The Book of James has caused much hassle for some folks through the years and some have even said it ‘should not be in the Bible.’ It is basically over the ‘faith and works’ texts that are presented by James. Such as:
“But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:18-20)
I personally have never had much trouble with these particular verses and the logic of James on ‘faith and works.’ To me it is ‘you can’t have one without the other.’ What rather seals this for me is the comment in the middle of this: “You believe that God is one (or ‘there is one God’ as the early translations read). ‘You do well to believe this… the demons also believe and shutter…” It is as common to hear some say, “I believe in God” without any evidence of faith or works. Perhaps this is so…perhaps it isn’t. It is not my call, thank God. But from any of my own experiences and from Biblical and historical examples it seems to me that those who ‘believe in God’ by faith also example some kind of works in that example. In other words, some energy, thought and conscientious effort is made to be an intentional apprentice and follower of Jesus. Good trees produce fruit.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Jesus