Failure to walk by faith as a believer will result in a number of negative consequences. A continuous lack of faithfulness and obedience to the word of God will result in a ruined life that is lacking in fruitfulness and works. Peter exhorted believers to add to faith – virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. (II Peter 1:5-7) Without the development of these qualities one can be barren and unfruitful. (II Peter 1:8) Even to the point that he has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (II Peter 1:9)
Secondly, one risks the possibility of discipline from the Lord. “For who the Lord loves He chastens. (Hebrews 12:6) Many in the Corinthian church had become weak, sick, and died, because of the Lord’s chastening. (II Cor. 11:30, 32)
Thirdly, when faith does not result in works, one will lose reward at the judgment seat of Christ. Not everyone will hear well done good and faithful servant. (Luke 19:22) The way we choose to live this life will impact our eternal life in the kingdom of God.
A faith that does not produce works cannot save (deliver) from God’s discipline, from the power of sin, nor from loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ. However, faith alone in Christ alone apart from any works prior to salvation and afterward will absolutely save one from sin’s penalty – eternal separation from the Lord in the Lake of fire. James audience was saved from eternal destruction, but they were not being delivered from the other consequences that resulted from their failure to walk by faith in obedience to the word of God. We should learn from their failures so we can experience the abundant life that the Lord desires for all believers and in doing so we will glorify Him.