James 2:24

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    James 2:24 -- "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone." NASB

    No wonder Martin Luther wished he could expunge the Book of James from the Bible.

    How do Protestants deal with this?
     
  2. convicted1

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    Faith w/o works is dead. We are not saved by our works, but our works/deeds shows the rest of the people who we are working for.
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    How does a Protestant deal with this passage? By believing what it says.

    ....and by reading it in context of what James was saying.



    [14] My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? [15] If you know someone who doesn't have any clothes or food, [16] you shouldn't just say, "I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat." What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? [17] Faith that doesn't lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead! [18] Suppose someone disagrees and says, "It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds." I would answer, "Prove that you have faith withoutdoing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them." [19] You surely believe there is only one God. That's fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear. [20] Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless? [21] Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him. [22] Now you see how Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did. [23] This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, "Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him." That's how Abraham became God's friend. [24] You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe. [25] For example, Rahab had been a prostitute. But she pleased God when she welcomed the spies and sent them home by another way. [26] Anyone who doesn't breathe is dead, and faith that doesn't do anything is just as dead!

    James is affirming what Paul says. Paul said that Christ has prepared works for the saved person to do (Ephesians 2:8-10). Paul also said that the Christian will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

    James is sternly warning the Christian that if those works prepared for us are not evident in our lives, then we had better examine our salvation.
     
  4. annsni

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    James is an awesome book and confirms salvation by faith alone. James speaks to the visible evidence of true faith - faith that results in works. It's a very practical book and one that every believer should study!
     
  5. convicted1

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:


    EDT: It is by Grace through faith. Faith justifes, and Grace satisifies.....
     
  6. Michael Wrenn

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    You can talk about reading it in context, and try to explain it other ways, but the verse plainly and literally says that we are justified by works, and not by faith alone. That is very clear. That's why Luther felt as he did because it directly contradicts his view of justification by faith alone; it plainly and unmistakably says that we are not justified by faith alone, and that's the import of the chapter.

    Now before I get jumped on, I am not stating what I believe, yet; I am stating what the passage says.
     
  7. annsni

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    But when you take a verse out of context, you make a mistake.
     
  8. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    That is a most abused comment Ann. Michael has taken nothing out of context, he has simply stated what it says.

    James was clear in what he said, and he said, 'faith without works is dead,' and I say dead faith will never save anyone.
     
  9. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    We are right backs to the works issue. There are some things God calls on man to do in order to be saved, without which no one will be saved. The things God calls on man to do are NOT meritorious in nature, but rather are thought of in the sense of 'not without which,' and NOT 'that for the sake of.' There is a clear distinction between the grounds of salvation and the conditions of salvation God demands man to comply with. The works by man are NOT involved in the grounds of salvation, but they most definitely are in the conditions of salvation. The grounds of salvation are meritorious, but conditions are not, yet they are required by God for man to fulfill, without which no one is saved.
     
  10. SolaSaint

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    Michael,

    Whith what you have said I must ask. What has saved you? Your faith or your works?
     
  11. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    I would answer that question: Neither one has. God's grace and the shed blood of Christ has saved me, BUT neither would I be saved 'apart from' fulfilling the conditions of salvation God demands of all to fulfill.
     
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    There are clearly some that have never read this illustration, so I will post it for them.

    A man goes to prison for life, being justly condemned and sentenced by a judge for a specific crime. Can such an individual ‘merit’ a pardon by the performance of good works while in prison? Can such a criminal perform good works to such a degree that the governor is forced to grant this man a pardon based merely on the ‘merit’ of the performance of such good works? Absolutely not. You cannot then consider any intents or actions formed by the prisoner as the grounds of his pardon, nor could you say that he in any way could ‘merit’ a pardon. IF he is granted a pardon it cannot be said that in any sense his pardon was ‘for the sake of’ anything the prisoner had done or could do.

    Just the same can the governor, if he so pleases, pardon such a criminal? Of course he can. Still, there is something the criminal MUST do, there is an attitude that MUST be reflected by the criminal to receive a pardon IF the governor is indeed fair and just. . If the prisoner is to receive a pardon it still can be said that there must be attitudes that are tied inseparably to intents of the heart, this very initial intent being none other than a ‘work’ in one sense of the word being something the prisoner must do. The governor MUST witness from the criminal a repentant attitude and a change of heart towards his former criminal behavior if the governor is even to consider such a pardon for the criminal. Here we see that the intents and actions of the prisoner indeed do play a part in a pardon, though again, not in the sense of 'that for the sake of.' The sense that the intents and works of the prisoner are involved in a pardon can only be seen in the sense of 'not without which,' not 'that for the sake of.' Nothing the prisoner can or will do can merit a pardon, but just the same neither will he receive a pardon without repentance and an assurance of future behavior is garnered.

    What kind of governor would pardon a criminal from prison who had not exhibited true remorse for his crimes? Would not the governor have to be satisfied in his or her mind that IF they pardoned such a criminal that they would not return to commit the same crime or one of like heinous behavior upon society again and that such a criminal possessed and exhibited a true change of heart and attitude towards their former behavior? There are indeed certain conditions that the criminal must meet, works that such a one must of necessity do in order to have the opportunity for a pardon if such an opportunity is offered. These works on the part of the prisoner are again, in no way meritorious in nature, and in no way force the governor to grant such a one a pardon on the account of any or all of their works. Just the same, there are definite conditions or works one must do in order for the governor to consider the pardon. These works are thought of in the sense of ‘not without which,’ not ‘that for the sake of.’

    It can properly be stated that one is not pardoned due to any works (in one sense of the word ‘works’) in the sense of ‘that for the sake of’ of the prisoner, but just the same it can be said ‘without works’ (in another sense of the word, that being in the sense of ‘not without which’) one will never see the opportunity to receive a pardon.

    Can you see how that works can be thought of as necessary for a pardon, or in the sense of “not without which,” yet at the same time no amount of works can be thought of as “that for the sake of” or forcing the governor to pardon the criminal on the account of works performed by the criminal?

    Such I believe is the case in our salvation. We indeed will be judged by our works, but our works are not the grounds of our salvation. There is no amount of works that can coerce God into granting us a pardon, but just the same no man will be found in Him without works consistent with their faith. Nothing we do is meritorious, nor can anything we do be seen of in the sense of ‘that for the sake of’ our salvation. Nothing but the blood of Christ can atone for a single sin. Just the same, God does command us to repent and be obedient to the end, bearing fruits of righteousness and holiness, ‘without which’ no man shall see the Lord.
     
  13. Michael Wrenn

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    Yes. And as I said, the import of the whole chapter is the same. And surely that one verse is in context of its own chapter! :)
     
  14. Michael Wrenn

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    Jesus has saved me -- that's Who has saved me.
     
  15. Scarlett O.

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    I submit to you that you cannot just open the Bible and willy-nilly pick a singular verse out and make a doctrine from it without looking at context. Every here knows about Martin Luther's disdain for James and his personal confusion over what James was talking about.

    Let me prove what I mean.

    Let's take the verse in isolation that you cited in your original post.

    Look at the first three words - "You see that...". Here are how some other translations say it.

    • "So you see...." - NLT
    • "Ye see then how..." KJV
    • "Do you see how...." D-RB
    • "You observe..." INV
    • "You see then how..." NKJV
    What does that mean? It's like Paul and all of his "therefores". You have to look back to see where how the writer came to his conclusive statement.

    "You see then..." refers to James prior reasoning and his example of Abraham BEFORE verse 24 and his example of Rahab AFTER verse 24.

    You must look at the context - James' very words instruct you to look at the context. If you don't then, you, like Martin Luther, will misconstrue God's Word.
     
  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Now that is a straight forward truthful answer in accordance to God's words.:thumbs:

    Have you ever tried to make a list as to all the things that Scripture points to as a cause of salvation? If not let's see if we can.

    We have the blood of Christ, Jesus, and I would add the preacher, faith, grace, works, ....

    I am certain there are yet others, such as 'the like figure where unto even baptism doth now save us. ' Who can add some more?
     
    #16 Heavenly Pilgrim, Mar 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2012
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: He did when he quoted it Scarlett. There is nothing about the context that denies the simple truth James states precisely how he states it. The thing that does matter is that James is addressing conditions of salvation, whereas in other places that deny works are speaking of the grounds of salvation, NOT the conditions of salvation. Pay close attention to context Scarlett. :thumbs:
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

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    Yes, and the context is Chapter 2, as well as the entire Book of James. Why do you think Luther was so threatened by this book? Because he knew it was very troublesome for his linchpin doctrine.
     
  19. billwald

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    1 John clearly teaches the only way we can know we are saved is by continuing good works.
     
  20. Logos57

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    I believe that true faith in Christ Jesus is accompany by the love of God (Romans 5:5; I Peter 1;22).

    As James states in James 2:8-26, faith without works is dead. For this is what John wrote of in I John 3:16-18.

    For even Paul states this:
    Galatians 5:6
    For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
    \
    So faith, works by love, making love the work of faith. I Corinthians 13:2b ...and have not charity, I am nothing.
     
    #20 Logos57, Mar 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2012

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