In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (NIV) It couldn't get any simpler than that. The Bible's teaching is clear: Faith produces works. You can't get around it.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (NIV) Imagine this scenario in reality. A friend (note that it is a brother or sister) comes to your door. The friend is desperate. They are in need of food and clothing. You calmly look at them, and with a smile that is filled with calmness, you say, "My friend, you have come to the right place. Here you will receive help. Please, depart both warmed and filled." ...then you shut the door. Can you see how worthless the words are? Wouldn't you say that the person must not have even meant the words?
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (NIV) A question with an obvious answer. Faith without deeds does no good. If a man says that he has faith, but does not have deeds, what is the point? There is no good there. Can it even save a person? We have been taught so many places in the scriptures that our works cannot save us. We are evil, vile, immoral people. We most assuredly cannot save ourselves by being good, and doing the works of God. The only answer to our dilemma was Jesus Christ Himself. He came and did the life for us. He was righteousness personified. Then He died so that we might live. So we cling to Him in faith. Trusting that His word is true, that His gospel is real. Then some stop there. They do not want to be saved from their worldly lifestyle. They simply want their ticket to heaven, or maybe I should say, they want their pass out of hell. They claim this saving faith is theirs, but the
Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work. (NASB) These two verses go together. The first thing that the Psalmist has learned from God is that He is powerful. He is sovereignly in control. There is none like Him in the extent of power, insomuch as power belongs to him. All that happens, happens because of Him. That alone would be an element of fear. To have one being that was in control to do as He wishes, that alone would be a thing of dread. This power that God holds does not come alone. It is perfectly coupled with His grace (His lovingkindness). Together, these two qualities are something to run to, not away from. This culminates the idea of God as a stronghold and a fortress. There is safety in Him. The one with all power is seeking out our good in all things. This is a combination worthy of our praise, our adoration, and our loyalty.
Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. (NASB) This verse is directed more to those who might go all out to get the things that they think they need. They eventually resort to sinful methods of gain: oppression and robbery. Even if this works, even if they get away with it for a season, they shouldn't (and won't) trust in it. It is a fleeting gain.
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. (NASB) Rank makes no difference in the Kingdom of God. All together our little prestiges add up to nothing. The low born men are an emptiness. The men that have some great position, it is all a lie. It has no lasting value. The only thing that has substance is God Himself. This Psalm is a plea to give your life to God. He is worth it! He is the only one who is worthy.