Genuine Conversion Produces Righteous Living: James 2:14-26 Part 3
By the time we get to James as we read through the New Testament, James 1:26-27 should not shock us: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is useless. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James’ argument reflects the rest of scripture. Genuine conversion produces righteous living. Then we come to the heart of our text: James 2:18 says, “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James point should be obvious to us by now. It is impossible to show me your faith. It is in your heart. It is between you and God, but it is impossible to hide the evidence of genuine converting faith in Christ. The heart of James 2 could really be summed up in this one verse. “I will show you my faith, by my works.”
Two Sunday’s ago, we had many visitors for a special service. After the service, a visitor spoke with one of our men. In their conversation, the visitor referred to our church as a “righteous people.” The statement was really quite interesting. We did nothing to present ourselves as righteous. We talked about sin, and our unworthiness before God. We talked about God’s grace and the need to be converted. The visitor knew this church member and obviously he knew that this man is a sinner, so how could he view the church members as righteous people? The answer is found in the scriptures that we have been discussing. This man saw the difference that the gospel had made in the lives of our congregation. He saw the seriousness with which we approached God. He saw the humility of the body, and it made an indelible imprint in his mind. He said, you say you are Christians, now I know you are Christians, because I can see the character of Christ revealed in your lives. This should be a common occurrence in the lives of professing Christians. You are a righteous person…I have seen it. What you say is true…you must be a genuine child of God. Genuine conversion produces righteous living.