Paul teaches that Abraham was justified by Faith alone, not by Works.
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.
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;
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
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;
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.
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.
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.
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!
Both of these concepts may be seen working together in perfect harmony in the Acts 2:38 New Birth experience.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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