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Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. (James 2:17)
If someone has the kind of faith (πίστις pistis) that has no action connected to the person’s professing they have faith, it is not only empty, but it does nothing for the one professing it. In addition, it has no effect or impact with man, and certainly none with God. It has the same effect that a dead person employs on the living. (Compare Ecclesiastes 9:5-6) That is, none. Literally in the Greek, the faith is “dead it is in itself.” So, if we are looking at the outward evidence of this faith as though it were a discovered body, the coroner would pronounce it dead. There is absolutely no life, regardless of the claims the person might be professing. The works (ἔργον ergon) that James speaks of here is not the ceremonial ‘works of the law’ (customs of the Israelites) mentioned by Paul, such as the Sabbath, circumcision, not eating pork, but instead those spoke of by James so far, helping those in need, not showing favoritism, humility, slow to speak, and love of neighbor. These kinds of works are an outward display of one’s faith, their new life, their new person.
James is now connecting his example of what he has just said on how it relates to faith. It is pointless to say peace and keep warm and well-fed when one takes no action to help alleviate the situation. The fact that one does not act in accordance with his words, therefore, proves his words to be dead and false. To just claim to have faith but has no works, is dead in itself. The word that James uses for dead is (νεκρός nekros) referring to a faith that has no life, it is inactive, inoperative. This believer’s mere lip service to faith without the outward expression of faith through works is inactive. James is making it clear that without works, his faith is dormant and dead and, therefore, proves that he truly does not have faith. Jesus himself said that many would be judged for the supposed claim of faith without works on judgment day with the parable of the sheep and the goats. – Matthew 25:31-46.
 The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) divides the Mosaic laws into three categories: moral, civil, and ceremonial. In the view of the Westminster Divines, only the moral laws of the Mosaic Law, which include the Ten Commandments and the commands repeated in the New Testament, directly apply to Christians today.
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