James 2:14 says, “What good is it, my brothers & sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him?”
This passage has proven to be difficult for those (myself included) who adhere to a doctrine of Sola Fide (Latin: by faith alone), also known as justification by faith alone, as taught in Ephesians 2:8.
There are two essential things to consider with this text. First, James says, “if someone claims to have faith.” He does not say “those who have faith.” I can claim to be a bald eagle, but no matter how adamant I am; I will never be able to flap my arms and take flight. Many people claim to be a Christian, but only God knows the heart. Secondly, James reminds us that you cannot have one without the other. While faith alone saves you, saving faith will never be alone.
James is ultimately saying that if you have to tell people that you’re a Christian, maybe your not. But if you are a believer and understand all that Jesus has done for you – then you should have a desire to do for others, namely sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ!