I just finished reading apostle James great passage dealing with faith and works this morning (James 2.14-26).
Maybe I’m the only one who would enjoy this, but I would LOVE to sit in and listen to apostle Paul and James have a “one-on-one” discussion on the relationship of faith and works! I think it would be intellectually stimulating, spiritually enlightening, and highly practical for our understanding of salvation and a life of discipleship… and probably it would be a highly “animated” discussion as well (they’re dear “brothers in Christ” after all)! (Reminds me a little of the “discussions” I have had with my brothers whom I dearly love).
Listen to the two sides of the issue today in their own words…
James: “What good is it if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? … Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead! Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. Look at Abraham… His faith and his actions were working together. His faith was made complete by what he did. And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness… You see, a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone… As the body without the spirit is dead so faith without deeds is dead!” (From James 2.14-26 NIV)
Paul: “We maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law… What then shall we say that Abraham… discovered in this matter? What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ To the one who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, faith is credited as righteousness… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast!” (From Romans 4 and Ephesians 2.8-9 NIV)
I know what you’re thinking… He’s going to try to resolve this age-long theological issue for us today! NOT!!! In fact this issue reminds me a little bit of the response of Charles H. Spurgeon when he was asked to resolve two apparently opposing theological truths… His response? “I NEVER RECONCILE FRIENDS!”