Can Paul and James be reconciled on Faith and Works? – 4

 

Now, “back at the ranch,” the saga continues:

 

  • Faith or Works?
  • Faith and Works?
  • Faith alone?
  • Faith and Works and More?
  • No Faith, merely intellectual assent?

 

My head is about to explode!

Is there a way out of this conundrum!?

 

Can Paul and James be reconciled?

 

Paul’s View about Faith and Works:

 

We are not saved by works.

28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.                                                   Romans 3:28 NAS

 

James’ View about Faith and Works:

 

 Faith must be shown by our works, our actions.

 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”                                                      James 2:17-18 NAS

 

 

A Reconciliation of Faith and Works:

 

Paul and James: On Faith

 

The solution of the difficulty appears in the definition of the word “faith.” The apparent contradiction is due simply to the fact that when James in this chapter says that “faith” alone is insufficient, he means a different thing by the word “faith” from that which Paul means by it when he says that faith is all-sufficient.

 

The kind of faith which James pronounces insufficient is the faith which the devils also have [v 19]; it is a mere intellectual apprehension of the facts about God or Christ, and it involves no acceptance of those facts as a gift of God to one’s own soul.

But it is not that kind of faith which Paul means when he says that a man is saved by faith alone. Faith is indeed intellectual … But although faith is intellectual, it is not only intellectual. You cannot have faith without having knowledge; but you will not have faith if you have only knowledge.     J Gresham Machen, Faith and Works

 

Paul and James: On Works

 

But if the faith regarded insufficient by James is different from the faith commended by Paul, so also the works commended by James are different from the works regarded inefficacious by Paul. Paul is speaking of works of the law, he is speaking of works that are intended to acquire merit in order that God’s favor may be earned; James on the other hand is speaking of works like Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac that are the result of faith and show that faith is real faith.

The difference, then, between Paul and James is a difference of terminology, not of meaning.                                                       J Gresham Machen, Faith and Works

 

 

My View

 

I think the views of Paul and James can be reconciled as a salvation by Faith, if it is:

 

  • A Faith that is from God
  • A Faith that is in God the Father, in God the Son, in God the Holy Spirit
  • A Faith which includes Trust and Obedience
  • A Faith which is by inward transformation seen through the actions of changed behavior

 

A Faith that is from God

 

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.                                                         Ephesians 2:8-9 NAS

 

A Faith that is in God the Father, in God the Son, in God the Holy Spirit

 

  • God the Father – YeHoVaH:

22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.                                                   Mark 11:22 NAS

 

  • God the Son – Yeshua:

20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.                                                        Galatians 2:20 NAS

 

  • God the Holy Spirit:

14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.                                                   Galatians 3:14 NAS

 

 

A Faith which includes Trust and Obedience

 

See the definition of Faith in Faith or Works? That is the Question – 1.

 

A Faith which is by inward transformation seen through the actions of changed behavior

 

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.                                                  Romans 12:2 NAS

 

I think that salvation cannot be obtained through a faith of works done in order to gain salvation.

16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.                                                                                            Galatians 2:116 NAS

 

I think that salvation cannot be obtained through any actions done in the power of the flesh.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.                                                     Ephesians 2:8, 9 NAS

 

 

For myself,

 

I think that if I do not respond to God’s great (and costly) gift of salvation out of and with the supernatural love He has shown me, then I cannot truly be a follower of His Son, Jesus.

I think that if I do not evidence my faith by aligning myself with, trusting, and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit-Who-lives-in-me, then I cannot truly be a follower of the Son.

If I am not truly a follower of the Son:

  • Then I cannot truly be saved.
  • Then I cannot truly have my salvation in Him.
  • Then Yeshua, the Messiah, is not my Savior.
  • Then Jesus, the Christ, is not my Lord.
  • Then I not one of His sheep.

 

27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never * perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.                                              John 10:27,28 NAS

 

Do you hear His voice?

Does He know you as a sheep of His own flock?

 

What is to be the Response to Salvation? 

 

More on that …

…next time:

 

Blessings,

 

TLThomas

 

It’s ok to doubt, if you check it out!

Be a Berean!

 10The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.                   Acts 17:10, 11 ESV

 

See also

1 By Faith or by Works? That is the Question

2 What Does the Bible Say About Faith and Works?

3 What Does the Church Teach About Faith and Works?

 

Please join me in this journey of discovery.

  • Leave a comment, or ask me a question.
  • Share this blog with others, whether they are doubting, or not.
  • Take what I say and CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF!

 

© 2017 by the author