17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
These verses refer to the previous two verses, where James says that having faith without works is like telling a poor man to be warmed and clothed without actually giving him something to warm or clothe himself. For more details, read verses 14–26.
“True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to righteous action. The Prophet Joseph Smith [affirmed] that ‘faith [is] the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness’ and that it is also ‘the principle of action in all intelligent beings’ (Lectures on Faith , 1). Action alone is not faith in the Savior, but acting in accordance with correct principles is a central component of faith.”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Ask in Faith,” Ensign, May 2008, 95.
Hath Not Works
Works—deeds, actions, labor, something you do.
“Faith is much more than passive belief. You express your faith through action—by the way you live.”
True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), 54.
When faith stands alone without works, it has no effect.
“Faith exists when absolute confidence in that which we cannot see combines with action that is in absolute conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father. Without all three—first, absolute confidence; second, action; and third, absolute conformity—without these three all we have is a counterfeit, a weak and watered-down faith.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 83.
Shew—old spelling for show.
My Faith by My Works
There are many ways you can show your faith by doing something. Here are a few ideas from the scriptures. Consider writing in your journal about these and other ways you can exercise your faith.
Pray daily (see Alma 37:37).
Study the scriptures (see 2 Nephi 32:3).
Be baptized and make covenants (see Mosiah 18:8–10).
Keep the commandments (see John 14:15).
Repent of and forsake sins (see Mosiah 4:10).
Serve others (see James 1:27).
Share the gospel (see Doctrine and Covenants 15:6).
Follow Church standards (see 1 Timothy 4:12).
Editor’s note: This page is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of the selected scripture verse, only a starting point for your own study.