James 2:24-25

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    What does the "justified by faith alone" crowd do with these verses? And I include myself basically in that crowd. :)
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    Here's what Spurgeon reportedly said about that. “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

    Here's what David Guzik says about Rahab in this context.



    Here's what James said in the same chapter that elaborates on what he means.



    Here's what I say. I'm of the faith alone crowd. But my interpretation of faith is that of a miraculous God-ordained change in a person that can be evidenced by his or her lifestyle of obedience to God - not his or her perfection, mind you, that's impossible.

    But one's faith must be evident in the way that he or she behaves. Faith should be exercised, like a spiritual muscle. Faith should grow and increase.

    As James said, faith - all by itself - with no evidence of a believer living a life for the glory of God is dead.
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?


    "YOU SEE" - James is approaching justification from a different perspective than Paul in Romans 3:24-5:2. Paul is approaching it "before God" while James is approaching it before men:

    14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
    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.


    1. So first, James is addressing it from a HORIZONTAL perspective while Paul is addressing it from a VERICAL perspective.

    2. James is addressing it from an EVIDENTIAL perspective ("shew me...works")while Paul is addressing it from a CAUSAL perspective ("justified by faith without works").

    3. However, Paul in Romans 6 is addressing it exactly the way James is addressing it in direct connetion with SPIRITUAL LIFE.

    In Romans 6 Paul asserts that justification by faith always occurs with regenerative life. This is visual seen in the ordinance of water baptism. Baptism not only identifies us with the DEATH of Christ by being BURIED with him in baptism but also with the LIFE of Christ by being RAISED with him in baptism. Where there is justification by faith alone without works there is regenerative life as one is not without the other.

    Good works are the manifest evidence of regenerative life - "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works."

    James point is that where there are no manifest works there is NO LIFE and where there is NO LIFE there is no justification no matter what a person says.

    However, justification is still by grace alone (no other basis) through faith alone (no other means) in Christ alone (no other object) and is always accompanied by regenerative life which is manifested in "good works."
     
  4. steaver

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  5. DHK

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    James 2:24-25 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

    The over all context, the context of the book itself is: James was writing to Jewish Christians about practical Christianity--how to put your faith in practice. It is not a doctrinal book, per se, but a book of practical application. This is in opposition to the book of Romans which is a book of doctrine, a theological treatise on soteriology.

    In Romans 4:1ff, Paul speaks of the doctrinal ramifications of justification. He teaches that a man is justified by faith; that righteousness is imputed to him when he believes. He puts it very clearly that works have nothing to do with meriting righteousness. Nothing can merit righteousness but faith and faith alone. One doesn't have to use the word "alone" to learn it from the context when it is so forcefully used in Romans 4.

    On the other hand, James is speaking of the results of justification. He is writing to Christians, those who have already been justified. Now what should their lives be like? What is the fruit of one who is justified? How do we know?

    The key verse is:
    James 2:18 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.

    There are many who say they have faith. As John said in 1John 2:19
    1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
    --They weren't really Christians in the first place.
    A true believer will show fruit. He will continue in the faith. His life will show it. Thus James says "I will show you my faith by my works."
    On that basis he proceeds to give examples, very practical ones, of OT saints who not only professed their faith, but showed by example their faith.

    James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    --Abraham not only professed to be a believer, he demonstrated it by his faith, his walk with God. He obeyed God. His belief is what made him a believer. His obedience demonstrated both: (belief and believer).

    James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
    --Another key verse. What made Abraham a believer? It was NOT his works. He believed God, and therefore it was imputed unto him for righteousness. This is exactly what it says in Romans 4. There is no disagreement here. Righteousness comes through faith and faith alone.

    James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    --Now is this a contradiction? No. It is James explaining that his works is a demonstration or an evidence of his belief. A true believer will have the evidence of works in his life. However, works don't produce faith or salvation.

    The same illustration is given with Rahab.

    James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
    --True faith in Christ will produce works. This is also the teaching in Ephesians:

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    --These verses give a concise summary of salvation. It is NOT of works.

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
    --But every Christian is created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works. That is the Christian duty. It does not give one eternal life. It is the result of salvation, not the condition of salvation.
     
  6. steaver

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  7. steaver

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  8. annsni

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    I am absolutely faith alone.

    But the heart that God has given me? MAN, is this heart is driven. This heart is a heart that can't help but do things for God. It HURTS me to not do things for Him. When the elderly gentleman drove his car directly into my driver's side door, injuring both my daughter and I, what was my response? I climbed over the passenger's side seat to get out and make sure he was OK. I went to the police officer and asked if I could drive the man home in my husband's car when I was done. I asked the man if he had another way to get to see his wife in the nursing home now that his car was totaled. I didn't care that it was his fault that he hit me. I STILL don't care that it's been 6 weeks of me being in pain and I STILL would drive him to see his wife if I needed to.

    This heart is the one that drove me to hold a bleeding man's gaping neck wound with no gloves on because I knew that he was going to bleed to death if I didn't. I knew where I was going if I died. I didn't know where he was going should he die that night. I had people yelling at me that I needed gloves. I told them to shut up and get me gauze and call 9-11. I saved that man's life. Yes, I could have gotten HIV, HepC - whatever. But he was most likely unsaved and so as I sat behind him and held his neck and held him, I prayed with him and gave him the Gospel.

    This is the heart that wants to please God and tell others about Him and do things for Him. Why? Not because I'm going to get brownie points or because I can run up to Him when I get to heaven and say "See what I did??" No. Because I love Him and He changed my heart. HE SHED HIS BLOOD FOR ME. Wow. That floors me. That humbles me. What can I do for Him to pay Him back to even begin to keep my salvation? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I do what I do in humble response to what He's done. He changed me and I do what I do because of that. I don't get why you don't see that.
     
  9. steaver

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  10. Christos doulos

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    My friend. It always comes down to presupposition. In one camp, you have those who begin with a presupposition that man can generate his or her own righteousness which is why they see this verse as Abraham demonstrating his own righteousness.

    In the other camp, you have those who begin with a presupposition that man is wicked to his core, there is nothing good in him, and all his righteousness is from God which results in people interpreting that verse simply as Abraham exercising the faith God gave him.

    My friend. Sometimes interpretation doesn't cut it, because then you have an endless debate of one interpretation vs another. You have to stress to these folk that we all begin with presuppositions and then point out whose presupposition closely follows the character/nature of God and the sinful nature of man in interpreting scripture.
     
  11. DaChaser1

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    same thing that John calvin said concerning it!

    that we are saved by faith alone, by the faith that saves us/genuine faith, will not be by itself alone!
     

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