Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1116 MP3 Audio File Video File

James on Saving Faith Pt. 2

(James 2:14-26)

Delivered 05/22/22

We began last week to look at James 2:14-26. This can be a difficult and confusing passage. In my opinion the misunderstanding of this passage has caused one of the most tragic interpretive blunders in the church. It is the misunderstanding of this passage that causes believers to judge the eternal salvation of others on the basis of how they live, in other words, according to their works. Many have the view that "If they don't live right, it's because they are not saved." It is my opinion that this is a very destructive belief because it creates a doctrine of salvation by works, a doctrine that goes against the biblical teaching that salvation is by grace alone.

The key to understanding James is recognizing how he uses the Greek word sozo, translated "save." James does not use "save" to speak of eternal redemption; he uses it to mean "physical deliverance from temporal judgment." James is telling his readers how to save their lives from the damage that sin brings.

Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21 ESV
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  James 2:14 ESV
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 ESV

These verses all deal with how to save your life from the temporal judgment of God on sin. In verse 14, James is asking, "What will be the physical, temporal benefit to a Christian who doesn't act on what he believes?" Our faith will not save us from the temporal judgment of God on our sinful actions. James 2:12-13 reveals how God judges sin.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13 ESV

We talked last time about "the article of previous reference" which some use to try to add the words "such" or "that" to faith in verse 14. The addition by some of "such" or "that" to faith is totally unjustified, done only to try to make James fit their theology. This addition to "faith" has caused the church to adapt the idea that there are different kinds of faith. It has made faith mystical and undefinable and has added support to the anti-logical movement.

Soren Kierkegaard, a Dutch theologian of the mid-nineteenth century, started this subjective movement that most of the church has been swept away by. Kierkegaard said: "It really makes no difference WHAT you believe, the HOW is all that matters. If you are really passionate, if you really have a zeal, that is all that is important. What you believe really doesn't make any difference." We see this everywhere in the church today —mindless passion! Kierkegaard used the illustration of an orthodox Lutheran and a Hindu. The Orthodox Lutheran prayed to God but he had no passion. He just prayed according to knowledge. Kierkegaard says this is useless to God. But if you take a Hindu praying before an idol, if he prayed with passion, he would, in fact, be praying to the true God—even though he had no knowledge of God. Kierkegaard's buzz phrase was, "Infinite Passion." He said that we encounter God by zeal. His teaching has infected the modern church.

I want to give you the following deep theological thought that you need to grasp: When it comes to faith, there are not different "hows." There are only different "whats." It is WHAT you believe that matters. You cannot believe in the wrong way. Faith is understanding and assent to a proposition. You can't believe in the wrong manner; you can only believe in the wrong thing.

Others try to confuse the issue by saying that faith includes surrender or commitment. George Manford Gutzke wrote, "When we say we believe, we must always include that believing is yielding ourselves to the will of God." I think he is adding an element to faith that is not there. Faith is an act of believing through which one is given eternal life. But yielding is a process. As we grow in the Christian life, we continue to yield to the will of God. This is practical growth. If faith includes yielding to the will of God, my question is, "How much do I have to yield to be saved?" Would any of you say that you are totally yielded to God? So, how un-yielded can you be and still be saved? Do you see the confusion that comes when you try to make saving faith anything but understanding and assent to the propositions of the gospel?

One of the major causes of confusion in understanding faith as simply believing comes from a failure to see the biblical distinction between a believer and a disciple. Compare John 5 with Luke 14.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24 ESV

This teaches quite clearly that everlasting life comes to all who believe in Christ.

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 ESV

Is forsaking all a condition of eternal life? Eternal life is a free gift, but discipleship is costly— forsake all. Discipleship involves commitment and sacrifice. So, being a disciple must be different than being a Christian. You become a Christian by believing the truth. It is belief of the truth, nothing more and nothing less, that separates the saved from the damned.

Now, someone is bound to ask, "If we receive eternal life simply by believing, why should we bother to live a holy life?" This question seems to imply that living a holy life "earns" one’s way into heaven. On the contrary, believers live a holy life out of love and gratitude for all that God has done for them.

I think that most Christians tend to base their personal relationship with God on their performance instead of on His grace. Most Christians are legalistic in their walk with God.

Do you understand that nothing you ever do will cause Him to love you any more or any less? You are loved and accepted through the merit of Yeshua the Christ. Yeshua  rendered perfect obedience to God and you have received His righteousness by grace through faith.

Why do you do what you do? Do you do it out of a love for God? The person living by grace tries to live a holy life out of a loving response to the abundant grace of God already manifested in Christ.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV

It is the love of Christ that compels us to no longer live for ourselves but for Him. The word "controls" here is the Greek word sunecho which means "to hold together, i.e. to compress, constrain, hold, keep in."

So, gratitude should be our primary motive, but secondarily, we should live holy because not to brings God's temporal judgment. James is stressing the importance of works which we have defined as love in the life of a believer. Without works, walking in love, our faith will die.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26 ESV

Last week we looked at verses 14-17. Today we'll resume that study at verses 18. Here James introduces the words of an imaginary objector to his ideas.

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! James 2:18-19 ESV

Both of these verses belong to the objector. The response of James only begins in verse 20. The literary format James uses here was familiar in ancient times from the Greek diatribe. The diatribe was a learned and argumentative form of communication. The two phrases "But someone will say" (verse 18), and "Do you want to be shown, you foolish person" (verse 20) clearly show that the diatribe format is being employed. These two phrases bracket the words of the objector in verses 18 -19.

In a large majority of the Greek manuscripts of this epistle, we read "by" in verse 18 in the place of the word "without." The literal Greek would read like this:

"You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith from your works, and I will show you from my works, my faith. You believe that there is one God; you do well. The demons also believe; and tremble" (James 2:18-19).

The objector is in effect saying that "Faith and works are two distinct entities." "It is absurd to see a close connection between faith and works. For the sake of argument, let's say you have faith, and I have works. Let's start there. You can no more start with what you believe and show it to me in your works, than I can start with my works and demonstrate what it is that I believe."

The impossibility of showing one's faith from one's works is now demonstrated (so the objector thinks) by this illustration: "Men and demons both believe the same truth (that there is one God), but their faith does not produce the same response. Although this article of faith may move a man to 'do well,' it never moves the demons to 'do well.' All they can do is tremble. Faith and works, therefore, have no built-in connection at all. The same creed may produce entirely different kinds of conduct. Faith cannot be made visible in works!"

Gordon Clark's question is appropriate: "The text says the devils believed in monotheism. Why cannot the difference between the devils and Christians be the different propositions believed, rather than a psychological element in belief? In other words, the text does not say that the demons believe in Christ as Savior, or even that they believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. Those who use the illustration of the demons' faith to prove the existence of a false intellectual faith that does not redeem, are ‘comparing apples with oranges.’"

Even if demons believed the truth of the gospel, they cannot be redeemed. Christ did not die for demons but for man. Demons cannot be redeemed and that is why they "tremble." Judgment was certain for them.

Are faith and works in the Christian daily experience dynamically related? Does faith really die without the sustaining energy of works? "Such thoughts," the objector is saying, "are contrary to reality." He maintains that there is no visible, verifiable connection between faith and works. "Faith and works are not really related to each other in the way you say they are, James. So don't criticize the vitality of my faith because I don't do such and such a thing."

Now, in verses 20-26, we have James’ reply to the objector.

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  James 2:20 ESV

James says, "Foolish person" what a stupid argument, how foolish you are to make it. Are you willing to know that faith without works is dead? A thing can properly be said to be dead when it fails to respond to its environment. So, dead faith would be faith that does not respond to its environment.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18 ESV

Dead faith is a faith that does not love. Love is action; love is obedience to God's laws. Dead equals barren or unproductive. The Textus Receptus uses the word "dead" in verse 20, but the modern critics generally accept the reading "barren" as the most likely. There is a subtle play on words here in the Greek words ergon (works) and arge (workless). If you don't work, your faith is barren.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV

The word "unfruitful" that Peter uses here is often used of things from which no profit is derived. Faith without works is "unfruitful." Yeshua teaches this very idea in John 15.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:1-4 ESV

Yeshua is talking to the eleven disciples here (Judas has already gone). The subject is fruit bearing, which is walking in love. Yeshua says in verse 3, "You are clean" which is speaking of their redemption. Then in verse 4 he tells those who are redeemed to "abide in Him." To abide is to follow or remain in Him; it is to be a disciple.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:5-8 ESV

Here we see that the Christian who abides in Christ will produce much fruit; he will walk in love. Failure to abide results in chastening and judgment in time. Those Christians who bear fruit are His disciples.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Matthew 13:22 ESV

Here we see a believer whose faith dies and he becomes "unfruitful." Luke gives us insight into the fact that this person was, in fact, a believer.

And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. Luke 8:13 ESV

To prove his point, James uses the illustration of Abraham in verses 21-24. If one could not see the dynamic interaction between faith and works in Abraham's famous act of obedience, he could not see it anywhere. Abraham had a living faith because he acted on what he believed.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

James says that Abraham was "justified by works." This would have caused paroxysms! Abraham was the father of faith. To be "justified" is to be right with God. Paul taught that Abraham was justified by faith.

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Romans 4:1-8 ESV

Paul makes it clear in Romans 4 that justification is by faith alone. Paul also says this in Galatians 3.

just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"?  Galatians 3:6 ESV

So, Paul says that justification is by grace through faith and he uses Abraham as his illustration by quoting Genesis 15:6. But James is saying that justification is by works. Interestingly, he also uses Abraham as his illustration, and he too quotes Genesis 15:6. How do we reconcile this? I think that the key to understanding this is found in Romans 4.

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. Romans 4:2 ESV

Notice the phrase "but not before God." One cannot be justified by works before God, only by faith. When you believe the gospel, the righteousness of God is imputed to you. In Romans 4:3, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6:

For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness."  Romans 4:3 ESV

When you trust in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you.

just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:  Romans 4:6 ESV

"Counts" means "to deposit to your account." It is a gift of God's grace. We were all bankrupt, and we stood before God with nothing in our account. God, by a sovereign choice of His will, deposited Christ's righteousness into our account when we believed the gospel.

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6 ESV

That is how it has always been. In both the Old and New Testament, it is revealed that we are made right with God by his grace. He dispenses that grace to us and we respond by believing and are saved; works are not involved. Does James believe this? Yes, he does. In James 2:23 he quotes Genesis 15:6. Well, what then does James mean in verse 21?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

Listen carefully! James says here that he was justified when? When he offered Isaac on the alter. That was forty years after the time when he is said to have believed God. if works are necessary for justification, Abraham went forty years believing God without being justified.

This problem is resolved by understanding that there is "another" justification, and it is by works. There is a justification before God, by faith. And there is a justification before man, by works. It should be clear that James and Paul are not using the word "justified" in the same sense. Remember our hermeneutical principle: determine carefully the meaning of words. James uses the word "justified" in the sense of "to vindicate."

Warren Wiersby writes, "By faith he was justified before God and his righteousness declared: by works he was justified before men and his righteousness demonstrated."

L. Strauss writes, "There is one's justification before God and one's justification before the world of men."

George M. Gutzke writes, "James uses the word justified with a different emphasis than Paul did. When James writes about justification, he is referring to the experience of a person being made acceptable before God in actual practice. It is one thing to be cleared from all guilt because Yeshua died for us. It is another thing to have our way of life acceptable in the sight of God." I agree with this statement.

There are two kinds of justification. Abraham was justified by faith before God but he was also justified by works before men. The only way we can demonstrate our faith before men is by love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 ESV
For in Christ Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:6 ESV

Living faith is demonstrated in love.

Abraham was justified by faith (Genesis 15:6) and he was justified by works (Genesis 22). He was justified by works forty years after he was justified by faith. Let's look at Genesis 22. Before Isaac's birth, Abraham had nothing to rely on but a promise:

And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  Genesis 15:5 ESV

What did Abraham have to verify that promise? He had a very old wife who was barren and had never had children. He himself was old. He had nothing to believe in but a promise. And then Sarah became pregnant and Isaac was born. Now he had more than a promise, he had Isaac. After the birth of Isaac, Abraham was in danger of leaning on Isaac. He and Sarah had finally had a son. Abraham had believed God, but could he put his faith into action?

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."  Genesis 22:1 ESV

God tests Abraham's faith. Would it act or would it die?

He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."  Genesis 22:2 ESV

Forty years earlier, God promised Abraham that he would have a son. When he finally had that son, he was told to kill him. Would he act on his faith and obey God? As a parent, how would you respond to this? I would need many signs for conformation. But notice Abraham's response.

So, Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Genesis 22:3 ESV

Abraham's faith in the covenant-keeping God was alive and he acted. This is an incredible act of faith. God had made Abraham a very specific promise of blessing to the whole world through Isaac. And yet Abraham is willing to kill his son in obedience to Yahweh.

Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."  Genesis 22:5 ESV

Isaac was the one essential link between the aged couple and the fulfillment of God's promise of a great posterity. Abraham says, "We will come again to you." He had faith that somehow God was going to work this out.

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"  Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So, they went both of them together. Genesis 22:7-8 ESV

Abraham tells his son that God will provide the sacrifice—this is a prophecy of the atonement of Yeshua the Christ, the Lamb of God. You know the rest of the story, or you can read it if you don't. Abraham put his son on the alter, raised the knife to kill him, and God stopped him and provided a ram for the sacrifice.

This was an incredible act of faith on Abraham's part. He believed God's promise and he acted on what he believed.

The word "justified" can be used in one of two ways.

1. To declare and treat as righteous.

2. To vindicate, to show or demonstrate as righteous.

Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."  Luke 7:35 ESV

This is teaching that a wise act produces good fruit. It vindicates a person’s wisdom.

Paul uses the first meaning and James the second. Therefore, James is using the word "justified" to speak of vindication or a demonstration of his righteousness.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

Here we see that Abraham was justified WHEN he offered Isaac on the alter. Remember, this was forty years after his justification by faith. James continues:

You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; James 2:22 ESV

One might conclude from this that the main factor in reaching the goal was works, so this can't be referring to the first use of justification—to declare righteous. Works strengthen his faith and give it vitality. "Completed" is "matured." Our faith is matured by works. As clearly as faith had generated obedient activity, so too, had obedient activity generated a richer faith. When you act on what you believe, your faith will grow.

Abraham had a conviction that God could overcome a metaphorical "deadness" exhibited by his own body:

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. Romans 4:19 ESV

Abraham moved to the assurance that, if necessary, God could actually resurrect his son's body from a deadness which would be all too painfully literal.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV

How much faith does it take to believe in something that's never happened? He knew that the seed wasn't Isaac but that the seed would be called through Isaac. It is very possible that Abraham was aware that this One who would come would be one raised from the dead. For he saw Isaac as a potential figure, symbol, type of that One who would come.

Could Abraham have believed God and not acted to offer Isaac? Yes. Do you believe that God sovereignly controls all things? Do you believe that Romans 8:28 is true? Yes, but do you always act on what you believe? No!

The Point is this: Like Abraham, we too have been accounted righteous before God by faith. Yet, that original confidence in God can be expanded and developed by a life of active obedience.

and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God. James 2:23 ESV

Who are the friends of God? Yeshua tells us:

You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14 ESV

Friendship is based upon obedience. Because of his living faith, Abraham was called the friend of God.

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24 ESV

The shift to the second person plural shows that the argument with the imaginary opponent has been dropped and he returns to the point. James never speaks of justification by faith and works; it is either faith or works.

In verse 24, James is saying that justification by faith is not the only kind of justification there is. James does not say that justification by faith cannot exist apart from justification by works. If this were true, it would have been forty years before Abraham was justified.

Next, James moves to the illustration of Rahab.

And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  James 2:25 ESV

In this illustration, he returns to his fundamental theme of saving the life from judgment. Abraham and Rahab were as different as they could be: Jew/Gentile, man/woman, good/evil, God fearer/pagan. But Rahab was like Abraham in that she acted on what she believed.

And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, "Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land." But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, "True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out. Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." And the men said to her, "Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the LORD gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you." Joshua 2:1-14 ESV

By acting on what she believed ("Yahweh your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath"), she literally, physically saved her own life. She would have died with the inhabitants of Jericho had she not acted on her faith. By her "love." she saved her own life and the life of her family. Josephus accredits Rahab's safety to her good deed.

James' readers could do the same thing. If they were committed doers of the word, they could save their lives. So can we. If it was a case of escaping physical death which sin could so greatly hasten, faith alone could not save anyone. But faith that worked could. Do you see the connection between faith and works? There is a vital connection. Life preservation is at the core of this whole passage.

What kind of works vindicate faith? As we said in our last study, love is the work of faith.

For in Christ Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:6 ESV

Abraham and Rahab both laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Their love caused them to be willing to sacrifice all for what they believed. Their faith was alive!

James closes his argument with this:

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26 ESV

"For as" is literally "just as even so." In this analogy, in both cases, if the second member is missing, the result is death. A person's faith, like his body, can die. James' point is that works are actually the key to the vitality of faith. His point is not that a vital faith is the key to works. When love separates from faith, that faith becomes lifeless and useless. When our faith dies, we lose our fellowship with God and come under temporal judgment.

Abraham's obedience to God was an act of love.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV

Rahab's risking her life was an act of love.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV

Biblical love is defined as obedience to God and sacrificial service to a neighbor. Love is the spirit that keeps faith alive. The Corinthians were believers, but they lacked love and were temporally judged because of it.

How would you characterize your faith? Is it living or dead? Are you a doer of the word or only a hearer? A dead faith is in danger of temporal judgment. It is a living faith that preserves the physical life and brings temporal blessings.

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