James 2:14-17: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
James is telling his audience, talk is cheap. For, if a person says he or she is religious, spiritual, or a Christ-follower, but does not behave the way the scriptures say we should then, we are in fact, not the person we say we are. We are lying. The declaration of our religious status or affiliation is only based on how we follow the teachings of Jesus. If I do not do the things that God, through His word, tells me to do then I am sinning. Faith that is shallow or internal, James says, is dead.
There is a responsibility that all Christ-followers are held to, and that is good works. What are good works? For James, those works are the filling of the needs of others that can be met by me. If there is a chance for me to re-present Christ to a fellow person by my actions, words, and facial expressions, then I have the responsibility to meet those needs and thus make the love of God real through my actions. Jesus was God incarnate, God in flesh. The bible titled Him, Immanuel, which means God with us. Jesus physically touched people and their needs. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. He met the people where they were, and while physically meeting their needs, met their spiritual needs as well.
We are now given to responsibility to be Jesus incarnate here on earth. We are not little gods, or have any saving power ourselves. However, we are the ones to show God’s love to a hurting world. Good Works is doing the things that Jesus would do. He would not just say “I’ll pray for you”, He would also meet that need that they have. If we say we have faith, and yet do not meet the needs of a dying world around us, then our faith is dead. We have an opportunity to help people and by doing so we have an open door to share the gospel. This is not a social gospel, this is the true gospel, where we reach out and become the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that desperately needs a savior.
Old Testament: Ezek. 24-25 New Testament James 3