"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your* works, and I will show you my faith by my* works. 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?* Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."* And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also". (NKJV)
When we talk about faith, the firsdt thing we must understand that there are 2 types of faith. The first is called “temporal” faith and the other is called “saving” faith.
What is "saving faith?
"Saving faith is that kind of faith necessary for anyone to be saved. “Saving faith” says that I’m trusting in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation and not in any “works” of my own doing".
It says I believe in my heart what Romans 10:9 says is true and with that belief, I have confessed with my mouth that Jesus is the Son of God, he is Lord, he is the Messiah, and his death on the cross at Calvary and his resurrection from the grave (dead) was all needed to save and reconcile my broken relationship with God the Father as well as satisfy the “wages”(sin debt) sin of Adam imputed on me in order to be saved.
What is "Temporal Faith"?
"Temporal faith" is that faith that gives me the ability to do all things pertaining to having a quality of life that is lived and based upon the principles, precepts, and truths found in the word of God, and to equip me with all the “tools” and training I need to evangelize the Gospel throughout the world.
When James speaks of faith with works, he is saying that a "true believer" that believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will live a life that " reflects the spirit of obedience to the “mission” (evangelistic) God has placed upon a believer as well as one that produces “works of righteousness" and "a true submission" to the will and sovereignty of God. He is saying that the believer in faith will show his or her faith through having the "fruit of the Spirit". (Galatians 5:22- 23)
The person’s life will show evidence of the presence of the agape love of God. They will show patience and restraint, (longsuffering) have the peace of God within and strive to if possible to live peaceably with all men. They will be full of joy within, even when on the outside, trials and tribulations will be so fierce that the natural and man could not find any reason to be joyful about anything. James is saying the believer will outwardly reflect the Christian character that can only be produced by the indwelling and submissive obedience to the Holy Ghost. The person will strive to be just in all of their dealings, faithful in all they engage to do for others and exemplify the kind of character that reflects the goodness of God and their desire to do good to their fellow man in the service of the Lord. In essence, the world will see a remarkable change in the life and character of the believer that says that there is a God and he is concerned about the state and status affairs of man to the extent that he is willing to forgive man if he will be reconciled back to him by accepting his Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
I believe James is stressing that our works reflect the evidence that we are saved because these works can only be righteous when God imputes his righteousness upon a believer in Jesus Christ. A believer’s works in their stewardship to God are for justification before other men and for his or her future rewards when all believers must appear before the judgment seat of Christ when the church is “raptured” out of this world before the 7-year tribulation period on earth begins. Works aren’t necessary to “stay” saved, however, they do give evidence that we are truly dedicated to God and to the work he has assigned to us in this dispensation. Depending upon the denomination and what doctrine a particular church practices and preaches, you will find that the people attending their perspective fellowships reflect the belief in both premises and practice concerning faith and works.
As i canvassed my community and talked with various Pastors of different denominations, I found that most Pentecostal, Church Of God in Christ, Assemblies of God, Holiness, Catholic, Christian and some “Non-denominational” churches believe that you must work to stay saved. They also believed that works reflected your salvation and your dedication to God. The difference when compared to the pure teaching and interpretation of James 2, is many of their members placed so much emphasis on works, that these works in many cases may doesn't convey a true reflection of an act of obedience but rather a “pseudo-pharisac” show of "self and denominational aggrandizement.
Many of the “main-stream” (Baptist, Methodist (AME, CME, AME ZION, UME)Presbyterian, and Lutheran) churches l believe that works are essential to stewardship and evangelism, and are evidence that you have faith in the God and believe that your faith is genuine and reflects the change in your life from one of self dependency to one of growing dependency in Jesus. his presence in your life. Now, while some of the individuals within the perspective congregations do vary in their personal faith and work belief slightly, for the most part, they believe and follow the principle belief that James teaches in the second chapter. Where do you stand on this issue?