Applying James 2:14-26
I hope that our study of James 2 has been a help in some small way. This passage is commonly brought up as an objection to a “faith alone” “Christ alone” gospel in the evangelism we do here in Ghana. Now that we have seen, that James point is not, that a man is made right with God by the merits of his works, but rather that a genuine conversion is evidence by the fruits of righteousness in every believer, we will move to a few applications. First, saying that you are a Christian does not make you a Christian. I meet people every day, who call themselves Christians, go to church regularly, have prayed a sinners prayer as a child, yet they have not grasped the significance of the gospel. Our faith does not save, unless it is rooted in the correct object. They are not converted, no matter what they may say or thinking about their condition before God. Second, genuine conversion will produce righteous living. Notice what I said, genuine conversion will “produce” righteous living. Righteous living is not the “condition” that makes us acceptable to God, rather righteous living is the “fruit” that only God can produce in the lives of all genuine believers. He works to sanctify His children. Third, the same gospel that calls the unconverted to humbly repent of their self-righteousness and dead works to depend upon the righteousness of Christ, also calls the believer to recon himself dead to sin as he submits to the indwelling Spirit who produces the righteousness of God in his life. This righteousness or Christ-likeness is not something that gives us merit before God; rather this righteousness is something that vindicates our profession of faith before men. Our last two points are questions. First, have I truly understood the gospel and placed my faith in the righteousness of Christ alone? I am very concerned that many people today know about the facts of the gospel, and have prayed a sinner’s prayer as a child, maybe even many times, only to be ignorant of the significance of the gospel. Some, of these people, rebel against their “Christian culture” when they become adults. Others experience frustration in the “Christian life,” or become “cultural Christians” who go through the motions of genuine Christianity because they enjoy its traditions or desire not to be looked down on as irreligious. These actions do not make them Christians. Have you placed your faith in Christ alone and His righteousness? Second, is there evidence of the fruits of righteousness produced by the Spirit in my life? James point is simple: You can say anything you want about your standing before God, but a fruitless profession of faith is worthless, and it cannot save. Genuine conversion produces righteous living. May God grant us the grace to be honest with these important Bible truths concerning Biblical conversion!