Faith, Works, & Justification: An Exegesis of James 2:14-26

In two sermons, Pastor Jay preached on James 2:14-26 which is the famous “faith without works is dead” passage. His sermon was based on a 30 page exegetical paper he did for school and wanted to provide it here as an additional resource to his sermons on this text since it is, as he says, an “often debated passage”.

He went on to say:

“I used the paper for the sermon and I thought that it would be profitable especially for those who like the languages and desire to go a little deeper into the passage. I feel that this passage is very important to understand biblical theology.”

The paper begins:

“Faith, works and justification in James 2 has created much controversy in the history of interpretation. Martin Luther said that the epistle of James is an ‘epistle of straw’. This paper will first demonstrate that there is no contradiction with Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith alone as he describes in Romans 4:1-8 and James 2:14-26. As a starting point we must say that these accounts must be harmonized. The two accounts that must be harmonized are James 2:24 (NKJV) where James states, ‘You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone’ and Romans 3:28 (NKJV), ‘For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.’…”

Download the entire paper in Word or PDF format.

The sermon outline deals with four aspects of true, saving faith:

True, saving faith is…

  1. Not an empty confession but a vibrant faith that works in conformity to the Word of God
  2. Demonstrated by works
  3. Not mere accent to a doctrinal creed
  4. Fleshed out by obedience
    1. The example of Abraham
    2. The example of Rahab

You can listen or download the audio for the first part of “Faith, Works, & Justification: Part 1” here or listen below:

You can listen or download the audio for the first part of “Faith, Works, & Justification: Part 2” here or listen below: