Tag Archives: Faith and works

James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

2:24 man justified by works, and not by faith only

Both Paul + James worked together to keep unity of the church (Acts 21:18) =/= disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

  • Romans 3:28 + Ephesians 2:8 – 9 directed to new Christians  > justification before God > faith = gift
  • justification (salvation) cannot be earned by doing good works
  • justification (salvation) = by accepting, through faith =  work that Christ did on the cross
  • No one can earn or win favour with God’s forgiveness <= offered only by God’s grace
  • to work for salvation by obeying Law = only fail + become more convinced = he is a sinner
  • => No one is able to make himself right. Only God can help him do that.
  • Paul warns people about working to achieve a relationship with Christ <= Only faith can be tool bring that.

2. James’ Writings

  • James coming from different pastoral position
  • writing to those who are already Christians + becoming complacent in their walk
  • justification before men, + faith should be genuine
  • asserting when one is justified by faith =>new life will = complete change => result in an outpouring of works, worthy of Christ
  • life of love + serving > molded > relationship with Christ => show that it is a true faith by demonstrating Christ’s love to other people => belief in Christ => an obedience of good works.

Paul James
Concerned with legalists who were striving for sanctification through the law – not through faith Concerned with libertines who were content with sanctification through belief without action
A person who is justified before God through faith A person is justified before men through his actions
Eternally justified through faith by grace Justified through a daily walk by works reflecting Christ.

  • Working together both Paul and James are bringing out the harmony of the Word of God.
  • We are saved by faith that then, if genuine should lead to the demonstration of that faith through good works.     

 

The Book of James

2:24. – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. – With the background behind us of James’ appreciation and acceptance of the doctrine of justification by faith, we can now study this passage in its correct context.

Many people have interpreted this verse as James’ belief that works is what matters and as such is in direct opposition to the teaching of Paul. Both Paul and James worked together to keep the unity of the church (Acts 21:18). There is no reason to believe that these two writers were in disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

The writings of Paul in Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8 – 9 are directed to new Christians or even those who have yet to make a decision for Christ. Paul is talking about justification before God, that faith is a gift. Paul asserts that justification (salvation)…

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James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works

Faith without works is dead

  • 2:14: if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? – James begins to now introduce the issue of faith-works. The word ‘faith’ appears here in this passage some 11 times, while the word ‘works or working’ appears 13 times. While we must have faith the true outworking of that will be in our works. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • Christ considered human soul to be a tree of faith > A tree will only bear the fruit that it has been created to bear. Apple trees will not product lemons, and an unhealthy tree will not produce any fruit of quality, if at all => a healthy tree of faith will bear fruit of good works => quality + appearance of fruit either confirm or deny reality of faith (See Matt 7:15 – 20; John 15:1 – 8; and Romans 7:4.) {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • James connected two ideas of faith + works together = One cannot be without the other.
  • faith to exist without the support of works = no
  • Jesus said works would be required for those that have a living faith => faith without works= dead faith
  • => If person professes that he is a new person in Christ => he must live a new life dictated by doing works for Christ. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • ‘swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath’ (1:19) = a do-er of the Word by looking after poor of the world + bridling tongue (1:21 – 27), not showing favouritism (2:8) = all tied up in aspect of the law of faith-works.
  • To have true faith, one must show true works.
  • two examples of faith combining with works = teaching on dynamic faith
  • Abraham = father of all who believe >had to have faith before he could be justified by his works => justified twice. 1 by his faith, 2 by works
  • Abram’s faith = counted to him as righteousness. (Paul in Romans 4) his faith needed to be established before his works could be accounted for.
  • in order to follow God’s command of offering his son to the Lord = required great faith because of details of the first promise that Abraham had received concerning his numerous descendents.
  • Abraham’s confidence in God so strong = prepared Isaac by tying him to the altar + raising knife to kill him = reality of Abraham’s faith => faith combined with his actions, + therefore his faith in God was made perfect => Abraham’s faith complete + whole.
  • Abraham’s faith partnered with his works, + by his works his faith was made complete.
  • Scripture (=not Abraham’s justification) fulfilled = completed > made whole, accomplished, achieved, + consummated.
  • Abraham believed God, + = accounted to him for righteousness => Abraham only had to believe God at that particular time > After he had declared a faith in God, + his ‘faith tree’ been planted, the fruit of works > to blossom
  • Abraham’s true faith resulted in obedience to things that Father had required of him => combination of faith + works = resulted in his justification
  • => Works alone will not justify a man (Rom 3:28, Gal 3:11; 5:14)
  • => Faith alone will not justify a man
  • Faith ~~~ mere act of mind to believe > Genuine living faith = act of combining beliefs with actions

By faith Abraham was justified before God and his righteousness declared

By works, Abraham was justified before man, and his righteousness demonstrated


The Book of James

Dynamic Faith

2:20. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? For further explanation see comments on 2:17, 18.

2:21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

2:22. Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? – James now gives two examples of faith combining with works. This is his teaching on dynamic faith. He keeps in mind his audience of both Jews and Gentiles and gives one example of the Jewish race, and one with a non-Jewish background.

Abraham

Abraham is the father of all who believe. Abraham had to have faith before he could be justified by his works. Abraham was justified twice. Once by his faith, which Paul talks about in Romans, and the other by works, which James speaks…

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Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Rob Heijermans, who says is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and believes that God has spoken

— in fact, the universe itself is a product of the voice of the Lord. The phrase, “And God said…,” appears nine times in the first chapter of Genesis alone. {Is Anyone Listening?}

He also knows he has ever deceived himself and looks at James, Jesus’ younger half-brother, who knows all about self-deception.

Though the writer wrongly thinks James deceived himself for many years,

“denying that Jesus was God in the flesh.” {11 Self-Deceit 101}

Having grown up with Jesus in an Essene family he probably got to know Jesus as well as God very well. He also knew what Jesus had told others and to whom Jesus prayed, like they at their family, at home, prayed to the only One true God, the God of Israel. Jesus did not pray to himself, but to the God of Abraham, about Whom he taught people to pray to as well.

The apostle James warns us in Verse 22  of the first chapter that if we are hearers of the word–the Bible–and not doers, we deceive or ensnare ourselves.

James 1:22 EWB-CB  But become ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Much too often Christians do forget Jesus’ parables and the warning of James. We may not delusively content our selves with being of the audience, but have to put what we hear in practice.

The writer of the blog UpStream writes

James says it’s like looking into the mirror on the morning of an important interview, seeing some serious bed-head, lots of stubble and a smudge of last night’s hot fudge sundae, and just walking away without taking action. {11 Self-Deceit 101}

Too many Christians make it themselves very easy, thinking because they are saved they do not have to do anything any more.

Rob Heijermans is aware that

sitting under the teaching of the Scriptures and not doing what they say is an act of self-deceit. Studying the Scriptures for ourselves, gaining an understanding of their meaning, but not obeying God’s Word, produces knowledge that makes us arrogant but yields no fruit in our lives. It is self-deceit. Even more serious is purporting to be a teacher and either teaching what is false or not doing what is true. James will deal with this more later in his letter. {11 Self-Deceit 101}

We should come to get to know what is written in the Bible and may not twist around the words of it. As such when is written “the son of God” we may not say “god the son“. We should clearly take the Words of God into account and take them serious.

In this world many have made their own gods. A lot also made Jesus in to their god, like Rob Heijermans has done. He also preaches about hell as a sort of place of eternal torture, whilst forgetting that the Divine Creator is a God of Love, who is an eternal Spirit Who can not be seen by man, but is with man, telling them no lies and saying they shall have paid for their sins with their death.

But this God of gods tells also about His sent one, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Jesus on this earth tried to make his heavenly Father known and showed the way to the Kingdom of God. His brother knew also very well the importance of Jesus’ teaching about that Kingdom. He had to loose his brother at the wooden stake and see his mother cry, being full of grieve. But he had also come into the hope Jesus preached and wanted to share it with others, like his brother had asked it.

That preaching James had taken up is also an act we should do. It is one of the works Jesus asked his followers to do.

Twice, the writer of Hebrews mentions “dead works.” (Heb 6.1, 9.14) Now, James writes of “dead faith.” In the subsequent verses of Chapter 2, he mentions that even the demons believe in God–and tremble before Him!–so simply believing facts about God is not saving faith. James then cites two Old Testament characters whose faith was demonstrated by their works: Abraham, the Iraqi father of the Jewish nation was not content simply to tell God he was willing to sacrifice Isaac. He unsheathed his dagger and was about to plunge it into Isaac’s belly when God stopped him and provided a substitutionary ram. Rahab the whore did not stop at believing that God was conquering His enemies through the Israelites–she protected their spies, knowing the awesome power of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. {14 How to Work Your Way to Hell}

Lots of Christians have forgotten Who that God of the Israelites is and why we should take Him as our Only One True God, like Jesus also took Him as His Only One Most High Almighty God. But not only did they take the ransom offer of Jesus as the final act for them, misleading themselves that they would not have to do anything more because they are saved by the Blood of Christ.

Strangely enough the blog writer seems to know that

On some occasion, James probably heard his Brother say that God is glorified when we prove we are His disciples by producing fruit. (John 15.8) {14 How to Work Your Way to Hell}

In many parables Jesus had told how we have to get a good relationship with the heavenly Father. How He is willing to take us up as His children, but also how we can loose the entrance to the Kingdom of God. James came to understand those teachings of his brother and knew how important it was when people came into the faith how they had to change themselves and had to work on themselves continuously.

We may not assume that it are only our works that can get us some where.

the second half of James 2 demonstrates: just as it is vain to think that my works–religious duty, outward devotion, social activism, neighbourly consideration–could possibly get me to heaven, so also is it vain to suppose I am truly a child of God while my life manifests nothing of my faith. As Jesus said, a fruit tree with no fruit is cut down and burned. {14 How to Work Your Way to Hell}

When having come into the faith we have to water our own tree. (By reading and studying the Bible.) Then we do have to let the food of the earth and food of heaven feed ourselves, so that we can bear good fruits. For getting good fruits we need good pruning. We need to do a lot of work. Without the work there shall be no good fruits and when we are not willing to prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God we shall be too late like some young girls who did not prepare themselves or thought they had enough time. Please do not postpone. Take care that you are ready for when the day comes.

When procrastinating you will be surprised when the day comes you shall have nothing done what had to be done and will miss the boat.

Some things may be hard or difficult, like changing sides, or putting away human doctrinal teachings, like the trinity a.o.. but God wants from His son an his followers truthful worshippers of God who are faithful to Him, the Adonai Jehovah, and to His commandments. When we do not follow God’s commandments it will be like ignoring God’s Wishes and not wanting a good relationship with Him. Keeping to those commandments shall demand works we shall have to do with pleasure because we do believe in Christ, the son of God, and in his heavenly Father we also want to love.

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Preceding articles:

Leading people astray!

Restitution

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Please find also to read

  1. God of gods
  2. God is one
  3. Sayings around God
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Jesus Messiah
  6. Jesus and His God
  7. the Trinity – the Truth
  8. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  9. Bearing fruit
  10. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  11. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  12. Christ’s ethical teaching
  13. Being Justified by faith
  14. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  15. Faith and works
  16. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  17. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  18. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  19. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  20. Be holy
  21. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  22. Love for each other attracting others

 

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Further related articles

  1. Count on your desire to procrastinate
  2. Sermon Redux – Part 4 of Doing Our Best for God’s Church – “Rejoicing in the Brutal Truth” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
  3. Boast in God’s Grace for You- Joseph Prince
  4. The Parable of the Two Sons
  5. Rewarded for Doing Good?
  6. Rewarded for their Labor? (1 Corinthians 3:8)
  7. Judged for What We Have Done
  8. Rewarded for What We’ve Done?
  9. 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
  10. Chapter 2:23 – And he was called a friend of God.
  11. Four Panel Philosophy
  12. James 2:20-22 — Dynamic Faith
  13. Show Me Your Works

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Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof

=/=  justified dia ten pistin = on account of faith

faith = never represented as ground of our justification

Abraham’s faith reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

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Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

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Verlore seun

Scripture never says that we are justified dia ten pistin, on account of faith. This means that faith is never represented as the ground of our justification. If this were the case, faith would have to be regarded as a meritorious work of man. And this would be the introduction of the doctrine of justification by works, which the apostle opposes consistently, Rom. 3:21,27,28; 4:3,4; Gal. 2:16,21; 3:11. We are told indeed that Abraham’s faith was reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6, but in view of the whole argument this surely cannot mean that in his case faith itself as a work took the place of the righteousness of God in Christ. The apostle does not leave it doubtful that, strictly speaking, only the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, is the ground of our justification. But faith is so thoroughly receptive in the appropriation of…

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Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

Today there is still lots of commotion about works and faith. Still too many Christians do think they do not need any works.
The Catholic church, we must say, has from the beginning seen that certain works were necessary. One can not become a Christian without putting the previous life of sin away by having regret, asking for forgiveness of sins and taking steps to show regret (an act to be taken), opening oneself for remission by going for a baptism (a work).

Not only Rome sees baptism as a channel of sanctifying grace, as the primary instrumental cause of justification, and the sacrament of penance, whereby congruous merit is achieved through works of satisfaction, as the supplementary restorative cause whenever the grace of God’s initial acceptance is lost through mortal sin.

Not only for the Roman Catholics believers save themselves with the help of the grace that flows from Christ through the church’s sacramental system. Several other denominations request that people change their life once baptised (which sometimes demands lots of works). Other protestants groups do forget that it is impossible that a Christian would keep living the same sinful life as before his or her baptism. It is an illusion to believe that we are saved by the blood of Christ and would not have to do any works any more because we would go to heaven or always will be allowed to enter God’s Kingdom.

First of all the Kingdom will be here on earth for most of us. And Jesus showed us with his parables the danger of loosing the entrance through the small gate of life in eternity.

Justification may be given free, like people can win a lottery, but if they do not do anything with the price, they will be nothing with it.

For example if I would give you a limousine you are nothing with it if you do not use the key and turn the motor on (a work). Before you can go into the traffic you have to learn the road code and have to learn to drive. Then you will have to drive (doing a job) and shall have to be careful in traffic (taking attention), going to some place (trafficking).

Also with faith we do need to come into the faith (a work), trafficking, having to keep our faith (demands work), read the Word of God regularly and study it (demands work) we have to be careful to keep the code of God, His regulations and ordinances (keeping to the commandments requires work). Jesus also gave the order to go out in the world to proclaim the Gospel of the coming Kingdom (which demands a work) and to come together regularly, i.e. meeting with each other, which demands also some work.

For those who think they do not have to have self-control (which demands work) we must disappoint them. If they keep lying, bullying, stealing, fornicating, murdering, they shall miss the entrance of the coming Kingdom.
If they think it will be so easy in this system of things, we also must disappoint them, because also when baptised there shall be temptations, suffering and so on, which demand stamina to continue (work) in the faith.

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To remember

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

=> =  we do have to be righteous to be able to live by faith

The author tells us:

  • doctrine of justification, storm center of Reformation = major concern of apostle Paul = heart of gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) + his devotion + spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14).
  • > other New Testament writers affirm same doctrine in substance => terms in which Protestants have affirmed + defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.
  • Justification = judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24) > accepting them as just => putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself.  > => justifying sentence = God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17) = his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • God’s justifying decision = judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity
  • necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13).
  • As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

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Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

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Further related articles

  1. No Regrets
  2. Day 19: Things to regret
  3. Access: Denied
  4. Giving our regret to God
  5. Reminisce
  6. Life is like a river
  7. Questions & Answers About Lent
  8. Godly Sorrow Leads Us on to a Glorious Celebration of the Gospel
  9. A Threefold Malice
  10. Reconciliation
  11. Penance – Chapter One
  12. Wednesday of Septuagesima week: O, Merciful God! Have Mercy On Me The Fallen One!
  13. CFP: Discipline and Excess (Cambridge Friday, April 15, 2016)
  14. That kind of Franciscan
  15. The Savior of the World
  16. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  17. My Take on the Gay Marriage Bill.
  18. Missing the Mark
  19. Leading people astray!
  20. Tips for Gracious Living: Bad Driving
  21. Unfaithful fornicating adulterating Christians will perish
  22. We don’t meet God 1/2 way.
  23. The Salesman
  24. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  25. The Justification of Abraham
  26. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  27. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  28. Fashion advice?
  29. (12/31/2015) By Faith, Not By Interpretation?
  30. Faithfulness
  31. Seeing Christ
  32. Faith in Action

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Verlore seun

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2…

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The Mountain: Radical Love

In our second reposting from the paraphrased chronological harmony of the four gospels, by Frank Boulet we look once more at the central message of Jesus which is simply this:

 Love God by loving people, even your enemies.

with From Guestwriters we do want to spread this message of love and want to get enough people to see how we do have to control ourselves first before we can try to get a better world.

Our aim is also that those who come along our site, shall make the effort to read the appropriate Bible text and shall take time to meditate on the material.

Insofar as they convey that message, these meditations may be helpful as an introduction to the complete texts of the New Testament, or for daily devotional reading.

Those who call themselves Christian always should remember that they have to be followers of Christ longing for God’s Spirit to feed them. They cannot be called Christian when they do not keep to the laws and teachings Christ adhered to.

The spirit that God wants reflected to the world by your life is revealed in the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

As believers in Christ we do have to be believers in the One True God and become children of Him.

In order to live as God’s child, you must be faithful to the essential spirit of God’s word. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

It was on a mountain that Jesus began giving examples of the spirit of God’s Word. From that sermon on the mountain we should get to know that our faith needs those works Jesus spoke about.

As a Christians we should not only have a good relationship with Christ Jesus, but also with God and God His creatures.

If you’re about to worship God in any way, and you remember an unsettled dispute with another person, first go & make peace with that person, and then return to worship God. {The Mountain: Anger}

As a Christian we should follow Christ’s teachings and God’s commandments.

God’s law says, do not engage in sexual cheating (meaning sexual relations are to be enjoyed only with your husband or wife). {The Mountain: Sexual Cheating}

This means we have to be faithful to the partner we have chosen to share our life with. That faithfulness demands control and requires acts of love. The keeping our minds focused on the right persons is one of the works we do have to do. Because we should know that we may not even look with lust at a woman, because for God that is considered the same as sexual cheating in your heart!

We also should be careful which words  we use and what sort of promises we make.

It has also been said, ‘Do not break your promise to God.’

But I say, do not even make promises to God.

Yes we are told not to promise by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, not even by your own head, because it’s sinful to try to add emphasis to your promises in that way.

We should not do the wrong things but the right things and as such

Instead of promising to do what God says, just do what God says. {The Mountain: Promises to God}

heart-of-a-good-samaritan-reveals

We also may not seek revenge against any other person, which again shall demand control of ourselves and not getting into anger which would bring us to do wrong.

extra_mile

Jesus gives an indication how in our relation to others we should care for them and even be willing to go with them.

If a soldier demands that you carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.

Whenever another person asks you for something, give it to him.

Whenever another person wants to borrow something, lend it to him.

Matthew 5:38-42

Also to love your enemies we shall need to be stronger than the first reaction most people get against their enemies or to those they hate.

Jesus concluded:

Instead of being like everybody else, God wants you to love perfectly — just as God himself loves perfectly. (Matthew 5:43-48) {The Mountain: Loving Enemies}

Living for God in this life means you need to have different goals than most people.

For instance, you must love your enemies. {The Mountain: Radical Love}

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We should remember

  • things essential to gain all of God’s blessings:

• Admitting + Mourning self-inflicted spiritual poverty.
• Regretting your self-inflicted separation from God.
• Desiring to live God’s way
• Expecting & accepting trouble living God’s way will bring in this life.

  • Living for yourself in this life will never lead to God’s blessings in the next life:

Then the author says:

  • • goal in this life to be rich => poor in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be full => hungry in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be happy => sad in the next life.

  • • goal in this life for other people to speak well of you => no one will speak well of you in the next life.

But with death we have paid for our sins and then there comes an end to our life. When we die it shall be too late to do anything. there shall be no “next life”, except the life we shall continue to live on this earth in this system of things when we have done wrong and do not repent, or after Armageddon and the judgement when we shall be rejected or receive the entrance to God’s Kingdom, being able to live in the restored ‘Garden of Eden‘, the paradise, God’s Kingdom.

It is here, now or never that we shall have to do and make it. Several parables of Christ show us how for many it will be too late for them to change anything for their entrance in the Kingdom of God … they just shall miss it … because they have not done the required works to be saved.

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Preceding articles

Illusion of control

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

The Mountain: Radical Obedience

Restitution

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Also of interest

  1. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Christ’s ethical teaching
  4. The business of this life
  5. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  6. Running away from the past
  7. Be holy
  8. Love for each other attracting others
  9. The Greatest of These is Love
  10. Unconditional love
  11. Love is like playing the piano
  12. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  13. Relying on the Love of God
  14. No person has greater love than this one who surrendered his soul in behalf of his friends
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  17. We love because he first loved us
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. 112314 – A Peculiar People
  20. Be ye angry and sin not
  21. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  22. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  23. Singing gift from God
  24. God does not change

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  2. The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Shame
  3. God Can Set You Free From Your Shame
  4. The Surprising Key to Increasing Your Willpower
  5. How to gain self-control & self-discipline
  6. Control When It Counts
  7. Bible study: Blessed are the meek: For they shall inherit the earth (Mt 5:5)
  8. Frank Sinatra quotes from Sermon on the Mount
  9. You are the Way Jesus!
  10. Who gets your attention?
  11. Building on the Rock
  12. The Jesus Revolution
  13. Class #1: Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
  14. sermon on the mount – an introduction
  15. The King’s Sermon (Matt. 4:23, 25, 5:1-2)
  16. Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
  17. Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, Knock
  18. Sermon On The Mount – Blessed are the meek
  19. Blessed are the Meek
  20. Sermon on the Mount: In the Eye
  21. January 17 Matthew 7:1-14
  22. Misreading the Bible: “Judge Not”
  23. The Sermon on the Mount (18)
  24. The Poor in Spirit
  25. Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
  26. Blessed Are They That Mourn
  27. Sermon on the Mount: Wisdom
  28. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  29. God give us grace to face the Sermon on the Mount
  30. Sermon on the Mount: Blindness
  31. Salt and Light
  32. Sermon on the Mount by Vance Stinson
  33. The Lord’s Prayer
  34. The Third Way: Nonviolent Resistance
  35. Loving the Unlovables – Part One
  36. Be Different in Your Purity
  37. The Poor in Spirit (Matt. 5:3)
  38. Like A Bull In A China Shop
  39. God is Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide
  40. Thesis of Jesus
  41. Be Different in Your Anger
  42. Class #3: Three you are statements. Matthew 5:11-16
  43. January 12 Matthew 5:21-32
  44. January 13 Matthew 5:33-48
  45. Borrowed Trouble — Being Perfect, Part 4
  46. When Grief is Good
  47. Lay Down Your Blessings
  48. Teacher
  49. Master, teach us how to pray – The Lord’s Prayer
  50. James 1
  51. Be Your Attitudes
  52. beatitude
  53. The Beatitudes: Growing into the Kingdom of Heaven. Already.
  54. In Search of Eternity
  55. Be Different in Your Righteousness
  56. Daily Riches: Can One Obey Without Actually Obeying? (James Hannay and William James)
  57. A Greater Righteousness
  58. Out with the old, in with almost nothing
  59. Be Different in Your Influence
  60. Rain or Shine — Being Perfect, Part 1
  61. Virtue Signaling — Being Perfect, Part 2
  62. The Business of Blessing Others

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12 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

The Mountain: Radical Obedience

About Faith and works we should always remember that after the works of conversion we do have to keep to the works of command of the self.

Scripture never says that we are justified dia ten pistin, on account of faith. This means that faith is never represented as the ground of our justification. {Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof}

We have to keep grip or control of the things we want to do. Not only do we have to control our temper, we are told in the gospel and letters of the apostles why and how we should demonstrate more self-control.

Too many Christians do forget the parables of Jesus which clearly show how we can miss the entrance to God’s Kingdom if we do not do certain works.

The mountain sermon summarizes the works we have to do. Lets not forget them.

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To remember

When Jesus started home to Capernaum and Jesus’ mother & brothers arrived, they sent a message through the crowd, asking for him. When someone in the crowd told Jesus,

“Your mother & brothers are outside, and they want to see you.”

Jesus answered with a question,

“Who are my real family members?”

He looked at the people sitting around him and said,

“My real family members are right here. Those of you who follow the Holy Spirit & do what God wants are the real members of my family & God’s family.” {Family Matters}

obedience

Then Jesus again taught his students who were gathered there, emphasizing basic themes he had previously taught them on the mountain (64) and continued teaching his students, still emphasizing basic themes he had taught them on the mountain (65).

*

  • don’t judge other people => God won’t have to judge you for judging them
  • don’t condemn other people => God won’t have to condemn you for condemning them
  • forgive other people => God will forgive you => receive a full measure of His blessings
  • measure of blessing you give to other people = measure of blessing which God will give to you
  • Don’t criticize a splinter in your friend’s eye > you have a log in your own eye = hypocritical!
  • take log out of your eye; judge yourself according to God’s standards => be able to help your friend deal with splinter in his eye.
  • beam-in-eye
  • any person, who says good things & still does bad things = not really living for God.
  • hear these words of Jesus + obeys them = like a man who dug deep & laid foundation of his house on rock

+

Preceding articles

Illusion of control

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

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Also of interest

  1. Signs of the the last days when difficult times will come
  2. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  3. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  4. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  5. Your struggles develop your strengths
  6. Every athlete exercises self control
  7. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  8. Angry but not sinning
  9. Kindness
  10. Inculcate God’s words and speak of them
  11. Praying is surrendering in all circumstances

+++

More interesting articles

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  2. Power of Words….
  3. When you know better…
  4. You Are Rooted As A Tree
  5. Start Out The Right Way
  6. Self-Control
  7. Simple Steps to Self-Control – Start!!!
  8. Simple Steps to Self-Control – Continue…
  9. Self-control; Is Jesus Pleased with Your Faith Life?
  10. Self-controlled faith life in Jesus
  11. Allen on Self Control
  12. I’m Out of (Self) Control
  13. Simple Steps to Self-Control
  14. Controlling the Tongue Part 3: The Unstable Tongue (James 3:9-12)
  15. Get Your Rest
  16. You Can Be Wrong – It Doesn’t Hurt
  17. those whose time is up
  18. self control
  19. Like A Bull In A China Shop
  20. Acting Your Wages
  21. Happy Thoughts-Prosperity 101
  22. You won’t like Me when I’m angry!
  23. “Be Angry, and Do Not Sin” (Convictions of honor)
  24. The Power of Silence, the unspoken words
  25. Proverbs 16:32
  26. We can make discipline a bunch of rules to follow and turn into a judgmental ninny or we can use discipline to make ourselves better
  27. A New Life
  28. Motivational quote for January 25th 2016
  29. What Does a believers character Article 9 1-23-16
  30. Bible study: It’s loving to warn someone who is about to make a mistake
  31. life preserver
  32. Secrets Of Developing Self-Control
  33. A New Outlook
  34. Accepting Forgiveness
  35. The Chambers of my Heart
  36. Roy Baumeister: Ego Depletion
  37. The Flesh Is Weak, But You Don’t Have To Be
  38. Not to be too spiritual. . .
  39. Don’t Worry; Worship
  40. True Love Must Give
  41. Responding with Love
  42. Patience-Use it before you Lose it
  43. What Is God’s Love Like?
  44. You Will Have Help By Tomorrow

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6 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

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The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

+

Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

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Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

 

 

“1  Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written, “That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment.” 5 But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do. 6 May it never be! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 Why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), “Let us do evil, that good may come?” Those who say so are justly condemned. 9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous; no, not one. 11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, there is not even one.” 13 Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit.” “The poison of vipers is under their lips”; 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways.
17 The way of peace, they have not known.” 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19  Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. 20 Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the Law and the Prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all those who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness, because in God’s forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time, so that he would be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.

27 Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is not he the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:1-31 NHEB)

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File:Abraham.jpg

Abraham Sacrificing Isaac – Laurent de La Hyre (1606–1656)

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