faith and it is not the result of the works we do.
I believe 100% that the Bible is the perfect written Word of God. Everything was put in the Word on purpose for a purpose. I am telling you it is both. James is telling us that if we have been saved by faith and God’s amazing grace, we cannot help but do works for others. It is the proof that we have been changed. It is also us showing and giving people love by serving them.
Dan Smithers, a missionary to Durban, South Africa, put it best. If starving kids come to him and all he does is tell them about Jesus and sends them away, they will never be changed. But if he gives them PB and J and then tells them about the Bread of Life (Jesus), they now can see what Jesus is like. People need something they can touch and feel, and we are the only Bible they are going to read and the only Jesus they will see.
Paul is not arguing with James in Ephesians but is adding to it. The message is consistent; you do not need the works to be saved. It is nothing we can or have done but it is everything that Jesus has done for us, and we are saved only by grace through faith.
Serving and works are a very important part of our faith, and without the proof of works, your faith is dead. The Bible is clear. Take a good look at your life and works and find out why you are serving or why not.