Faith Without Works

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James 2:17-18, 20-21, 24- [17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? [24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

The verses that I posted are among the most misquoted verses in the Bible.  James 2 is one of the favorited chapters used by people who will teach a works based salvation.  That being said, let us take a look at a couple of other parts of scripture.

Romans 4:3, 5- [3] For what saith the scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Ephesians 5:8-9- [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: [9] Not of works lest any man should boast.

If James 2 is saying we are justified by works, but the other verses I posted say that justification for salvation has nothing to do with works, there can only be on meaning.  The justification in James 2, is not talking about justification for salvation.  Let’s look into a further study to see what James 2 really means.

Going back to Romans 4, we see Paul using Abraham as an example just as James did.  Paul is directly referring to Genesis 15:6 which reads “And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness.”  This is the moment when Abraham became born again.  Not later on where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac upon the altar in Genesis 22:8-10 which is what James was referring to.  The difference between the two, is that Paul was talking about the ROOT of Abraham’s faith, while James is talking about the FRUIT of Abraham’s faith.  The event on the altar took place years after Abraham got saved.

James is saying that if someone is saved by their faith, then they should be producing fruit of good works to show to people that s/he is saved backing up their testimony.  It is the same context as what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:16 below.

Matthew 5:16- Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Saying that you need to produce works to get salvation or to keep salvation is a lie.  There are sometimes when a saved Christian will have a backslide in which they are producing no works.  I am not saying that is okay, because it isn’t.  Faith without works is dead in the same manner that a car without a battery is dead.  It’s still a car, it just won’t get you anywhere in your pass through this world.  That being said, stay zealous my brothers and sisters in Christ in whose name I write unto you in.  Amen.

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