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James 2:14,17-18,26 – Faith or Good Works, What Works?

This is the revelation that is shaping my life today – I must get the role and location of faith and good works in the right context of my life with God.

James 2:14,17-18,26 NLT

[14] What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? [17] So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. [18] Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” [26] Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.



Here is a wrestle. On what basis do I call myself a Christian? Is it because I am a man of faith, or is it because I display by my good works The God life? Am I right with God because I work hard or because of my faith? I think that faith and works are not two different ways to God, they are two sides of the same coin. Faith receives my right standing with God based on what Jesus has done and nothing I do, no works. But then standing with God, being in His presence cannot but rainstorm me into a person that walks out His ways in my life. Faith positions me and from that position, good works result.


The question that James asks is – can you really have faith if it has no transformational effect on your behaviour? You see faith does not believe in God, or what He has done, faith walks with God because of what He has done. Faith is not belief in an abstract philosophical world view, faith receives forgiveness and righteousness that leads to the intimacy of relationship. Walking in the love, mercy, beauty, forgiveness, grace of God is transformative or your not walking with him. God has an effect on all who walk in His presence humbly, the effect is a transformed life that works itself out in Kingdom of God living. It might look different on you than me, but it will be evident on us both.


The challenge is if we rely on our good works and not on Gods grace for righteousness, that is if we try and work for his favour, not from His favour, then we will know His favour. Our good works are an overflow of intimacy, not a means to deserve intimacy. “I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” Good deeds are always evidence of faith, not a means to replace faith as the way to right relationship.



I desire that my walk with God, that His intimacy, will have the transformative effect on my lens, my mindset and my language through which I see and live my life. It will find expression in my good works that show the Kingdom of God is in me, you will evidence the Kingdom through me because I am a citizen of that Kingdom. I will never rely on my works, or bring them to God as a trade for His mercy, forgiveness or love, this is disgusting to Him. They will only ever be the overflowing beauty of His intimacy.


Thank you that you make me right with you based on your goodness, based on Jesus, and based on nothing I do. Thank you for the power of righteousness to transform my life into a living expression of you and your ways. I will live in the freedom of your salvation and in the overflow of your salvation in my life. Thank you that you rescue me to yourself for your life to flow in me. I am blessed!


Do you see that there are times where you try and work for God’s favour rather than rest in His favour?

Do you allow the intimacy of God to transform your life into a living expression of your relationship with Him?