"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20)
There are many things in life we can well do without, but there are at least seven things a Christian simply cannot do without. These are:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of the heathen nations before Christ, Paul said: "At that time ye were without Christ, . . . having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).
2. Christ's shed blood. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, . . . But with the precious blood of Christ" (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
3. Christ's sinlessness. The Lord Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He could die for our sins.
4. Faith in Christ. "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is" (Hebrews 11:6).
5. Faith-generated works. True faith in Christ inevitably produces good works. As our text reminds us, "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20).
6. True holiness. "Follow . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Genuine faith in Christ both receives His imputed holiness and also generates practical holiness in the believer.
7. Heavenly chastisement. Unconfessed and unforsaken sin in a Christian's life must receive chastisement from the Father. "If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye . . . not sons" (Hebrews 12:8).
Without saving faith in the Lord, we have nothing of eternal value, but with Him, we have "all things" (1 Corinthians 3:21). HMM