Tuesday, February 7, 2006
James 2:14-26

Tell me what is your opinion when you read James 2:14-26. I get the impression that works and faith are both very important. I don't know how someone can read this and say that works are not important to remain in grace.

What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?

For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:14-26

14 comment(s):

del_button February 7, 2006 at 2:36 PM
Saint Peter's helpers said...

Thanks you for this beautiful Scripture passage!

I believe faith and good works are inseparable and almost comes as a command from the Lord. One without the other runs the risk of fundamentalism (salvation by faith alone) and relativism (saved by my own doctrine of truth and the works that I do are from my own merits).

With faith, comes the grace which will proclaim Truth openly. This proclamation; however, must be accompanied with love, and as the Holy Father quoted Scripture in his first message to the cardinals, "Charity without truth would be blind; truth without charity would be like "a clanging cymbal". (1 Corinthians 13:1). This is the reason that living a Christian life not only requires knowing one's faith but living it as well.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 4:36 PM
adam said...

on to what I believe this section is saying:
This whole section is talking about how genuine faith will produce good works. Just as faith produces the fruits of the spirit(Galatians 5:16-26). Our motivation to do good works and obey Christ is always what He did for us, not to get to heaven, because we can't do anything ourselves to get to heaven.
Reading Ephesians 2:1-10, it says more than once that we are saved by grace alone, by faith alone. Vs. 10 reads,"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This is part of the doctrine of predestination, that God chose us before we were created. And that as a result of the faith God gave us and out of love for Christ we will want to do good works and obey Him in thanks for His death and resurrection that alone gives the gift of salvation, not works of man.
Read Romans 6(it's to long to post, but important to read all of it):
It talks about how we are no longer slaves to sin but rather slaves to righteousness. "The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God," Romans 6:10. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 6:23. There are many important passages in this section that I did not post. Please read Romans 6.
So back to James 2:
We've established that good works are out of thanks to Christ for His gift of salvation to us and that we cannot and will not get to heaven by any work that man can do.
So in James 2:24, looking at the context of these words we see that the passage is saying that if you don't have good works your faith is dead. Because good works will be a fruit and a result of having faith. If no good works are present, then there is no faith. The being justified by works is really being justified by faith because works are a result of faith. No works, no faith. Works are thanks for God's grace and gift of salvation to us. God's Word clearly states that Salvation is a free gift. Vs. 26,"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."
Sure any unbeliever may appear to do "good works". But are they really good works. No! "And without faith it is impossible to please God," Hebrews 11:6. The unbeliever can only sin. Anything and everything that they do is sin, even if it looks good in the eyes of man. "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart," I Samuel 16:7.
Think of the theif on the cross. He was an unbeliever before this and had never done anything but sin in his life. He could not please God and do a single thing right because he had no faith. What good work then did he do that Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."?(John 23:43) All he did was profess his faith in Christ as his Savior.
Mark 10:17-31: Read the whole section for more context but I will post 26 & 27.
"The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Here the LORD says that it is impossible for a man to save himself.
In the story of Paul and Silas in prison(Acts 16:16-40). The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." All you have to do is believe.
In review:
We can only be saved by faith alone through the grace of God. Salvation is a free gift from Him. As faith is also a gift from God. He chose us before eternity. Good works are a fruit of faith flowing out of thanks for what Christ did for us. He died and was raised to wash away all of our sins once for all. There is nothing left for us to do.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 4:59 PM
adam said...

I know that it can be hard to comprehend how God would give us such a great gift without asking anything in return. Our sinful nature tells us that we must do something inorder to get something in return. Our sinful nature does not like the idea of gifts. It's too nice.
God gives us this gift out of love.
We have to trust what He tells us in His Word that it is a gift.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 5:35 PM
Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

I think this is part of the reason why St. Francis is famous for saying "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."
Works are the outward sign of the inner faith.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 6:32 PM
Matthew said...

You: Good works are a fruit of faith flowing out of thanks for what Christ did for us.

Me: Exactly! That is what I've been trying to say. Our works are a fruit of our faith. If we have faith then we will have these works. That is why we believe in faith and works because, like you said, they are connected.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 7:43 PM
adam said...

But do you believe in by faith alone? by Scripture alone? and by Grace alone?
Because I am believing that you do not because of things that have been said. Maybe not by you, but by some on here.
We must let Scripture interpret Scripture. God does not lie and therefore He will not say one thing in part of the Bible and something contradictory in another part.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 7:50 PM
Matthew said...

By Grace alone...


del_button February 7, 2006 at 8:45 PM
adam said...

Please explain how you can believe by grace alone and not by faith alone, because I believe that I've been trying to show that it is by grace alone and by faith alone.
I also don't understand you not believing by Scripture alone. Because if you can't believe God, how in the world can you believe man. God's Word is truth. If you can't believe God, who is holy and sinless, how can you believe man who is corrupt from conception. If you don't believe in every single word of the Bible as true, then how can you use the Bible at all. Then you don't really know what is truth and what is false. Leaving the interpretation of the Bible up to sinful man is only going to lead to false teachings and misinterpretations. We must believe that Bible as 100% true and let Scripture interpret Scripture. God does not change. He will not change and contradict Himself.
Basically I'm just would like to hear your train of thought on why you don't believe in by faith alone and by Scripture alone.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 9:21 PM
Tom.... said...

you gotta believe, then you are saved...you can't really claim to be a believer, if you act as a jerk...so,if you believe, you act as if you are a believer...if you act as a jerk, you negate the truth of your belief..
we get grace from our faith to act in the right way...
Does this make sense?

del_button February 7, 2006 at 9:57 PM
adam said...

I'm sorry if I came off that way. It was never my intent. Maybe I got carried away. But I'm just trying to give you a chance to explain your train of thought.
I'm am deeply sorry if I offended you in any way. I was just trying to show my train of thought. To tell the truth of the matter, I've been trying so very hard not to become angry and respect what the Catholics are believing. It's proven difficult in the last day. And I do really respect where you are coming from. If I was in the same situation and background as you I would probably feel the same way as you do. But there is also a time to really say what you are thinking and not jump around it. That may or may not have an impact. It may have a positive result or negative. But I am sinful too and may sometimes have trouble sharing my faith, "with gentleness and respect." I hope you understand that I am not perfect. But thank-you for your concern.
I believe that this may be my last time posting on this site. I have given my stance from Scripture. If we can't agree on the basic doctrines of the Bible, I don't believe that we will agree on any other part either. While these may be my last words to you, I would like to say thank-you for allowing me to understand more of what you believe and your stance on the Bible. I would also like to encourage you to let Scripture interpret Scripture, read in context, and continually test the beliefs of your church with what the Bible says.
I may never know if I have impacted your faith and lives. While I hope that I have, I will leave the rest up to God. There really isn't more that I can do that I already haven't done.
If you have any questions along the way, I would be glad to answer them for you.
I hope to leave you in peace.

del_button February 7, 2006 at 9:59 PM
Anonymous said...

I have a post about this and much more on my blog

del_button February 7, 2006 at 10:34 PM
alicia said...

Adam - Scripture is NOT self interpreting. It can't be. Otherwise we wouldn't have over 20,000 denominations of Protestant Christians who all disagree on basic doctrines but all profess the same scriptures as their sole rule of faith.
I am not very good at explaining this, but if you go to www.biblechristiansociety.com/ and order the almost free tape/CD (shipping only, and I think he will waive it if you mail order rather than internet) titled "One Church" you will hear the Catholic position explained with all the scriptural references. I just want to ask you to think about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian that is told in Acts - the Ethiopian said basically "How can I understand scripture unless some one explains it to me." Acts 8:26-40.
Sola Scriptura is an unbiblical concept. We all need to have some one teach us the right interpretation of Scripture. This problem is addressed in Timothy 3:15 “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth” .

del_button February 7, 2006 at 11:04 PM
adam said...

This is why I decided to say no more on the matter. Because some refuse to believe in the basic doctrines of the Bible. We are not in fellowship and of the same understanding. I presented God's Word before you. The Word of God is powerful and effective. No more that I can say will change your minds and hearts to believe what God is telling us. Only by diving into the Bible; only by God continually working in your hearts will you see the Bible and its teachings as I do. For separating oneself from reading and studying the Bible only weakens faith.
Have a very nice day as you ponder. I will continue to do so myself and smile when I remember that Jesus loves me. It also makes me smile to know that Jesus loves you also.

del_button February 8, 2006 at 7:27 PM
Pierrepont said...

Adam, you right Jesus loves you as he does all of his children. When you speak of 'basic doctrines' to what to you refer? Every split and sect from the original Church claim they alone possess the truth of pure doctrine.

The Bible is clear that the true Christian requires a combination of things to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Faith is required, but the holy scriptures tell us that is not all. We must share and be active in the works. We must feed the hungry, give drink to those who thirst, cloth those who are naked, and comfort those who are sick?

But Adam, the point isn't if you impacted our lives, for we have found Christ. The point is will you continue to find those who don't know Jesus? The man is not important, only the message he must carry to others. Set aside doctrines, dogma's etc, behind it all we share the common love for the Lord our God, in his three beings.

We must seek out the Athiest, Gnostics, Mistics, Paggans, Buddhist, Janist, etc. who don't know the Lord.

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