Q. Please explain the meaning of this biblical verse: “Faith without works is dead”
A. This quote comes from James 2:17 which says, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. “
One of my early mentors used to say, “If what you say you believe does not result in action, you probably don’t really believe it.”
One of the results of our faith in the Lord Jesus is a changed life. We’re no longer slaves to sin, no longer held captive to the things of this world, and we want to express our gratitude for being given the gift of salvation that set us free. This creates a desire to do nice things for others, showing our love for them as a reflection of the love the Lord showed for us. We don’t have to force this, it just happens. It’s faith in action.
Some people use this idea in the wrong way. They want to see evidence of our salvation in the things we do that proves we’re really saved. This defeats the whole purpose. If I have to do good things to prove to you that I’ve been saved, then I’m not doing these things voluntarily as an expression of my gratitude for what Jesus did for me. I’m doing them out of fear that you’ll think I’m not saved. Instead of being free, I’m right back in slavery.
We don’t have to prove we’ve been saved to anyone. Our voluntary acts of kindness prove it to us, and the Lord who knows what’s in our heart doesn’t need any proof. No one else matters.