“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” James 2:14
It’s evident from James 2:14-26 that there are two kinds of faith, dead faith and dynamic faith.
Dead faith is when “a man claims to have faith but has no deeds” James 2:14. It’s intellectual faith that never results in action. It’s head knowledge that knows nothing about shoe leather. It’s the pew warmer personified. It’s the person that’s full of talk but without the walk.
In contrast, dynamic faith is living faith. This is faith that has power. It’s faith based on God’s Word (cf. James 1:18). This is faith with an object – it’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s faith that involves the whole person – it involves the mind, the emotions, and the will. It’s faith that results in changed lives. And it’s not an isolated event – it’s faith which results in continual acts of obedience in response to God’s will. For dynamic faith obeys God and proves itself in daily life and good works.
So what kind of faith do you have? Is it dead or dynamic? In 2 Corinthians 13:5 it says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” Consider the following:
- People with dead faith acknowledge the reality of sin. People with dynamic faith are grieved over the cause and root of sin and do everything in their power to admit responsibility, repent, and be reconciled with God.
- People with dead faith say, “I believe in God.” People with dynamic faith say, “Search me, O God … and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.
- People with dead faith agree with the teachings of God’s Word. People with dynamic faith walk “according to the law of the Lord … keep His statutes, and seek him with all their heart” Psalm 119:1-2.
- People with dead faith speak about caring for others. People with dynamic faith “look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1:27.
- People with dead faith know that Christ is going to one day return. People with dynamic faith live in a constant state of readiness for His return and have nothing to be ashamed of.
- People with dead faith agree it’s important to tell others about salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. People with dynamic faith take every opportunity to reach out and share the good news with their neighbours. They’ll step out of their comfort zones, and if need be, are prepared to be humiliated for the cause of Christ.
- People with dead faith see the importance of financially supporting God’s church. People with dynamic faith give tithes, offerings and alms. They make it their priority to give the first fruits of their labours to the Lord’s work.
- People with dead faith think that missionaries should be sent to every tribe and tongue and nation. People with dynamic faith say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”
- People with dead faith believe in the golden rule, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” People with dynamic faith give the hungry something to eat, the thirsty something to drink, invite a stranger in, clothe those needing clothes, look after the sick, and visit those in prison (cf. Matthew 25:35-40).
- People with dead faith have no problem with people praying – just as long as no-one asks them to pray. People with dynamic faith intercede for others, plead with God for revival, and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” Ephesians 6:18.
I could go on. There are countless ways to test yourself and see if you have a dead faith or a dynamic faith. But at the end of the day it’s evident in a changed life marked by consistent good works. For “what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:14.