James 2:10-14, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” James 1:25, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Carefully notice in James 2:14 the words “my brethren.” The Apostle James is speaking to born-again believers here. “The perfect law of liberty” is the inspired Word of God according to James 1:25. In this life we want the blessings of God, and in Heaven we want the rewards. Salvation is simply accepting God's gift of eternal life. But we're not there yet, and it's not over, so we have to serve Him faithfully until we get there, if we want God's blessings in this life and to receive rewards in Heaven. This has nothing to do with salvation, which is the gift of eternal life. It is so important dear reader that you understand the following truths from the Bible:
FAITH ALONE = SALVATION (ROMANS 4)
FAITH + WORKS = SERVICE (JAMES 2)
Romans chapter 4 is about salvation. James chapter 2 is about service. God doesn't make us serve Him. He may make you wish you had. You may be sick in prison or even die prematurely because of sin. As a child of God we cannot live as we please and get away with it. God is not an absent parent. Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Unfaithfulness always costs. A lack of discipline in your life is always paying a price. It's costing you from something that you could have been rewarded for, but you'll lose out in eternity! James chapter 2 speaks of rewards that are earned by works. Romans chapter 4 speaks of salvation that is obtained solely by faith.
There's a God in Heaven Who sees everything, and you're not getting away with anything (Proverbs 24:12; Matthew 12:36). The way we live is seen by others (Matthew 5:16). Romans 4 speaks of God's righteousness received as a gift. James 2 speaks of rewards earned by works. Our attitude determines our altitude as a Christian in life. Your whole life revolves around profit and loss as a believer. Your faith cannot save you from loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but your faith alone can save you from Hell. Oh how most believers will suffer great loss in eternity for a wasted life on earth (1st Corinthians 3:11-15). As believers we are not settlers here on earth, we are pilgrims passing through.
Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If you are not fishing for men, you are not following Christ! God is going to reward you for your faithfulness to Him. You alone decide how faithful you are going to be to Him, and He will reward you accordingly (1st Corinthians 3:5-9). Remember that you are saved by God's grace, and not by works. We are saved by what Jesus did through the cross to pay for our sins. PAID IN FULL! We don't serve Him to go to Heaven, we go to Heaven solely on the merit of WHAT JESUS DID to pay for our sins with His precious blood!
In James 2, the apostle speaks about Abraham being justified in the eyes of men by works, when he offered up his only son Isaac, whom God promised would be the heir of a great nation. Abraham believed if he obeyed God by killing Isaac, that God could and would raise him up from the dead, because God had made a solemn promise to Abraham concerning Isaac, that he would be heir of a great nation someday (Israel). We're not talking about salvation in James 2, we're talking about service. This is what Jesus meant in Mark 8:35, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Everyone has assets and liabilities. We all have something to offer God. We all have things about us that is no good. The more that you get to know people, the more you'll realize they're not so great after all. People may seem like angels at first, but there's about 9 inches between a halo and a noose!
James 2 is speaking to believers about what we say and do, now that we are saved. We are all going to be judge someday by God for everything that we have said and done in the body (2nd Corinthians 5:10-11; Romans 14:10-12). Most of these notes in my article were taken from a beautiful sermon, by one of my favorite preachers Pastor Ralph 'Yankee' Arnold, called: “Faith Without Works.” Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works dead. A man is justified by his works for service, but by faith for salvation.