What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say,“You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
I have heard it said that the Book of Saint James is not unlike our own Big Book. Many things are written by Saint James that have real application for us as recovering alcoholics. This passage here sort of speaks to what I was sharing about yesterday. This plainly tells me that I need to give more than lip service to my faith. I need to do more than just pray and believe. I need to go out and develop a living, active faith. Saint James suggests to me that I do this by doing good works, or in my opinion, by giving service to those around me. Now I don't see anywhere in this passage that St James suggests that by doing good works, we are rewarded. No, rather this is an instruction (I believe) on how to put our faith to use, on how to really have faith. This tells us to "put our money where our mouth is" so to speak and walk the walk. We're to do good works because that's the next right thing. It's really that simple.