James emphasizes that saving faith generates works, not the other way around. If we have true faith we will see a difference in the way we live and act. We are instructed in the three facets of saving faith. There must be:

  • a body of factual truths (the gospel),
  • an assent that these things are true,
  • a trusting in the things believed as the only hope and ground of salvation.

In contrast to the teaching in much of the church today, we see that a true saving faith must and will change the way we live. We cannot ‘believe’ the Gospel and then live as we always have up to that point, expecting that we will be taken to heaven as a result.

Finally, we are cautioned not to think that the works we do will save us, or that salvation is owed to us by God in payment for our works. Faith comes first as a gift from God and it is this that saves us. Works proceed as the fruit of that faith and give us assurance that we have received true saving faith from God.


Shaun Bryant

Shaun has been Pastor at Grace Church in Modesto since late 1993. His journey to the fellowship took him through churches of various persuasions, during which time he became convinced of a call to the ministry and also of a Reformed view of the Scriptures. Shaun completed his studies for the ministry at Westminster Seminary in California. He is married with 3 children.

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