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Non-Saving Faith

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Non-Saving Faith[1]



1.     Have you ever purchased a certain something (appliance/electronics) that was supposed to make life easier.

(1)         You see the advertisement… new…improved…more powerful…

(2)         This thing you are buying is best thing since sliced bread.  Advertisement has us wondering how the world ever survived without it.

A.       Device that will hold 30,000 songs you can wear on your belt and only cost $200.

B.       $70 Coffee maker that with the use of individual pods will make one cup of hot coffee.

C.       Slicer / Dicer;  Walk-fit arches;  Hulk Hogan’s Ultimate Grill; Hair loss treatments,

D.       Chef Tony’s kitchen knives never need sharpening;  Ronco Food dehydrator; Spaghetti maker…

(3)         You put it on, plug it in, or try it out, AND… NOTHING!  IT DOESN’T WORK.

A.       Maybe you can’t get it to work at all.  Maybe it doesn’t work like it said it would.

B.       Looks good (not quite as good as on the box / tv, but looks good).  It was brand new…

(4)         For all intents and purposes, it is worthless and useless.

2.     James, in dealing with the subject matter of faith (James 2) gives us food for thought.

(1)         Faith is supremely important – (Heb. 11:6).

(2)         Faith is the source of the victory we seek in life (1 Jn. 5:4).

3.     Read Text: James 2:14-26.

(1)         James is discussing a faith that will not allow you to please God.

(2)         James is discussing a type of faith that will not overcome the world.

(3)         James is talking about a non-saving faith.

DISCUSSION: Bible describes a saving faith, but also details a non-saving faith.

I.         Faith Without Love (2:14-17).  (Loveless)

1.      It is hard if not impossible to separate biblical faith and love.

(1)           You really can’t separate biblical faith from obedience (active obedient trust).

(2)           Neither can you separate biblical faith from love.

(3)           How does one demonstrate a love for God?  ANS – Keep commands (Jn 14:15; 1 Jn. 5:3).

(4)           Love = our motivation --à   End result faith.

2.      Also, keep in mind that the Bible teaches that we cannot love God without loving others.

(1)           1 Jn. 3:10-11.

(2)           1 Jn. 3:17-18.

A.          No love… no action.

B.          No action… no faith.

3.      Is that not what James is saying?

(1)           Christian faith in God is demonstrated in your love of others (what does Islam offer?).

(2)           If I see others in need, but I do not act…

A.          I have demonstrated a lack of love for people.

B.          More important, I’ve demonstrated a lack of love for God.

(3)           An inactive faith = a loveless faith.  A loveless faith does not work.  It is dead!

II.      Faith Without God (2:18-20).    Godless

1.      In other words:  “If you believe in God, but don’t translate that into action, it is nothing less than demonic behavior.”

2.      Bible says that demons possess faith.

(1)           It is not active.  It’s dead / inactive.

(2)           They possess a faith, but that’s it!  Faith only!

3.      A majority of the denominational world centers their hopes and beliefs around the idea that Faith ONLY saves.

(1)           Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort (Discipline Of The Methodist Church, NY: Methodist Publishing House, 1939) p. 40

(2)           The BFC acknowledges as brethren all those who share its confession of faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It confesses gladly the benefits of the historical and geographic breadth of this fellowship.  (Bible Fellowship Church –

(3)           “Obedience is the OUTCOME of being rightly related to God by faith.  Obedience is NOT the means by which we become rightly related” (The Cornerstone Church -

4.      Notice James Question:  “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works?  Can faith save him?”

(1)           Many of our religious friends / co-workers would say, “Yes!”  Many believe and answer – “faith only saves you.”  Believing is enough.

(2)           James answers differently.  James answers in the negative.

A.          Dead (vv. 17, 20, 26).

B.          Unable to save (v. 24).

5.      Do works only save us?  ANS = NO!  (Eph. 2:8; Lk. 17:10).

6.      Works do not earn our salvation, BUT they do show that our faith is alive.

(1)           Heb. 5:8-9.      Question – What did Jesus learn?  What played part in perfecting?

(2)           Mt. 7:21.

III.   Faith Without Promise (2:21-24)  Promiseless

1.      Remember God’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3;  Gen. 17:19)?

2.      Remember how God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as sacrifice?

(1)           Without biblical / godly faith this would make no sense at all to Abraham.

(2)           God promised Isaac was the chosen seed, yet now God says to kill him?

3.      Abraham had something more than the commands of God.  Abraham now more than any other time of life had active obedient faith in God.

(1)           Abraham now trusted God enough to obey Him no matter what.

(2)           Abraham now believed God more than any demon ever believed God.  Abraham believed enough to put it into action.

(3)           “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead…” (Heb. 11:17-19).

4.      Salvation in Christ Jesus is a promise of God to you.

(1)           To have any hope of receiving the promise, you must act in faith.

(2)           Mk. 16:16;  Acts 2:38;  Rev. 2:10.

(3)           If you end your journey of life upon this earth without ever acting… you might have what some call faith, but it is dead faith.  Faith without any promise from God.

IV.    Faith Without Fruit (2:25-26)   Fruitless.

1.      Rahab:  fruitful or unfruitful faith?

(1)           She believed in God.

A.          She hid the spies, returned to them and said – “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Josh. 2:11).

a.         Knew about God of Israel.  How He brought them up out of Egypt to her doorstep.

b.         She believed God’s promise of the land to Israel.

c.         Rahab’s faith was active not inactive.  She was motivated to hide the spies.

(2)           Rahab’s faith justified her.

A.          Through obedient faith she brought forth the fruit of her deliverance from death.

B.          Josh. 2:18 – She received instructions that would save her life (scarlet cord in window).

C.         Josh. 6:25-27 – She did exactly as she was instructed, and delivered as promsed.

2.      Have you ever been with someone when they died?

(1)           With the spirit = alive.  When the spirit of the person is gone = dead.

(2)           James says – “When works are absent from the life you seek to offer God, your faith is dead is well.”  “Cold pile of clay.”

3.      If you have faith in God you will be compelled to obey Him (faith + works).  If your faith is misplaced elsewhere then you will not be compelled to obey God (dead).


1.     A newly purchased appliance or gadget that does not work is not the end of the world.

2.     But, a faith that does not work… It is far worse.

        (1)     Loveless.

        (2)     Godless.

        (3)     Promiseless.

        (4)     Fruitless.

3.     God is worthy of you belief, trust, and obedience in all things.


[1] Outline by Bill Burk.  Additions and adaptations by Toby L. Soechting for preaching at Howe, TX (6/10/2007).

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