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Does James Disagree With Paul About Being Justified By Works?

 

 

Paul teaches that Abraham was justified by Faith alone, not by Works.

 

Romans 3

20 Therefore by the deeds [works] of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds [works] of the law.

30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Romans 4

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Romans 5

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 9

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Romans 11

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

 

Galatians 2

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3

2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

 

 

 

James teaches that Abraham was not justified by Faith alone, but by Works.

 

James 2

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.

19 Thou believest that there is one God [literally, God is ONE]; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

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?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

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.

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?

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

 

 

 

Careful analysis of these teachings shows that Paul is speaking of the WORKS OF THE LAW [TORAH], while James is speaking of the WORKS OF OBEDIENCE TO FAITH.

 

Therefore, it is correct to maintain both positions simultaneously:

  • Paul: by the WORKS OF THE LAW no flesh is justified
  • James: by the WORKS OF OBEDIENCE TO FAITH a man is justified, and not by faith only

 

FAITH always demands OBEDIENCE!

 

Therefore, we understand that FAITH without WORKS OF OBEDIENCE TO FAITH is DEAD!

 

 

Afterthoughts….

 

Both of these concepts may be seen working together in perfect harmony in the Acts 2:38 New Birth experience.

  1. In REPENTANCE, a sinner BELIEVES the Gospel and acknowledges his own sinful nature while seeking God’s forgiveness.

    In response to TRUE REPENTANCE, Jesus FORGIVES the sinner and JUSTIFIES him, imputing RIGHTEOUSNESS to him by removing from him the GUILT of sin.

  2. In WATER BAPTISM, a sinner OBEYS the command of the apostles and follows the example of our Lord Jesus.

    In response to WATER BAPTISM administered in the Name of Jesus Christ, Jesus REMITS the SINS of the sinner and PURIFIES him, thus removing from him the DEFILEMENT of sin.

  3. In RECEIVING the GIFT of the HOLY GHOST, a JUSTIFIED and PURIFIED sinner is initiated into a NEW LIFE of SANCTIFICATION by the HOLY SPIRIT of JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, empowering him to be VICTORIOUS over the DOMINION of sin!

 

Thus we see that REPENTANCE or BELIEF in Jesus ALONE is not sufficient in and of itself.

 

Mark 16

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not [i.e., disobeys] shall be damned.

 

 

Pastor Tim D. Cormier

 

 

 

Why I Favor Apollos Over Paul as the Author of Hebrews

 

First of all, the author of Hebrews gives special deference to those who actually heard the Lord speak, strongly implying that he himself had never heard the Lord. Rather, the author includes himself among those unto whom the words spoken by the Lord were “confirmed … by them that heard him.”

 

Hebrews 2

1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

 

By contrast, Paul speaks often of his encounter with the Lord at his conversion, and how he preached by special revelation.

 

1 Corinthians 15

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Galatians 1

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles….

Ephesians 3

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery….

 

Additionally, Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew, a man who would have been brought up with a background of Hellenistic Judaism. Hellenistic Jews were Greek-speaking Jews. This would have given him a very strong basis for writing a book to the Greek-speaking Hebrews in Greek, and he would also have a profound familiarity with the Septuagint–the Greek language Old Testament which is frequently quoted in the book of Hebrews.

 

And finally, Apollos was qualified to be the author of the book of Hebrews, seeing that he was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures” [Acts 18:24].

 

It is highly remarkable to note that, at Corinth, Apollos publicly “mightily convinced the Jews … showing by the scriptures that Jesus was [Messiah]” [Acts 18:28]. It should be noted that these are the same Jews with whom Paul reasoned and to whom he testified in vv.4-5! Yet, Paul’s words were viciously rejected, while the words of Apollos were apparently graciously received!

 

Another very significant point in favor of Apollos being a credible candidate as the author of the book of Hebrews is found in the fact that he is listed in the eminent company of Paul, Peter and Jesus Christ in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians.

 

1 Corinthians 1

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

 

Apparently, Apollos was held in equal regard with Peter, Paul and Jesus by the Corinthian church. He also was eloquent and mighty in the scriptures. And he was able to convince Jews that Jesus was their Messiah after Paul had tried and failed.

 

 

Paul, it should be noted, was by his own words the “apostle of the Gentiles” [Romans 11:13; Gal. 2:8; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11]. On more than one occasion he abruptly stopped ministering to the Jews and turned to the Gentiles.

 

Acts 13

45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

 

Acts 18

5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

 

It would make sense that Paul would NOT be chosen by God to author this book to the Hebrews, seeing that he was the Apostle of the Gentiles, and there was another man—Apollos—who was actually more successful at convincing the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

 

Pastor Tim D. Cormier

Notes on the Conversion and Early Ministry of Apollos

 

Acts 18:1-3 “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”

 

Paul leaves Athens and arrives in Corinth, where he meets Aquila and Priscilla, and lives with them.

 

Acts 18:4-11 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.  And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

 

Initially, Paul reaches for the Jews at Corinth, reasoning with them and testifying that Jesus was their Messiah [Christ]. But because he is rejected, he turns to the Gentiles and has great success. The Lord Himself appears to Paul and assures him that many souls will be saved here in this city. Paul remains there at Corinth for a year and a half.

 

Acts 18:19-23 “And he came to Ephesus, and left them there… ”

 

After a year and a half, Paul travels from Corinth to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla and leaves the two of them there. He then returns to Caesarea and goes to visit the church at Antioch, ending his 2nd missionary journey.

Paul then embarks on his 3rd missionary journey, returning to the churches in Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen and encourage the disciples.

Meanwhile, Aquila and Priscilla are still at Ephesus….

Acts 18:24 “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.”

 

Apollos comes to Ephesus.

Note: Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew, highly educated and well-spoken. Luke declares that he was “mighty in the scriptures!”

Coming from Alexandria, it is highly likely that he had been a practitioner of Hellenistic Judaism.

“Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in the ancient world that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the fall of the Roman Empire and the Muslim conquests of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria (Egypt) and Antioch (now Southern Turkey), the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa area, both founded at the end of the 4th century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism also existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists (sometimes called Judaizers).”

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_Judaism

Acts 18:25-26 “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”

 

NOTICE: Apollos was–

  • Instructed in the way of the Lord;
  • Fervent in spirit;
  • Diligently preaching and teaching the things of the Lord;
  • Very limited in his knowledge of the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

When Aquila and Priscilla heard him boldly preaching in the synagogue, they privately taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ (“the way of God more perfectly”).

Based upon subsequent testimony of scripture (e.g., v28), we are assured that Apollos believed the gospel of Jesus Christ and was born again of the water and the spirit according to Acts 2:38.

Acts 18:27-28 “And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”

 

Apollos decides to leave Ephesus and go to Achaia, the region of Corinth.

The Ephesian brethren wrote a letter of recommendation for Apollos to take to the disciples at Corinth (see Acts 19:1).

When Apollos arrives at Corinth, he was a tremendous asset to the church there – “he helped them much which had believed through grace.”

Remarkably, at Corinth Apollos publicly “mightily convinced the Jews … showing by the scriptures that Jesus was [Messiah].”

  • These are the same Jews with whom Paul reasoned and to whom he testified in vv.4-5!
  • Paul’s words were viciously rejected, while the words of Apollos were apparently graciously received!

 

Acts 19:1-3 “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.”

 

While Apollos was at Corinth, convincing the Jews that Jesus was their Messiah, Paul arrives at Ephesus, and encounters a group of twelve disciples (v7) who only knew of John’s baptism.

It is not improbable that these men were converts of Apollos, prior to his earlier encounter at Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18:26!

 

Acts 19:4-7 “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.”

 

Paul declares to the twelve disciples at Ephesus the same message that Aquila and Priscilla had presented to Apollos when they heard him boldly preaching in the synagogue at Ephesus.

As a result, they were born again of the water and spirit according to Acts 2:38–i.e., they were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ and they received the gift of the Holy Ghost in the same manner as others did in Acts 2, Acts 8 and Acts 10!

There can be no doubt that Apollos was mightily used of God after his conversion, and was well-received by the church at Corinth. He is so well thought of that his ministry is listed by the Apostle Paul in the context of the ministries of Peter, Paul and Jesus Christ, Himself!

 

1 Corinthians 1

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

 

How remarkable is this!!

 

 

Pastor Tim D. Cormier

Was Paul God’s True Replacement Apostle for Judas Instead of Matthias?

 

Many people believe that the Apostle Paul was actually God’s True replacement apostle for Judas, instead of Matthias, who was selected in Acts 1 by the ELEVEN. Here are a few things that should be considered concerning this subject.

 

Acts 1
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

 

 

Was the NT Church Born with a Mistake and Founded in Error?

 

In Acts 1, Peter, the Apostle with the Keys (Matthew 16), led the other ten remaining apostles in selecting Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas.

All eleven apostles agreed that they should do this. This is implicit in the text.

If they were wrong in doing this, then the book of Acts must be read and understood in the light of the fact that it begins with what can only be described as an apostolic MISTAKE. Doctrinally, such a premise would be extremely problematic, potentially weakening the force of the entire book from a foundational perspective.

Furthermore, if Paul was actually God’s TRUE replacement apostle for Judas, then not only was the selection of Matthias in Acts 1 a horrible mistake, but the NT Church was also actually born in Acts 2 with only ELEVEN apostles, and it continued to live and grow for at least 4 years with only ELEVEN living apostles—until the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. And even then he wasn’t immediately considered an apostle. In fact, it wasn’t until around 14 years after his conversion that he began to effectively minister in the Church, as far as we are told. So, the NT Church foundation only had ELEVEN apostles for at least the first 18 years of its existence, if Paul was indeed God’s TRUE replacement apostle for Judas instead of Matthias. Such a position is entirely untenable.
Why We Know that Matthias was God’s True Choice as the Replacement Apostle for Judas

 

Before the apostles cast lots to select a replacement apostle for Judas, they prayed and put the decision in God’s hands.

 

Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship ….

 

According the Proverbs 16:33, when the lot fell on Matthias it showed that God had indeed chosen him to replace Judas and become the twelfth apostle.

 

Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

 

Furthermore, the language used in scripture to describe the group of the apostles shows that Matthias was indeed considered to be God’s True choice as the replacement apostle for Judas. All throughout the Gospels prior to the death of Judas, the apostles were referred to as THE TWELVE.

Here is one example of this in Luke 22:47:

And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

 

We see in Acts 1:26 that Matthias was considered by Luke, who was writing by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, to have been added to the remaining ELEVEN apostles, thus making the number TWELVE once more.

… and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

 

This is clearly seen in Acts 6:2, where once again the inspired writer shows us that God considered the number of apostles to be TWELVE, long before the conversion of Saul.

 

Acts 6:2
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

 

Many years later when writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul himself described the post-resurrection events and used the term THE TWELVE to refer to the apostles who had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-6
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

 

Thus we have two different NT writers affirming by inspiration that Matthias was indeed recognized by the Early Church to have been numbered with the TWELVE, thereby proving that he was indeed God’s True replacement apostle for Judas.

 

Pastor Tim D. Cormier
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle
01/24/2017

 

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