Can Faith Save Him?
James, the half-brother of the Lord, asked this question in his great New Testament epistle. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14)
Many today teach and believe that the mere expression of faith saves. But James says otherwise in this inspired text of Scripture (James 2:14-26). He says that “faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead” (v. 17).
Some tells us that if a sinner will only believe (accept Jesus as his personal Savior) he can be saved. In contrast to this James wrote: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (vv. 19-20) Are the demons saved? No. But James says that “even the demons believe in one God and tremble!” So why aren’t the demons saved if they truly believe? Demons do not have works that accompany their belief. They do not change. They continue to do contrary to God’s will.
James provided two Old Testament examples of the kind of faith that pleases God.
(1) Abraham: his “faith was working together with his works” “when he offered Isaac his son on the altar” (vv. 21-22). All Bible students know of Abraham’s great faith. But the reason his faith was so great was because it was an obedient faith (faith + works). No matter what instructions God gave him, he always obeyed (Heb. 11:8, 17-19).
(2) Rahab: this woman of Jericho believed in the God of Israel (see Joshua 2:1-21). Her belief in God was demonstrated by her works in hiding the spies Joshua sent. “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” (James 2:25)
What were you taught about salvation? Was it “faith only”? Is not ironic that only the time that Bible speaks of faith only, it says “NOT by faith only”? “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).
Jesus Himself did not say, “He who believes will be saved.” Jesus taught: “He who believes AND is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). I would strongly urge you to hear and heed the teachings of Jesus and James, and not men today who teach just the opposite!