James 2 - The Lightbulb is On!
These works here are what men can see. God is not here in the context where He must see works, but it is man that must see the works. Grace and works would be like water and oil as the two do not mix. The works here are before man and not before God. Paul said in Romans 4:2:
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; BUT NOT BEFORE GOD."It should be clear that the verses to follow are men that are said to be justified by works but it should be clear according to Romans 4:2 that it is NOT BEFORE GOD. Our faith was to be witnessed before the poor folks in the church and our works should be testified before the world as well.
It is hard arguing that James is talking about saving faith versus some "non-saving faith" in this passage. These believers were guilty of showing partiality and yet they were addressed as believers from beginning to the end. Somehow people see the word "save him" and immediately it must be a salvation form hell when this salvation is not even in the context.
Our faith is useless if it does nothing. The context here is the poor man and what good would our faith be to save him and fill his needs if we merely tell him to be filled without lifting a finger to help him?
The poor man is in the context and believers WERE showing partiality. It was believers that WERE displaying a dead faith before them by not giving them the things they need, but they WERE still addressed as believers.
The "him" is the poor man as the following verses shows.
Who is in the context? The poor are they not? Let's make the poor singular and call him Jim. Let's read that passage again:
"14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save Jim? (the poor man and not the one with the faith. Can faith alone help Jim? Look at the next verse)?...People see the word "save" and immediately assume salvation from sins must be implied when this is not a gospel message nor are people being told to see if they ever were truly saved or that they are in need of saving.
15 If Jim be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto Jim, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give Jim not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead (inactive and useless and not non-saving), being alone."
Does the word "save" mean salvation from sin when Jesus prayed, "Save me from the hour"? Can a woman be saved from sin in childbearing according to Scripture? The context determines what was meant and clearly James is not talking about eternal salvation from sin here but the poor man's salvation from his plight.
Will your faith without works save (deliver) him when you tell him to be filled, clothed and so on but do not lift a finger to help him? Such a faith is useless and dead.