Faith, grace and works.
As I understand it, it is by faith that we enter into grace (Rom.5:2). That is, we are now in Christ, having put on Christ by faith and baptism (Gal.3:26-27), and thereby enveloped in grace … having been saved by grace through faith, and not by our works (Eph.2:8-9).
Baptism in the first place represents death of the old man. It declares this principle (Rom.6:3-4, Col.2:12). It means that we bring no virtue to God – only a conscience influenced by the gospel message (1.Pet.3:21). We are thereby saved by faith through grace, which is God’s free gift to us (Eph.2:8-9). Having now ALSO risen with Christ, we are to walk by faith, which keeps us in grace – that is, we must now stay true to the things received by the preaching of the gospel, firm to the end (1.Cor.15:1-2).
We have been created anew in Christ, and by faith we are to walk in newness of life (Rom.6:4, Col.2:12), having been born again / created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph.2:10). These works that come AFTER baptism into Christ demonstrate that our faith is alive, and therefore James says
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James.2:26.
In this context, James has already presented two examples from Abraham’s life to show what he means. One is drawn from early on and the other from much later. Early on, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Gen.15:6). Later one, Abraham was faithfully obedient when he offered up Isaac (Gen.22:16-18), and his “works” demonstrated that his faith was alive and had grown.
By this we “see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”” James.2:22-23 ESV.
Now ponder James 2:24 in this context –
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”
Martin Luther, the ‘great’ reformer, was not happy with James’ epistle and tried to remove it from the cannon of Scripture. He called it ‘an epistle of straw’. Luther, because of his misunderstanding of how God saves in Christ (i.e. his belief in penal-substitution), was not able to understand James.
Peter also speaks of the need for spiritual growth in the following words –
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;..” 2.Pet.1:5-10
We will let the apostle John have the last word, where he later writes –
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” 1.Jn.3:7
- The works we have to do according to James
- 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
- Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
- James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works
- James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
- James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
- Paul giving notice of the works we have to do
- Risen With Him
- The way of salvation
- A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
- God works faith
- Faith is the belief that god will do what is right
- Christ’s ethical teaching
- Being Justified by faith
- Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
- Faith Requires a Basis
- Walking in love by faith, not by sight
- Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
- Thought for those who think it is not necessary to do any works any more
- When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith
- A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
- A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
- A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
- A Living Faith #4 Effort
- A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
- A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
- Faith and works
- Sharing your faith
- Bearing fruit
- Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
- The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
- Be holy
- 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
- Chief means by which men are built up
- Not to play at Christianity
- Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
- Faith, storms and actions to be taken
- Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
- A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong