Monday, September 29, 2014


w e e k -  t h i r t y  n i n e

'For as the body without the spirit is dead, 
so faith without works is dead also.'

j a m e s  2 : 2 6 
. . .

Some have accused James of attempting to answer Paul in this passage. Since James wrote his letter in 48 AD and Paul did not write the Roman letter until at least 58 AD, this theory has no merit. James and Paul were coming at the same issue from different perspectives. Paul was writing to the Judaizers who were saying that one had to add works of the law to faith in order to receive salvation. Thus his emphasis was on faith alone as the basis for salvation. Paul was arguing for his primacy of faith. James, on the other hand, was writing to people who went to the other extreme.
They claimed to have faith but, in reality, had only intellectual assent. Therefore, his emphasis was on what Jesus called the 'fruit' of our faith. James was simply arguing for the evidence of faith. 

Paul consistently emphasized that no one enters God's kingdom except by faith and by faith alone. James was in agreement with him. He began his letter saying, "[God] chose to give us birth through the word of truth" (James 1:18 NIV). Here in the second chapter, James was simply reinforcing the point that good works are the natural response of true saving faith. He was not saying that works are the requirement for salvation, but that they are the result of our salvation.

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead." It is not a faith with works at issue here, but a faith that works. Paul reminded us that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis added)/ We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is never alone. 

As you memorize this verse, meditate on the relationship between faith and works. And remember, it is a faith that works that pleases God. 

pg 198-199

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