Speak and Act Series: Truth, Judgment and Eternity James 2:12-26
Speak and Act • Joe Schimmel said, “Many people accept Jesus as Saviour, but reject Him as Lord.” • They believe He died and rose from the dead, but they won’t repent. • If you are truly saved their will be evidence • That evidence is obedience to the faith. • Obedience is not just paramount for living the Christian life, it is paramount for salvation.
Faith and Deeds • Mt. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. • Ro. 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. • Barnes and Matthew Henry comments:
Comments on Romans 8:13 • Barnes said: “Either your sins must die, or you must. If they are suffered to live, you will die. If they are put to death, you will be saved. No man can be saved in his sins. This closes the argument of the apostle for the superiority of the gospel to the Law in promoting the purity of man. By this train of reasoning, he has shown that the gospel has accomplished what the Law could not do - the sanctification of the soul, the destruction of the corrupt passions of our nature, and the recovery of man to God.
Comments on Romans 8:13 • Matthew Henry said: “The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess. And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then, by the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh.”
Judgment • Mt. 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ • Many who claim to be Christian will not enter in, Why? Because they did not do the will of the Father.
Judgment • 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 “...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (ESV) • When the Lord comes, He will inflict judgment upon both 1) Those who don’t know God (Unbelievers) and 2) Those who do not obey the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ (Believers) • The Gospel was given to us to obey not just to know. Salvation comes by grace and obedience.
Judgment • Romans 2:7-8 “To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (ESV) • Barnes comments: “The truth here denotes the divine will, which is alone the light of truth. It means true doctrine in opposition to false opinions; and to refuse to obey it is to regard it as false, and to resist its influence.”
Salvation by Faith & Deeds • Salvation comes by faith under grace (but faith without deeds is useless and no faith at all.) • Our deeds are evidence of our faith in Christ. • No deeds, no faith. • James 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” • In saying this James is declaring that we are saved by faith and deeds and the deeds are simply evidence of faith.
Speak and Act • With this in mind let’s look for direction in our main text: • James 2:12-13 “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” • If we are constantly looking ahead to our coming judgment we will speak and act very differently. • James is telling us clearly that we must walk in holiness and emphasises that we should show mercy to those who may have hurt us.
Speak and Act • Many people have hurt us in life, and that is our test. • When we are hurt by someone as Christians, God pays close attention to how we speak and act at those times, because it is at these times that the fruit of a transformed life in Christ should shine forth. • We must be merciful to those that hurt us.
Be Merciful • Mk. 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” • Here is probably the greatest incentive to forgive others. • We must forgive so that we can be forgiven. • Obvious inference is, that if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven. • If we harbor un-forgiveness, we are as good as unsaved.
Faith Without Deeds • James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? • That is a good question, and according to Scripture we have found that the answer is no. • Someone who has true faith will have the evidence of deeds of righteousness. • Understand, these deeds do not save us, Christ’s blood saves us, but the deeds confirm that we are saved.
Do What it Says! • James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. • We are exhorted here to not just be listeners of the Word, but doers of the Word
True Religion • James 1:26-27 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. • True Christianity is this: 1) Control our speech 2) Look after the poor and needy 3) Live a holy life (resist getting polluted by the world) • The pollution of this world is chronic today and so hard to not be affected by, this is why we need to constantly repent and commit every moment of our lives to Christ.
Faith Without Action is Dead • Ja. 2:17-18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. • James is very clear here that our faith must be accompanied by acts of righteousness. • Faith in Christ with no outward sign of transformation and accompanying deeds is as good as dead faith.
Salvation • James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. • We are not saved just because we believe there is one God. • We are not saved by declaring belief in Jesus, we are saved by making Jesus the Lord of our Life. • This means He Lords over our life and governs what we say and do.
The Conclusion • James concludes his exhortation on faith and deeds by saying: • James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. • James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. • This is a radically different perspective of salvation from the seeker sensitive doctrines taught today, but from 20 years of Bible study, I have found this to be what the Bible teaches.
Noble Deeds • But the noble man makes noble plans and by noble deeds he stands. Isaiah 32:8