Repurposed Day 15 Faith In Action: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Faith In Action!

James 2:14-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.

20 Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.

The Questions

1) It seems like James questions the validity of being saved by faith alone. What is his intention and what is true?

2) What it meant by the phrasing, “the demons also believe and they shudder”?

3) What does it mean that Abraham was justified by his works?

The Findings for Intention

1) It seems like James questions the validity of being saved by faith alone. What is his intention and what is true?
The entire premise for the book of James is that faith without works is not faith at all. There is a strong tension here. While we can look all over the entire Bible to see that faith alone saves our souls, and is not based on any good work we can do because everything we do is utterly tainted with sin, James insists that the intrinsic definition of faith in Christ is radical transformation. This transformation cannot be divorced from faith. Even the thief on the cross who died shortly after Jesus said “Today, you will be with me in Paradise” (giving him salvation), was radically changed enough to bear witness to the holiness of God to the other man dying beside him. The man who asked Jesus to be His Savior, had no time left in life to get baptized, be circumcised, go to the temple, donate money, or memorize God’s Word, but his transformed heart still manifested itself because he was motivated to speak about Jesus!

2) What it meant by the phrasing, “the demons also believe and they shudder”?
Demons “believe” in God as is clearly evidenced elsewhere in Scripture. They know exactly who God is and they equated Jesus with being the very Son of God, even when others questioned it. Satan and all of his demonic forces know exactly who God is, but they know full well that they have zero power over Him. James wanted his audience to see that belief in God is not enough for eternal security, rather an entire heart transformation is necessary, which only happens by entering into a real relationship with Jesus through faith in His sufficient work on the cross.

3) What does it mean that Abraham was justified by his works?
God had made Abraham a significant, humanly impossible promise in Genesis 15:5-6 when He promised Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. At this pivotal point, Abraham responded with his whole heart and he believed the Lord, which God counted as righteousness. Abraham’s faith brought Him into a relationship with the Holy God, not works. (Romans 4:21-22) But Abraham’s faith showed up by significant “work” when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, the promised seed through which the countless offspring would come. Because of Abraham’s genuine faith, he was able to follow through when asked to live it out in an action that would slay his son. Abraham’s obedience proved the authenticity of his faith because without it, his faith would have been meaningless.

The Everyday Application

1) It seems like James questions the validity of being saved by faith alone. What is his intention and what is true?
Our biggest takeaway from the book of James is close self-examination. Jesus Himself warns that many will claim Him as Lord, but Christ will deny them because their faith was not genuine. (Matt 7:21-22) We don’t need to live in fear that we aren’t God’s if we’ve fully trusted Him, but examining our lives to look for Christ’s passions fueling our transformation is critical. Are we submitting to His lead? Are our actions matching our speech? Is faith overflowing in our everyday?

2) What it meant by the phrasing, “the demons also believe and they shudder”?
James is driving home the point that simple knowledge about God, even fearing God, isn’t enough either for salvation or transformative living. As you think about your heart condition, ask yourself who do you say God is? Is there more than just a “knowing” of who He is? Have you given Him permission to transform you? Are you walking in that transformative living?

3) Am I justified by my works?
Just as Abraham’s faith would have been meaningless without his obedient actions, so is ours. Take time to consider what your next steps of obedience are when it comes to your own faith. Has God been prompting your heart lately to follow Him, to get messy for the sake of His kingdom, to love the unlovable, to serve at church, to make quiet time in prayer a priority? Follow through with where He is leading, you will be blown away by the blessing of living a repurposed life!

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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into
Repurposed Week Three!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Repurposed!