(14) What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? (15) Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. (16) If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.James 2:14-17 KJV
I was thinking about this passage of scripture this morning. The word that came to mind was paradox:
def > a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
On the surface it seems it’s a contradiction to say salvation is by faith alone and also say faith without works is dead. But what James is telling us is that our actions tell us and everyone else what we really believe.
An example of this is my saying “I going lose weight” for years but never doing what I need to do to make that happen. My actions contradict what my mouth is saying. The reality or truth is found in what I’m not doing not what I’m saying.
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justifiedGalatians 2:16
Think of works as an indicator of our faith or lack thereof. Works do not save us – only faith in Jesus Christ has the power to do that.