Three Kinds of Faith in Bible: Sermon & Outline (different false and true types)

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James teaches us that there are three kinds of faith.

The Bible teaches us that real it is faith that brings righteousness (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb 10:38). Faith brings life (Gal. 2:20). Faith brings peace with God (Rom. 5:1). On the other side of that, the works of the law cannot bring salvation. The works of the law cannot bring justification with God. Our works cannot save us. It is only the mercy of God that saves us (Titus 3:5). And the mechanism of salvation is faith through grace (Eph. 2:8-9).


Saving faith is never brought by works, but true saving faith will never be without works. Saving faith is the seed that bears the fruit of good works in our life. Some people get it all mixed up by thinking that the fruit of works saves. Not so, it is the faith that saves. But saving faith will show itself in what we do in response.


The real problem in this faith/works question is a subtle one. The real question is what are you trusting in. People and religions that emphasize works give people the false security that they earn their own way to heaven. The Bible teaches the opposite. The Bible says that if you are trusting in your works to get you to Heaven, you cannot be justified to God. That works based salvation is a false salvation that leads to Hell and then to the Lake of Fire. Salvation is not earned. It is received as a free gift (Rom. 6:23).


If we could be good enough to get to salvation on our own works, then why did Jesus need to die?


But how do we know if our faith is real faith. Some people say that they have faith, and yet it never manifests itself in a changed life. Countless people pray a certain prayer thinking that that is their get into Heaven ticket, but there is no difference in living or deliverance from sin. God says that there will be a change if there is real living faith in a person’s life.


James teaches us that there are three kinds of faith.

Do you think that Americans have more faith in God today than we did 50 years ago?

  • Yes, we have more faith today in America than 50 years ago.
  • No, we have less faith in America that 50 years ago.
  • It is the same.
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Video Summary

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Dead Faith:

Jam. 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.


The first kind of faith that James speaks about is a dead faith. This is the faith that says, “Oh yes, I believe in God.” But that statement is not evidenced in your life. If salvation is a spiritual birth (John 3:1- 10), this is a “still born” faith. It has the form of faith, but it is not living or active. It never takes that breath of life. It never grows. It never matures. This person has no evidence of the work of God in their life. This could be a person that comes to the place of repentance and shrinks back before entering into salvation (Heb. 6:4-9)


Jesus said that those that loved Him would keep his commandments (John 14:15, 23; 15:10; I John 5:2). This, of course, does not earn them salvation from sin, but it is an evidence of a living and active love for the Sinless Lamb of God.


The person that just believes that there is a God out there and that is it, does not have a living faith. Living faith is a relying faith. It causes you to do something based on what you say you believe. Suicide bombers have a living faith in their god. The problem is that they just have the wrong god. Would that everyone that calls themselves a “Christian” had a living faith in what Jesus told them to do! It would cause them to walk in what Jesus said to do.


Notice three things about Dead Faith

A. Without Fear Rom. 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Dead faith has no fear of God. There is a godly fear that is afraid of hurting God. God has promised to chastise us if we go astray if we are His children. As a child fears the correction of his parents, and rightly so, the Christian should fear the correction of our Heavenly father. Then we should grow to the place that we fear hurting Him, disappointing Him, and grieving Him. The reason we fear this is because of our love relationship with God. A person that loves another, does not want to hurt that person.

This person with this dead faith does not have a real relationship with God. Thus they do not care about hurting, disappointing, or dishonoring God.

B. Without Works

The person with a dead faith has no real faith, and so they have no real works. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They talk a good talk, but they have no real walk. They are hypocrites because they never do what they say they believe.

C. With Wrath Rev. 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The person with no real faith has no fear of God, no real works; but there is something that they do have. That thing they do have or will have is the wrath of God. These are the people that have convinced themselves that they are saved, but really they are not. They will say to Jesus as He said in Matthew 7:22, Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

These people with "dead faith" or no genuine faith would not really believe in Christ. So, they will suffer the wrath of the Lamb.

Does James teach that salvation is acquired by works?

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Devilish Faith:

Jam. 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
The second faith that James talks about is a Devilish faith. He says that the devils believe in God, and they tremble. This faith does cause the devils to do something, but it is only motivated by fear and terror. The devils know that God is our there, but they will never be saved.


Many people have a faith like these devils. These people are found in many of the false religions of the world. They do what they do only because they are afraid of punishment. Some of these go to confession (with a human) and do their penance (at the dictation of a man), only because they are afraid of hell or purgatory. Others give fortunes as directed by false prophets, so that they can buy their way into heaven or into their god’s graces.


But that is the thing, grace. You cannot buy grace. You cannot earn it. And while there is a godly fear that leads you to seek the Lord, this is different than this devilish faith/fear. For God has not given us a spirit of fear. Rom. 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


God does not want us to do what we do for Him because we are afraid of going to hell. If you are doing what you do because you are afraid of going to hell, you are not really doing those things for God. You are doing them for yourself, to keep yourself out of hell. If however, you do what you do without fear, but in assurance of God’s love, now you are living in real faith.


God does not want us to do what we do because of the fear of punishment. He wants us to do what we should because we are grateful for his salvation.

Now, while those with dead faith have no fear of God before their eyes, those with this devilish faith do have a kind of fear of God. But is not the right kind of fear. It is the fear of punishment rather than a healthy aversion to dishonoring the true God.

While those with the dead faith do not have works, those with a devilish faith do. Notice that devils do obey Christ in the New Testament. But they only obeyed because of their fear of suffering. So also, those that have a devilish faith, their works are not the works that God calls for. Their fear driven works are the carnal works of the flesh, not the grace driven works of faith. John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Jesus wants us to do His works, not because of fear of punishment, but rather because of belief in Him.

Just like those that do not have a real faith will face the wrath of God, so also will those that have a devilish faith. They both will experience the wrath of God because they do not have delivering faith.

Does Paul's salvation by grace and James works contradict each other?

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Delivering Faith:

Jam. 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.


Some people are under the false impression that James and Paul are at odds with each other in their doctrine. Paul says that Abraham was saved without works (Rom. 4), but James seems to says that he was saved by his works (Jam. 2:21). And yet, if you get the council of God, you will see that there is no contradiction.


Paul speaks from God’s point of view. For before God, our works are worthless, and our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). James, however, does not disagree with Paul. He is simply speaking from a different perspective. That is the human perspective. He is showing us that the way we show ourselves that we have a living faith is because real faith is always accompanied by works.


Paul told us as much when he told us to work out our salvation (Php. 2:12). We do not get salvation by works; but when we have salvation, we need to work it out. We work out our salvation for the same reason we work our physical muscles. We want to see both. We want both to grow and get stronger. We work out our faith so that we can prove to ourselves that it is real (II Peter 1:10).


We do not need to prove anything to God, however. He knows when and if we are saved. But we do need to prove it to ourselves. We need to prove that our faith is a delivering faith because our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). And we can deceive ourselves.


This is why James tells us, that works work with our faith to show us that our faith is living and not dead. James agrees with Paul that faith is the thing that saves us, but it is the faith that produces works. Of course, James and Paul agree with John the Beloved. We are saved by believing on the name of the Son of God.

These are the children of God because they believe God. They have a good and godly fear of God. It is different then the devilish fear. Perhaps the best way to tell if you have a devilish fear of a delivering fear is whether that fear leads you to greater love of God. The devils do not love, they are only afraid of punishment.

Those with the delivering faith do have works. But their works are the works of repentance. Their works are the works of faith. The way to tell if your works are the works of the flesh or the works of faith is whether you trust in your works to have peace with God. If you are trusting in your works, then you are not trusting in Christ and his finished work on the tree.

While those with delivering faith do have godly fear, and they do have faith driven works, they do not have one thing that these others have. They will not suffer under the wrath of God. Jesus suffered under the punishment for our sin so that we do not have to.

If you go to hell, it is not to pay for your sin. Jesus paid the full price for our sin. If you go to hell, it will be because you refused to accept Jesus' payment for your sin.

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Sermon Outline

3 Kinds of Faith

James 2:14-24

I. Dead Faith: Jam. 2:14-17

      A. Without Fear Rom. 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

      B. Without Works

      C. With Wrath Rev. 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

II. Devilish Faith: (Jam. 2:19) Pro 10:24 “The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.”

      A. With Fear

      B. With Works

      C. With Wrath. Mat. 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

III. Delivering Faith: (Jam. 2:21-24) Eph. 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

     A. With Fear

     B. With Works

      C. Without Wrath Rom. 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

September 22, 2006 concert; November 12, 2006;

3 comments

Pratonix profile image

Pratonix 6 years ago from Asia

These are your sermon notes. You need to fill them out.

Blessings, P.


PastorAndrew profile image

PastorAndrew 6 years ago from Detroit Author

Thanks for the input, Pratonix. Honestly, I put this up when I was still getting to know HubPages. Some of my more recent sermons are like what you suggested. I do intend to go back to some of these older ones and fill them out a more.


PastorAndrew profile image

PastorAndrew 4 years ago from Detroit Author

There you go. I have fleshed it out for you.

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