Faith Without Works is Dead – Shut your Face

dead worksWhen the Apostle James said, “faith without works is dead,” what’s he mean by that? How are we to take it and use that for our own benefit? And a more important question, how often is it applied incorrectly?

For this page, we’re going to dive in and get to the bottom of these wonderful verses found in the book of James, and also compare them to the definition of faith that the Apostle Paul gives us in the book of Hebrews.

James 2: King James Bible

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Faith Without Works is Dead, But what is Faith?

what is faith

Faith is some rather strange stuff. I’d be willing to guess that there is a dimension, where things like faith, love, charity, etc., are a visible substance. It could be that only the Godhead can peer into the dimension, but I’ll bet it’s there.

Matthew 9: King James Bible

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Luke 5: King James Bible

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Great is your faithImagine a dimension, let’s pretend that the Lord told us it’s the 16th dimension, just for a point of reference. A place where we could pick faith up and put it down; grab a handful of it and throw it across the room, juggle it, wear it, build bridges with it, etc..

Let’s compare that to something that we can reach out and tinker with ourselves, such as rocks. We can do all of the same things with rocks can’t we? We can pick rocks up and put them down; grab a handful of pebbles and throw them across the room, juggle them, wear them, build bridges from them…

The point I’m trying to make is, here in this 3rd dimension, we know that there are several different types and kinds of rocks. So it is (so I’ve come to understand) with faith. Just as a quick example of two different types of faith, we can see without question through the Word of God, that there is an enormous difference between the faith of Christ and faith in Christ. I go through that in depth in a post about the Shield of Faith.

Jesus said that faith can move mountains, can make you whole, can get lost “Where is your faith,” can fail and not fail,  and can be found.

He also said to have faith in God, that there’s little faith (mustard seed), and that there’s great faith, we can be faithless, we can be full of faith.

Luke 18: King James Bible

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Faith has a special kind of substance to it according to the Word of God.


substance of things hoped fornoun ~ Courtesy of
1. that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material: form and substance.
2. a species of matter of definite chemical composition: a chalky substance.
3. controlled substance.
4. the subject matter of thought, discourse, study, etc.
5. the actual matter of a thing, as opposed to the appearance or shadow; reality.
6. substantial or solid character or quality: claims lacking in substance.
7. consistency; body: soup without much substance.

The Apostle Paul uses that particular word “substance” to define faith, and I don’t believe that it is by accident.

Hebrews 11: King James Bible

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Show me Your Faith and I’ll Show you Mine

Show me your faith

James 2: King James Bible

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?

Right off the bat, it should behoove us to take notice of something of importance, so that we’re not found guilty of taking scripture out of context. This first verse sets the tone for all that will come afterward.

James isn’t talking about faith itself, or even about works. When we look at it, the focus is about talking, boasting, saying… Face noise.  “Though a man SAY he hath faith…”

Also, he’s right, we’re not saved by faith alone, but by the grace of God Almighty, through his sacrifice (works) of his Son, that we’ve got faith in. This is where people get confused and think that Paul the Apostle is at odds with the Apostle James.

For whatever the reason, people tack on the assumption that James is saying that without our faith, and our works, we’re not saved or can’t be saved. If this were true, sure, it would be at odds, but it’s not true at all. The scripture doesn’t say that.

Ephesians 2: King James Bible

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

When we’re anchoring ourselves to Christ Jesus, we’re anchoring ourselves to his fulfillment of the Law, and the fulfillment of the once and for all sacrifice that he gave on our behalf. Holding fast to the law of liberty, which is a separation of the laws of sin and death.

Romans 8:

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

The mistake being made by some folks is that they throw Salvation itself into the mix, as if we’re saved by OUR works as opposed to the works of Christ. Our works are as filthy rags in the eyes of the Father. That is at least true in absence of Christ Jesus in us, as a purifying filter for the Father to see us through. We are not ever in our lifetimes, worthy of Heaven by our own merit.

It’s by Christ and Christ alone, and faith in the Father. We have faith in God, that he sent his Son, that Jesus died on the cross, and rose again, as propitiation for our sins, bearing unto himself that which should have been reserved for us. The only work that we’re involved with concerning Salvation is a decision. That decision is to believe & have faith in the Father, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the gospel tells us.

So it is our faith in his works that we are saved, not our own.

Do not boast

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

There it is again… “And one of you SAY…” Not only is this scripture pointing out that talk is still cheap, but by turning away that person just as they arrived, is a display of using faith as a charitable prevention program, or a form of either spiritual laziness or “self preservation,” as if to say:

“I’ll not give you what you need because I don’t have faith that the Lord will see and reward me for it, but I’ll have faith that the Lord will provide for you instead, removing all risks of me losing my stuff!”

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

To put it into modern day vernacular… Put up or shut up. Don’t talk about how much faith you have. Shut your face and let your faith be seen and not heard! When did Jesus ever have to tell anyone that he had faith? To boast about your own  faith is to boast of yourself, not of the Lord. And that friends is pride.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Faith can indeed be seen by others. Not as the Lord can see it, but can be seen through works. And as we can see in both chunks of scripture presented above (James and Hebrews), examples are given to help us understand that the actions taken by Saints like: Abel, Abraham, Rahab, Enoch, all cause for us to even be able to examine their faith.

Without their works that were a response to the literal Words of God, we’d not have their example of the fruits of their faith. But what we don’t find is their own confession, speaking about how much faith they enjoyed to do this or that.


What James isn’t Talking About

  • Salvation

  • Brownie Points

  • Works of the Law

  • Faith in God

  • Faith in Christ Jesus

  • Spiritual Gifts

  • Whether or not you have Faith Period

I’d like to point something out here, that I’ve also elaborated on in other posts…

James never pointed out, ‘faith in what.’ We assume by default that he’s talking about faith in Christ, but I would propose that the same could be said about an Atheist, Satanist, Wiccan, Buddhist, or a Muslim.

The same rules that James used in chapter 2 apply to these folks as well. This isn’t only true in Christianity. You can judge ANY tree by its fruit, and you can judge anyone’s faith by their works. You can learn what their faith is anchored to by how someone works it out.

a humanist that is Scared of peopleIf, for example, a person boasts of having faith in humanity, and never leaves the house for fear of being mugged, stabbed, or in any way wronged by people, has 25 locks on every door of the house, and hides under the bed any time someone either calls on the telephone or knocks on the door, what is the object to which this person’s faith is anchored? Humanity?

No, instead it’s anchored to fear. You can judge what’s in a man’s heart by what comes out of their mouth, but you can judge a man’s faith by their deeds. They’re not always the same thing, nor are the two always in alignment with one another. But as it concerns faith, actions speak louder than words.

I’ve seen more faith by Atheists concerning the topic of evolution than I’ve seen from many Christians about Creation. Faith is not a “Christians only” attribute. It’s what, or better yet WHO,  we’ve placed our mustard seed faith in that matters.

If it were not so, Jesus wouldn’t have had a reason to tell us who to place our faith in, would he?

Mark 11: King James Bible

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.


So to conclude this topic talked about James chapter 2, I’d forward to you the following conclusion. If you find yourself talking about how much faith you may have in the Father, make sure that you’re able to put your money where your mouth is so to speak.

As believers in Christ Jesus, if we are to boast of anything, it should be of the Lord, not of ourselves. If anyone had the privilege, right, or occasion to boast of himself, it would be Jesus. But he never did. Where do we think it’s a good idea to do the things that Christ deliberately did not do?

Let your faith be seen by all, and only heard when inquired about your works. This has a tendency to curb pride for awhile, and also keeps you from looking like a fool. Not a fool for Christ’s sake, but instead a fool when called to task on boasts.

Faith Without Works is Dead - Shut your FaceThank you for sticking with this almost lengthy article. I pray that it might have ironed out a few things should any of you have had questions or confusion about this topic.

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2 thoughts on “Faith Without Works is Dead – Shut your Face”

    • Hi there Mari,
      I just took a minute and checked out the article, thanks for sharing. It appears that we reach the same conclusion. That Jesus did all of the work as it relates to our salvation. And there’s not one thing that we can add to or take away from his completed work. As it relates to salvation, it’s our faith in his work on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, that trumps any other work, and is a sure foundation that we’ve been given to lay hold of, the hope of Glory.

      Thank you for your comment & may the Lord bless you in Jesus name.


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