“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
King James Version (KJV)
2:14 From #James 1:22|, the apostle has been enforcing Christian practice. He now applies to those who neglect this, under the pretence of faith. St. Paul had taught that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law. This some began already to wrest to their own destruction. Wherefore St. James, purposely repeating (#Jas 2:21|,23,25) the same phrases, testimonies, and examples, which St. Paul had used, #Rom 4:3|, #Heb 11:17|,31, refutes not the doctrine of St. Paul, but the error of those who abused it. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the apostles: they both delivered the truth of God, but in a different manner, as having to do with different kinds of men. On another occasion St. James himself pleaded the cause of faith, #Acts 15:13 |- 21; and St. Paul himself strenuously pleads for works, particularly in his latter epistles. This verse is a summary of what follows. What profiteth it? is enlarged on, #Jas 2:15-17|; though a man say, #Jas 2:18,19| can that faith save him? #Jas 2:20|. It is not, though he have faith; but, though he say he have faith. Here, therefore, true, living faith is meant: but in other parts of the argument the apostle speaks of a dead, imaginary faith. He does not, therefore, teach that true faith can, but that it cannot, subsist without works: nor does he oppose faith to works; but that empty name of faith, to real faith working by love. Can that faith which is without works save him? No more than it can profit his neighbour.
Jas 2:14 What [doth it] profit? Professions are nothing unless their fruit is deeds. Even faith is of no avail unless it demonstrates its life by works.