James 2:14-26

Believe God and do good things

14 My Christian brothers, you say that you believe in God. Then you must show this in the things that you do. If not, your faith will not help you. It will not save you. 15 For example, maybe a believer does not have enough clothes to wear or enough food to eat. 16 Then one of you may say to them, ‘Go with God's peace! I pray that you will be warm. I pray that you will eat well.’ But if you do not give to them what they need, that does not help them at all. 17 How we believe in God is also like that. If our faith does not lead us to do good things, then it is not worth anything. It is dead!

18 Someone may say, ‘You believe in God, but I do good things to help people.’ Then I would say, ‘You cannot show me that you believe in God if you do not do good things. I do good things, and that shows that I really believe in God.’ 19 You believe that there is only one God. That is good! But even the demons believe that! And it makes them very afraid.

20 You fool! If someone's faith does not lead them to do good things, it is not worth anything. You should know that! 21 Think about our ancestor Abraham. He offered his son Isaac on the altar as a gift to God. Because he did that good thing, God accepted him as right with himself. 22 Abraham believed in God, and he did what God asked him to do. So you can see that both of these were necessary. When he did this good thing, he showed that he believed in God completely. 23 The Bible tells us what happened. It says, ‘Abraham believed God. As a result, God accepted Abraham as right with him.’ God also called Abraham his friend.

2:21See Genesis 22.
2:23See Genesis 15:6.

24 So you see how God accepts someone as right with himself. That person must not only believe in God. He must also do good things to show that he has faith.

25 It was the same with Rahab, long ago. She was a prostitute. She helped some of God's people who came to her house. She kept them safe from their enemies and she sent them away again by a different road. Because she did those good things, God accepted her as right with himself. 26 If our bodies have no spirit, they are dead. In the same way, if our faith does not lead us to do good things, it is dead.