JAMES CHAPTER 2

SAVED BY WORKS:

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

I) INTRODUCTION

A) WORKS TO BE PERFORMED BY THE BELIEVER ARE IN VIEW

Some maintain that works should accompany faith to the extent that one is finally saved unto eternal life depending upon the character and continuation of the works. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that works must accompany faith in order to justify the already saved believer in another way: unto mankind - preserving his physical life and producing an enriched eternity in heaven.

Notice that believers are in view in this chapter as well as in the entire book of James - more specifically "to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations", (v. 1:1), as a result of persecution during the times of the early church:

[Compare Acts 11:19]:

"Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews."

[Zane C. Hodges states, ("The Epistle of James", Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Texas, 1994, pp. 17-18)]:

"James addresses an audience whom he calls the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. If we are right in thinking that this epistle was written to Jewish Christians not long after the first persecution of the church in Jerusalem (ca. A.D. 35...), the addressees are the true twelve tribes because their hearts have been circumcised by faith (Col 2:11-12).

In this light, the reference to the readers being scattered abroad (Greek: en te diaspora, 'in the dispersion') does not refer to the Diaspora, i.e., to the dispersion of ethnic Jews all over the Roman world that took place centuries earlier. Instead, it refers to the scattering of Jewish believers in the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1). Some time had passed (a few months?) since then, and these believers had taken advantage of less stressful times...

[Compare Acts 9:31]:

"Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord."

...and had settled into various assemblies of believers throughout Palestine. Yet, continuing pressures were felt by them because they constituted a Christian minority among their unbelieving Jewish contemporaries. James writes to them in a pastoral capacity in which his concerns are especially focused on the on-going problems and trials which they faced."

[Compare Jas 1:2]:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."

[Hodges, cont.]

"Naturally, James refers to his readers as his brethren, not because they are fellow Jews but because they have been born from above, brought...forth by the word of truth (1:18; cf. Acts 9:30; 10:23, etc.). This form of address, (my) brethren, is frequent in this epistle (1:16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 10, 12, 19). Even a superficial reading of James 1:2-18 shows that the author regards his readers as Christians. It may be said that nowhere in this letter - not even in 2:14-26! - does he betray the slightest doubt that those in his audience are truly his brothers or sisters in the Lord. If we do not observe this simple and obvious fact, we may fall into a quagmire of skewed interpretations, just as so may expositors of James have actually done."

B) JAMES BELIEVED IN THE FREE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE

[Zane Hodges states, "The Gospel Under Siege", Second Edition, Redencion Viva Publishers, Dallas, Tx, 1992, pp. 22-24]:

'''We should carefully observe that James, like all the inspired writers, believed eternal life was the gracious gift of God. This is made plain in a splendid passage in his first chapter:

1) [Jas 1:17-18]:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures."

Anyone who is familiar with the words of Jesus, as James certainly was, can surely hear an echo of our Lord in a statement like this.  New birth is a sovereign act of God.  It is one of His good and perfect gifts which comes down from above.

In fact, in the expression “from above,” James employs exactly the same word that Jesus used when He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). The Greek adverb is anothen and means both “again” and “from above.” No doubt our Lord deliberately selected it for His discourse with Nicodemus. The supernatural birth which He was describing is both a rebirth and a birth from above. The play on words which this involves is an effective one.

[Bob Wilkin, 'Grace In Focus', Sept/Oct 2004, 'God's Word, The Source of Assurance', p. 4]:

"James 1:18.... The half brother of Jesus reminds his readers, Jewish believers, that they were 'brought forth' or born again 'by the word of truth.' Clearly James is referring to their faith in the truth of the gospel (compare Jas 1:3, 'your faith'). This new birth is not dependent on some future action. It isa n accomplished fact that occurred at the moment of faith in the word of truth."

[Hodges, cont.]:

"In James’s statement about our rebirth there is also a strong emphasis on the sovereign will of God:

2) [2 Cor 4:6]:

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Here, too, the sovereign act of God is stressed.

Neither Paul nor James intends to deny the necessity of faith. But faith, as we see it in the simple, direct statements of the Bible about salvation, is nothing more than a response to a divine initiative. It is the means by which eternal life is received.

Since this is so, it is proper that God Himself should be viewed as the sovereign Actor at the moment of conversion. It is He who wills to regenerate. It is His Word that penetrates our darkness. Salvation, we may say, occurs when the sufficiency of Christ for my eternal need dawns on my darkened heart. At this moment of believing illumination, I become a Christian.

So there is no reason to doubt that James and Paul were in harmony about the way eternal life is received. For both of them it is the gift of God, graciously and sovereignly bestowed. Only when we take this unity for granted can we really begin to understand the meaning of James’s instruction about works.'''

C) SO THE ISSUE IS NOT WHETHER WORKS SHOULD ACCOMPANY FAITH BUT TO WHAT END!!!

In chapter two of the Book of James, the author describes the unfaithful Christian lifestyle which is devoid of works as a dead, i.e., useless faith with respect to its value to mankind. He warns the unfaithful believer of an early departure from his earthly life and that nothing stemming from his earthly life will be saved when he does get to heaven:

II) [Jas 2:1-4]:

(v. 1) "My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism."

A) DO NOT ACT WITH FAVORITISM, ESPECIALLY TOWARD THOSE WITH WORLDLY RICHES OR STATURE

Fellow believers in Jesus Christ, don't be prejudiced or show personal favoritism toward others, but treat all brothers and sisters in Christ as special - as better than yourself:

1) [Compare Phil 2:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

(v. 4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."

II) [Jas 2:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 1) "My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism."

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 48]:

[Re: "In our glorious Jesus Christ" = lit. "our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory"] =

"The phrase in Greek equals '(the) Glory,' that is, heaven or the presence of God (cf. 1 Tim 3:16). The whole expression will then mean 'of our Lord Jesus Christ of (from) Glory.' James would be thinking, in that case, of the fact that the true abode of the Lord was (and is) the glorious abode of God Himself. Such a splendid origin for Christ makes any kind of earthly wealth and glory appear drab and worthless by comparison. Faith in One Who belongs to 'Glory' makes all deference to rich people on earth look shabby and cheap. The readers should not combine their faith with such demeaning behavior."

[Jas 2:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 2) "For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,

(v. 3) and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' and you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool'

(v. 4) have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?"

The author James illustrates this attitude of personal favoritism as evil in an hypothetical case in which special attention and preferential seating is given to the rich man and standing room only or an inferior seat on the floor is afforded the poor man, (literally "under my footstool").

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", p. 49]:

"In the circle of churches to which James writes... it is not likely that there were many which met in the local synagogue, since that would imply the conversion of most of the synagogue's members. Most probably the Jewish-Christian churches of Palestine met in private homes where rooms might be set aside to accommodate these gatherings. The statement, sit here at my footstool, is literally, 'sit here under (or, below) my footstool.' There could be a touch of ironic exaggeration in these words: James suggests that the position given the poor visitor is so demeaning as to be underneath the footstool on which the speaker rested his own feet!

However, the scene James had in mind may well have been one in which the Christians were reclining at a table to observe the Lord's Supper. If so, the rich visitor is allowed to sit down on a seat in the room to observe the proceedings. The poor visitor, on the other hand, is told simply either to stand (against the wall?) or to sit on the floor 'under' (i.e., behind) the pillow or object on which the speaker placed his feet. For the concept of visitors at a Christian gathering, see 1 Cor 14:23-25)."

III) [Jas 2:5]:

"Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who loved Him?"

A) DID NOT GOD CHOOSE THE POOR OF THIS WORLD WHO LOVE HIM TO BE RICH IN FAITH AND HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM?

'Listen', James says to his beloved, born-again Jewish believers, 'Didn't God choose the materially poor of this world and those who truly love Him, (which means obey Him, Jn 14:23-24), to be rich spiritually in faith, (cp. Lk 6:20), and thereby become heirs, i.e., inheritors and corulers, of the world with the Lord Jesus Christ, (cp. 2 Tim 2:11-12, Eph 5:5; Mt 5:5, 10)?

B) MATERIAL POSSESSIONS ARE A STUMBLING BLOCK TO A BELIEVER'S FAITHFUL LIFE

Verse 5 indicates that material possessions are a stumbling block to a believer's faithful life. Compare the following verses:

1) [Mk 4:18-19]:

(v. 18) "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,

(v. 19) and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."

2) [Rev 3:17]:

"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' but you do not realize that you are [spiritually and eternally] wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."

(Compare also Lk 6:20, 8:14, 16:1-15; Pro 30:8-9).

Although riches are not inherently evil, Scripture teaches that rich believers as a general rule will not receive much inheritance when they get to heaven:

3) [1 Tim 6:9-10, 17]:

(v. 9) "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction."

["But those who want to get rich..." = If one has and continues in the desire to get and remain rich then the motivation behind one's wealth is the reason why riches can block faithfulness, (or even salvation, cp. Mt 19:23)]

[1 Tim 6:9-10, 17 cont.]:

(v. 10) "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang."

(v. 17) "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, Who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy."

So the reason for the tragedy of the rich man's lack of eternal rewards is found in the definition of a rich man = 'one who retains wealth'. God, in His sovereignty, provides certain individuals with wealth for the purpose of enhancing the kingdom of heaven. The riches are not to be retained in the manner that a rich man usually has wealth: He usually is overprotective of his wealth. He develops a self centered concern about it, and he retains it in a way that only he has use of it. None of this is God centered motivation. The typical rich man self-centeredly sets aside the blessings that he receives in order to protect and cling to what he views as his own possessions and not God's. Such is the pervasive extent of the sin nature within men - even believers. And the temptation of riches only serves to stir up the evil, self-centered response of that sin nature. Most men fail the test of wealth. This mental attitude and consequent action of hoarding God's blessings instead of spending them for the glory of God, (1 Cor 10:31), disqualifies a believer from doing divine good works and earning an inheritance/rewards in heaven. Often by hoarding one's blessings of wealth in order to retain them, a believer fails God's test which would have been followed by even greater blessings. The unfaithful believer who is rich sacrifices the supernatural inner happiness and peace which accompanies the child of God who spends his abundant blessings for the glory of God instead of retaining them for his own in order to be rich in the eyes of men.

C) THE ULTIMATE ISSUE RELATIVE TO BEING FAITHFUL & RECEIVING REWARDS IN HEAVEN IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WORD OUT OF LOVE FOR THE LORD

The ultimate issue then relative to being faithful & receiving rewards in heaven is our obedience to God's Word motivated by our love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Jesus said to His disciple Philip, and by application, to all believers:

1) [Jn 14:15]:

"If you love Me you will keep My commandments"

"love" = "agapate" = 2nd person plural, present, active, indicative = 'If you are in a state of continual loving of Me, Phillip......' = 'If you are loving Me, Phillip, then as a result of loving Me, you will be keeping My commandments.'

Our Lord is not saying in Jn 14:15 that unless Philip keeps His commandments he will not enter into the kingdom of heaven - the words do not say that. Philip is a believer, one of our Lord's faithful disciples, secure in his eternal destiny! What He is saying to Philip is, 'If you are loving Me, Philip, then as a result of loving Me, you will be keeping My commandments. They go hand in hand' If a believer at some time in his life is not obeying the commandments in God's Word that he has been instructed in, then that believer is at that moment demonstrating that he is not loving the Lord Jesus Christ, (compare Jn 14:23-24, 15:9-10; I Jn 2:3-5; 5:2-3).

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", p. 51]:

"Ironically, a rich Christian may have less opportunity to trust God for his needs than a poor man who must trust Him day by day, and sometimes meal by meal. Thus, by the providential arrangement of God, a poor Christian may become very rich in the area of personal faith in God, while the rich Christian may be poverty-striken in this aspect of spiritual experience. James's readers needed to remember this whenever a scruffy, poor brother came to their assembly. Despite outward appearances, he might be a spiritual millionaire!

Indeed, if so, he was also one of the heirs of the kingdom. By this phrase James indicates that the poor man who is rich in faith will be a co-ruler with Christ over the kingdom of God. Just as Christ inherits the kingdom (Ps 2:8-9) due to His loyalty to God the Father (Heb 1:8-9, quoting Ps 45:6-7), so will the co-heirs of His kingdom (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26-28). Thus the kingdom has been promised to those who love God. Although salvation is freely bestowed at the moment we exercise simple trust in Christ for eternal life, the kingdom is not inherited that way. Heirship in the kingdom requires us to love God, which we can express only through obedience to Him (John 14:21-24), while obedience itself is the product of living by faith (see Gal 2:20). Anyone who does not live this kind of life cannot rightly be called rich in faith, even though he or she has believed in Christ for eternal salvation."

D) SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT IN VIEW. THE VALUE OF A BELIEVER'S LIFE - HIS FAITHFUL WORKS - JUSTIFYING HIM BEFORE MEN AND BEING SAVED IN HEAVEN IS.

At this point it is important to reiterate that James is addressing born again believers in James chapter two and NOT unsaved people. Salvation or condemnation to the Lake of Fire is NOT in view in this chapter. What is in view is the rewards that believers, when they get to heaven, will or will not receive as a result of what they did with their lives on earth as well as the quality and length of their physical lives while on earth.

E) LOSS OF SALVATION CANNOT BE IN VIEW EITHER - ESPECIALLY SINCE SCRIPTURE TEACHES ETERNAL SECURITY

There is therefore no condemnation once an individual has become "in Christ Jesus", i.e., a believer, (cp. Eph 1:13; Ro 6:1-3). Let's examine an important passage in the book of Romans in order to clarify the believer's position in Christ relative to whether or not he obeys Christ's commandments:

~~~Ro 8v4

1) [Ro 8:1-4]:

(v. 1) "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

a) THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST, I.E., BELIEVERS, ARE UNCONDITIONALLY ETERNALLY SECURE FROM GOING TO HELL

[All those who are "in Christ", i.e., believers, ( 2 Cor 5:17; Ro 6:1-3), are eternally secure from going to hell whether they continue to obey Christ or not, (compare 1 Cor 3:11-15, 2 Tim 2:11-13).

Note that some translations have the phrase copied from verse 4 below "who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit". This phrase is omitted from the end of verse one above because it was discovered that it was erroneously copied from verse 4 in a number of later manuscripts. Earlier, more reliable manuscripts do not have this phrase. Its placement here in verse one by someone who was transcribing manuscripts contradicts many other passages which teach God's exclusive and sovereign role in preserving the eternal security of the believer, (ref: Ro 8:38-39; Jn 10:28; Eph 1:13-14, 2:8-9, 4:30 & Ro 11:29). How the believer lives his life does not effect his eternal destiny. Whom he has placed his faith in does, (Ref. Jn 3:16; Jn 14:6)!]

1) [Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 2) "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

b) THE BELIEVER IS UNCONDITIONALLY SET FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH AND ITS EFFECTS BY HIS POSITION IN CHRIST UNDER THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE

"The Law of the Spirit of life" = The law of the Spirit of life of those who are in Christ Jesus, i.e., believers, is a law which stipulates that one is set free from the law of sin and of death, i.e., believers are set free from ever being condemned unto eternal death, i.e., separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus can also be described as the law of perfect Christian freedom which is energized by living by faith in Jesus Christ and His Word - energized by the love of Him, (cp. Gal 5:1-6, 13; 1 Cor 8:9); which law makes provision through the blood of Christ for eradicating the effects of the believer's daily sins, (1 Jn 1:1-9), and also for preserving his eternal destiny in heaven, (1 Jn 1:7; 1 Jn 2:2).

So once a person has expressed his faith alone in Christ alone as Savior he is now subject to this new law: the law of the Spirit of Life which is administered by God the Holy Spirit indwelling in him. Under this new law, the child of God can obey and walk in the Spirit by faith; or not obey and walk in carnality by the world and put himself under God's discipline. Either way he walks, this new law of the Spirit of life that he is under has permanently and eternally set him free from the law of sin and eternal death in the Lake of Fire. The believer, therefore, is eternally secure from condemnation under the law of sin and death because he has trusted alone in Christ alone. The law of sin and death is that law which keeps an individual who is subject to it under the slavery of sin, (Ro 6:17a; 20), and then under eternal condemnation when he dies, (Jn 3:18; 1 Jn 5:12). An unbeliever has no choice under this law but to sin in everything he does. Even the good that he does, not being directed by God the Holy Spirit, is contaminated by his evil nature in some way, (Isa 64:6; Jer 17:9; Ro 6:20; Lk 18:19). The unbeliever is truly a hopeless slave to the law of sin and eternal death, (Ro 6:20)]

[Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3 NIV) "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man..."

c) WHAT MAN COULD NOT DO, BEING CONTAMINATED BY HIS SINFUL NATURE, GOD'S SON DID: TOOK CARE OF THE PENALTY FOR MANKIND'S SINS FOR HIM

"His [God's] own Son in the likeness of sinful man" = God the Son became flesh - became in the likeness of man without a sin nature, yet He remained fully God at the same time, (cp. 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 2:6-8; Col 1:15-16). He came to earth as a Man "to be a sin offering" = to die for the sins of the whole world, (cp. 1 Jn 2:2).

"And so He [the Lord Jesus Christ] condemned sin in sinful man.." = "condemned" = "katerkrinen" = passed a judicial sentence upon sin. In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ died for the judgment due for our sin and thus paid the penalty that our own sins required us to pay:

i) [1 Jn 2:2]:

"He [Jesus Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."

So all that remains for the individual is to trust in our Lord's payment for his sins and that individual will receive forgiveness and eternal life:

ii) [Acts 10:43]:

"All the prophets testify about Him [Jesus Christ] that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."

This then provides the individual who has expressed faith alone in Christ alone with unconditional eternal security, (Ro 8:1), and the brand new potential of living righteously.

1) Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3c) "And so He condemned sin in sinful man,

(v. 4) in order that the [perfect & righteous] requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

d) THE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS IN CHRIST, I.E., WHO IS A BELIEVER, NOW HAS THE POTENTIAL TO - BUT NOT THE CERTAINTY THAT HE - WILL LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY

When a believer is controlled by, i.e., walks according to the Spirit Who now indwells him, (Eph 1:13-14); he fulfills the righteous requirement of the Law. It is a matter of choice for the believer. So if he chooses to follow his own way he will be unrighteous. But if he chooses to be controlled by the Spirit, he will be righteous.

i) [Compare Eph 5:15-18]:

(v. 15) "[Believers] Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise,

(v. 16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

(v. 17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

(v. 18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled [controlled] with the Spirit."]

1) [Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3c cont.) "And so He condemned sin in sinful man,

(v. 4 AMP) so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit - our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the (Holy) Spirit."

Notice: "might be fully met" = "pleroe" = aorist tense, passive voice, subjunctive mood = so that a condition of possibility but not certainty is established. Maybe you will act righteously and maybe you won't. But now at least you as one who is now a believer can fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law by submitting to the leading of God the Holy Spirit. Before, as an unbeliever, you could not at all.

e) SO THE BELIEVER WHO WALKS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT WILL INDEED FULFILL THE RIGHTEOUS REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW

So Jesus Christ "condemned sin in sinful man" in order that the perfect standard of the Mosaic Law might be fulfilled on a moment to moment basis in the lives of those believers who for those moments are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Therefore believers at times do choose NOT to live according to the Spirit and at those times are NOT meeting the righteous requirements of the Law. They are then out of fellowship with God but not out of salvation, (Ro 8:1, 38-39). Their position in Christ relative to eternal life remains sovereignly intact. The out-of-fellowship problem is then resolved by confession and by obeying the Word again, (1 Jn 1:5-10, Jn 14:15)

Detailed study on Eternal Security: {short description of image}

~~~ro8v4

IV) [Jas 2:6-7]:

(v. 6) "But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?

(v. 7) Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?"

A) SO THOSE WHO HAVE RICHES AND POWER USUALLY ABUSE IT, YET THOSE NOT SO BLESSED ARE MOST OFTEN DISHONORED

James gives good reason in verses 6 & 7 why one should not give preferential treatment to the rich. For it is often someone with wealth and power who is behind oppression, unfair legalistic restriction and defamation of one's character in order to gain further advantage.

Note James' earlier comment of those who are rich:

1) [Jas 1:9-11]:

(v. 9) "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business."

Notice that in God's viewpoint those that are rich have a low position - one that will "pass away like a wild flower" - and those that are in humble circumstances have a high position in God's eyes.

2) [Compare Jas 5:1-6]:

(v. 1) "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.

(.2 ) Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.

(v. 3) Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

(v. 4) Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

(v. 5) You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

(v. 6) You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you."

J. Ronald Blue states, [The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck Editors, Victor Books, USA, 1988, pp. 832-833]:

"It is not the wealth itself that is condemned, but the greedy attitude toward it and the grisly actions with which it is obtained. God is not deaf to the cries of injustice that rise both from wages withheld in fraud and from the laborers who have been oppressed by the rich. The Jewish converts were well aware of God's Law forbidding holding back on wages (Lev 19:13; Deut 24:15) and oppressing the poor (Prov 3:27-28; Amos 8:4-6; Mal 3:5)....

In the scramble for more wealth, the rich used their influence in courts of justice, and in the process were guilty of bringing condemnation and even death to innocent men who offered no resistance... What began as an interest in money ended as an insensitivity to murder."

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", p. 52]:

"Poor believers, then, tended to live such lives and to be people of importance in the light of God's coming kingdom, and disdainful treatment of a poor person who attended a meeting was a failure to take that fact into account. 'You should have honored him,' James is saying, but instead you have dishonored the poor man. Conversely, as a class, rich people were more likely to be the enemies of Christianity and to be oppressors rather than helpers of the Christian community. Though some indeed would be saved, their tendency to trust riches rather than God made their salvation difficult (Mark 10:23-27). Like ungainly camels, they were too big and self-important to enter the kingdom by simple, child-like trust. Still worse, in the Jewish context of this book, many unbelieving, wealthy Jews were a source of oppression to Christians and might drag them into the courts on any pretext. Moreover, many did not hesitate to blaspheme that noble name by which you are called. That is, they blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ (see v. 1). By putting the statements about rich men in question form, James is simply making them face what they already knew. It made no sense for any reader of James to obsequiously extend himself in welcoming a rich person into the Christian assembly, while at the same time slighting a potential heir of the kingdom!"

V) [Jas 2:8-12]:

(v. 8) "If, however you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing well.

(v. 9) But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as transgressors.

(v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

(v. 11) For He Who said, 'Do Not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law.

(v. 12) So [believer] speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty."

A) THE LAW OF LIBERTY IS SUCCESSFULLY FOLLOWED WHEN THE BELIEVER ACTS TOWARD OTHERS UNDER THE ROYAL LAW OF LOVE

To paraphrase vv. 8-11:

'If on the other hand, fellow believer, you are fulfilling the royal law by loving your neighbor as yourself you do well. But if you break any statute of the Law you are guilty even as a believer of breaking the whole Law.'

The believer who sins is still breaking the Law which transgression our Lord has already paid for in advance relative to securing eternal life, (1 Jn 2:2), so there will be no consequence of eternal condemnation.

Nevertheless as a born again child of God, he is still subject to living by the standard of God's absolute righteousness as portrayed in the Mosaic Law and as specifically detailed for him in the letters, (epistles), to the church. A child of God is thus subject to being disciplined by God when falling short of what God expects and subject to the receipt of eternal rewards when he complies with God's standard. So James says, 'Take notice fellow believer that when you do break the law you will be held accountable under the judgment of the law of liberty relative to discipline on earth and rewards in heaven.' Under the Mosaic system, infraction of any part of the Law or any law makes one a lawbreaker and a guilty sinner before God. But the believer of any age, the man who expresses a childlike faith alone in Christ alone to save him, (Mt 18:3-4), no longer comes under the Mosaic Law of condemnation relative to eternal life, (cp. Jn 5:24; Ro 8:1), but under the law of liberty - the law that gives freedom, i.e., the principle of free grace and mercy in Christ, (cp. Gal 5:1-6, 13; Eph chapter 5; Ro 6:14b; 1 Cor 8:9-11).

The law of liberty is successfully fulfilled when the believer acts toward others under the royal law of love, (v. 8). James therefore tells the believer to act responsibly and righteously with his freedom in Christ for his deeds will be judged, (for rewards in heaven, 1 Cor 3:11-15), and he will be disciplined on earth even to the point of extreme severity and death, (Heb 12:5-11; 13:18; Ps 32:1-11; 1 Cor 11:28-30; 1 Jn 5:16-17; Phil 4:6-7).

[Compare Gal 5:1-6, 13]:

(v. 1) "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

(v. 2) Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

(v. 3) Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised [re: justification unto eternal life] that he is obligated to obey the whole Law.

(v. 4) You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

(v. 5) But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

(v. 6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

(v. 13) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

V) [Jas 2:8-12 cont.]:

(v. 8) "If, however you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing well.

(v. 9) But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as transgressors.

(v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

(v. 11) For He Who said, 'Do Not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law.

(v. 12) So [believer] speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty."

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 52-53]:

"The failure to avoid partiality (v. 1) in dealing with the rich and the poor was more than a failure to face reality in regard to these two classes of men. More fundamentally, it was a breakdown in Christian morality. It was a violation of Scripture's royal law commanding love for our neighbor based on how we ourselves would wish to be treated. Certainly no one desired to be slighted in the way described by James (v. 3).

In calling the command to love your neighbor as yourself a royal law, James has created a memorable expression with more than one significant facet. The command to love is royal because it is issued by the King - our Lord Himself, in fact, first as the divine Revealer (Lev 19:1, 18) and then in His incarnation among men (Matt 22:37-40). But it is also Royal because it is conduct of a high order that is worthy of a king. No doubt James is alluding to the theme of heirship in the kingdom which he had just mentioned (2:5). The heirs were the future kings of God's kingdom, and they should conduct themselves according to the royal (kingly) law of love for one's neighbor. Note how skillfully James pulls together in 2:5-9 the two great commands of OT revelation - i.e., love for God and love for man (see Mark 12:28-31). These two commands are also part of the New Covenant law of liberty.... The aspiring future kings will possess (reign over) the kingdom if they love God (v. 5), but this requires also love for men (this verse; see 1 John 4:20-21).

Thus, James is saying, if the readers really (mentoi) do fulfill the command to love others as they love themselves, they are doing the right thing (i.e., you do well). And they are acting in a royal way."

V) [Jas 2:8-12 cont.]:

(v. 8) "If, however you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing well.

(v. 9) But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as transgressors.

(v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

(v. 11) For He Who said, 'Do Not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law.

(v. 12) So [believer] speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty."

B) SHOWING PARTIALITY IS ENOUGH TO BE CONVICTED OF BREAKING THE LAW

"but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the Law as transgressors." =

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 53-56]:

"But do they indeed fulfill it? [the Law]. Not if they show partiality to the rich over the poor, for in that case they commit sin, and the biblical command to love exposes them as transgressors of God's Law. No doubt, as Jewish converts to Christianity, James's readers still held the moral standards of God's OT Law in high esteem, as should we. After all, every one of the ten commandments, except the one about the Sabbath day, is repeated in the NT. Thus the repeated commands are binding on those who live under the New Covenant rather than under the Old, which has been set aside (see Hebrews 8). Therefore, the failure to love a brother as oneself (which is a failure reflected in partiality) constitutes a genuine infraction of God's will for us."

"For whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." =

[Hodges, cont.]:

"Furthermore, such failure exposes our inadequacy in the light of God's holy standards. An infraction of the Law of the sort James is discussing is to break the Law as a whole. No matter how well we might keep the rest of it, a sin against love constitutes a person a lawbreaker - i.e., a criminal before the bar of justice!"

"For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law." =

[Hodges, cont.]:

"This disturbing point is driven home by James with the observation that the commands against adultery and murder are part of the same Law. Since both sins were punishable by death under the Old Covenant, James's argument has great force. Obviously, he is saying, if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, your innocence in one area does not excuse you in the other. As James's readers would know, murderers suffered the ultimate penalty for lawbreaking whether or not they had ever committed adultery.

Naturally James is addressing himself to Jewish Christian readers... who still retained a high opinion of law-keeping, though possibly not as intensely as those in Jerusalem who were so zealous for the Law (Acts 21:20). Their culture and heritage strongly inclined them to this, even after they had been justified by faith in Christ. James writes with considerable perception to his readers. Even though justification is not the issue here, his readership (like their unsaved but self-righteous fellow countrymen) put a high premium upon avoiding such sins as adultery and murder. But they needed to be reminded that a failure to love a poor brother who came to their assembly nullified any pride they might have in obeying God's law in other respects. One either obeyed it all, or he did not obey it - whatever the specific infraction might be....

Even today the Church readily lapses into a quasi-Roman Catholic view of 'mortal' and 'venial' sins. Some sins (like adultery or murder) are considered too serious to be committed by Christians, while others (like jealousy, selfish ambitions, envy, etc.) are condemned but tolerated. Yet all are listed as works of the flesh in Gal 5:19-21. Although we can speak at times of some sins being worse than others (see John 19:11), James's words remind us that in the final analysis any sin is enormously serious because it breaks God's law and makes a person a lawbreaker.

The words of vv 10-11 could easily have been written by the apostle Paul himself. Certainly they powerfully reinforce the Pauline declaration that by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight (Rom 3:20). How could a man ever hope to be justified by the Law if, as James declares, whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all? Not even Paul could be more Pauline than that! Thus, if anyone still hopes for justification by works before God, he cannot derive that hope from the Epistle of James. In the modern evangelical world, it is amazing how often the statements of Paul and James about the Law are readily ignored. Instead, we are supposed to believe (according to some) that we can keep God's law well enough to essentially validate our own conversion and be so regarded as Christian people. But such a view is Pharisaism revisited. It is not NT doctrine at all.

Even James's converted readers, however needed to be reminded of this truth about the Law, so that they would not ignore their own unloving partiality and carelessly regard themselves as law keepers in God's sight. 'Don't think that way at all,' James is saying, 'for your loveless behavior sets you under the Law's condemnation, not the Law's approval!' Thus the kind of 'hearing' James wants of his readers (see 1:19 ff.) is not mere moral separation from sins like adultery and murder. No indeed. To be swift to hear is also to be swift to love, and that excludes partiality.

It should be noted how James can effectively use the Law in an exhortation to Christian readers who esteemed it highly. Just as Paul did, James employs it for the condemnation of sin, since by the Law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20). Thus James uses the Law 'lawfully,' in accord with Paul's own perception of this. The Law, Paul would later affirm, can be lawfully used to reprove whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God (see 1 Tim 1:8-11). That is exactly what James is doing in this passage."

VI) [Jas 2:12-13]:

(v. 12) "So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

(v. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment."

A) ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE WILL BE EQUITABLE JUDGMENT UNDER THE LAW OF LIBERTY TO DETERMINE TEMPORAL JUDGMENT AND ETERNAL REWARDS IN HEAVEN

Therefore a believer who by definition is to be judged by the law of liberty, and not by the Law of Moses - because our Lord Jesus Christ already suffered that judgment for the believer, (Ro 3:21-28) - that believer will only be judged for his works to determine temporal judgment to be received on earth for unfaithfulness and whatever rewards he will receive in heaven effecting his entire eternal life. This judgment will be a perfectly just one which is dependent upon the believer's life on earth:

If he was merciful to others, God will be merciful and reward him graciously. For none of us truly earns rewards in heaven apart from the gracious work of God the Holy Spirit directing our earthly lives on a moment to moment basis, sovereignly providing circumstances in which we have the opportunity to exercise our spiritual gifts in God's service.

James previously establishes the important doctrine of rewards in heaven as directly related to the degree of ones faithful lifestyle:

1) [Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

Note that since salvation is a free gift based on faith alone in Christ alone, (Eph 2:8-9, Ro 3:23-24) - no works permitted; then the "crown of life" cannot be speaking of salvation unto eternal life since such crown is received as a result of persevering under trial. The "crown of life", therefore, is clearly a reward and not a gift in recompense for continual works of service for the Lord by the already saved believer.

"So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty" =

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 56-58]:

"But it is not the OT Law by which Christians will be judged, but rather by the law of liberty to which he has already referred (1:25...). The qualifying phrase of liberty clearly suggests a differentiation from the mere term Law when not so qualified. James certainly concurred with Peter's description of the OT Law as a yoke of bondage (Acts 15:10), and James joined in the final solution of the Law problem which was hammered out at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13-29). James knows that Christians are not under law but under grace (Rom 6:14). That is to say, he knows that Christians are not under the Mosaic Law of the Old Covenant. But James also knows that God's will was extensively revealed for New Covenant people through the NT apostles and prophets and - above all - through 'our Lord Jesus Christ from Glory.' It is precisely this revelation which was made for born-again people and which appeals to the fundamental instincts of their regenerate nature. As such it is not a burden at all (1 John 5:3-5), but rather it allows them to express what they really are as children of God. Thus it is a law of freedom.

Yet at the same time it is the code of conduct by which our Christian lives will be judged. Thus we should so speak and so do with that fact in mind. Our Christian lives will be assessed in the light of the high and holy standards of the law of liberty.

In speaking of judgment, of course, James can only mean what we refer to as the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 2 Cor 5:9-11...). In reference to eternal life the believer shall not come into judgment (John 5:24). There is no such thing as a judgment for the believer to determine whether he goes to heaven or hell. The believer has already passed from death to life and no charge can be brought against him because he is already justified (see John 5:24; Rom 8:32-33). Those who here read out of James a doctrine of judgment pertaining to eternal life for believers can only do so by first reading it in!..."

"For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment" =

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 57-58]:

"Such is the solemnity of the Judgment Seat of Christ, however, that no man can view it without sensing how awesome and exacting it must be. Paul also sensed this feature of it (2 Cor 5:10-11). Any reasonable person must know that a judgment of his Christian life 'by the book' (i.e., with full strictness) is likely to leave him with much censure from his Savior and with much loss of potential reward. What is needed in that day is mercy - a willingness on the part of our Lord and Judge to assess our words and deeds with the fullest possible measure of compassion. But how can we store up the mercy which will be so urgently needed in that day?

James's answer is simple and thrilling: he commends mercy. For if the one who has shown no mercy will experience none in that day, the converse must certainly be true: the one who has shown much mercy will experience much. Indeed, the mercy we show to others can actually 'win the day' at the future experience of judgment, for mercy triumphs over judgment. The word triumphs (katakauchaomai) could be rendered 'exults over,' as if mercy could celebrate with words its victory over judgment. Hence, if a Christian constantly tempers his words and deeds with mercy, he can emerge a victor in the day of divine assessment.

In this light, then, the cold indifference toward the poor man of vv 2-3 was a dangerous procedure to follow. Instead, that poor man should have been welcomed with the warmth and sensitivity which the merciful person is careful to express. Only in that way would their treatment of him be a positive, rather than a negative, factor at the Judgment Seat of Christ."

B) JUDGMENT FOR THE UNFAITHFUL BELIEVER CAN RANGE FROM DISCIPLINE TODAY OF VARYING DEGREES TO EARLY DEATH TO GREAT LOSS OF ETERNAL REWARDS WHEN THE BELIEVER REACHES HEAVEN'S SHORES

And if he was not merciful, God will be merciless to him - he will enter eternity in heaven because of the one time that he trusted in Christ as Savior but he will receive precious little else, (1 Cor 3:11-15). From the perspective of the rest of eternity one can call the future eternal lifestyle of the unfaithful Christian relative to the results of his wasted life on earth and the disciplines that God invokes on him an utter and devastating tragedy.

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth by the faithless believer at the realization of the inestimable loss of rewards that that believer will suffer and be lacking for the rest of eternity, (Mt 8:10-12; 21:1-14; 24:14-30; Eph 5:1-5). Yes, tears will eventually be wiped away, (Isa 25:7-8; Rev 7:15-17; 21:3-4), and all of God's children will ultimately move on into eternity.....some with absolutely astounding, indescribably wonderful corulership roles to fulfill alongside of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They will have an intimacy with and a love for their 'Husband-King' that is inexpressible - indefinable. Others will merely be residents of heaven with miniscule capacity by comparison to enjoy the rest of eternity. Compare 1 Cor 3:11-15; 9:25-27; 2 Cor 5:10.

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 58-59]:

"The theme of this famous unit of James's epistle has already appeared in his letter. As far back as 1:21, James had urged his readers to receive God's Word because of its lifesaving power. This Word is able to save your lives, James had stated... But James quickly went on to insist that to benefit from the Word that way, one must be a work-doer (v. 25..). In a sense, the remainder of the unit, which clarifies the command to be swift to hear, explains what it means to be a work-doer (as stated in v. 25). Thus a real workdoer is not simply punctilious about performing his religious routines, but restrains his tongue and is helpful to widows and orphans (1:26-27). Moreover, a work-doer is not a merely moral person, abstaining from things like adultery and murder, but is one who fulfills the royal law of love even toward the poor man who visits the Christian assembly (2:1-13). But this leads to a third consideration.

One cannot expect to benefit from the lifesaving capacity of God's Word if he dismisses the idea of works as though they were irrelevant. In that case, it does not matter that he is orthodox in his beliefs. Yet how easy it would be to downgrade works in a church where it was understood that justification before God was by faith alone. If God had accepted them eternally on the basis of faith, apart from works, why could He not accept their Christian lives on the basis of their correct beliefs - their orthodoxy - apart from works? This question might easily be raised, moreover, by someone who felt convicted by his lack of concern for, or by his prejudice against, the poor. As a shrewd and observant shepherd, James understood such defense mechanisms and seeks to address this one in 2:14-26.

But what James is not addressing is the issue of the eternal destiny of his readership. Although this famous passage is often taken that way, this approach actually rips James's text out of the larger context in which it is found. It introduces into the text a concern which James did not have here at all, and ignores the fact that James regards his readers as his brothers and sisters (1:2) and as born again (1:18). To get the subject wrong, of course, is to misunderstand James's entire text and to create a false theology about which James knew nothing at all. If this sounds too strong, it is not. The damage done to the Christian Church by an incorrect understanding of James 2:14-26 has been incalculable. It is also utterly deplorable because it betrays superficial thought and study, not only of the passage itself, but also of the entire epistle."

VII) [Jas 2:14]:

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

A) THERE IS NEITHER PROFIT NOR SALVATION, (PRESERVATION), OF ONES EARTHLY LIFE FOR ONE WHO SAYS HE HAS FAITH BUT HAS NOT WORKS

"What use is it" = What use "ophelos" = profit, advantage

In other words James is saying to fellow Jewish Christian believers, 'What use is it, fellow believers, for anyone to profess to have faith, even if it is true, if he has no divine good works to show for it?'

Answer demanded by context and Greek grammar: No good at all!

James then asks the question: "Can such faith save him?"

Answer demanded by context and grammar: No!

Author James, however, is not talking here about salvation from hell. He and his readers were born again, (Jas 1:17-18); they have expressed their faith in the Lord of glory, (Jas 2:1); they have the privileges of prayer reserved only for believers, (Pr 15:29; Jas 5:16); and he repeatedly calls them his brethren, (1:2, 9, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14-15; 3:1, 10, 13; 4:11; 5:67, 9-10, 12, 19). Born again believers are always in view in this passage.

B) THE CONTEXT OF THIS VERSE IS ESTABLISHED IN CHAPTER ONE: EXHORTATION OF BELIEVERS TO LIVE FAITHFULLY FOR CHRIST IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE LENGTH OF THEIR PHYSICAL LIVES, TO SAVE THE VALUE OF THEIR LIVES FOR ETERNITY & TO JUSTIFY THEMSELVES TO MANKIND AS DISCIPLES OF OUR LORD

In the previous chapter James establishes the context and meaning for verse 2:14 which is the exhortation of believers to live faithfully for Christ, justifying to mankind that they indeed are disciples of our Lord preserving their lives in this age and the value of it in eternity relative to eternal rewards:

1) [Jas 1:12-15]:

(v. 12) "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial [a man who is a believer, (vv. 2, 9)] for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial " = only believers are put under trial, Jas 1:2-4.

"he will receive the crown of life" = Only believers receive the crown of life and only if they are faithful - only if they persevere - only if they exemplify their love for the Lord by obeying His commandments and thereby persevering in faithfulness.

So the Christian who adds works to his faith will not only lengthen his physical life, but he will also save the value of what he did on earth - the value of his life - preserving it in heaven in the form of a crown of life in addition to an inestimable number of other rewards.

Believers, however, will not all be faithful in their love for the Lord. And so Jesus said to His disciple Philip and by application to all believers:

a) [Jn 14:15]:

"If you love Me [the Lord Jesus Christ] you will keep My commandments."

...which indicates the distinct possibility that a believer may not always be obedient to God's Word.

1) [Jas 1:12-15 cont.]:

(v. 12 cont.) "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

(v. 13) Let no one [who is a believer, cp. Jas 1:2-11] say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt any one.

(v. 14) But each one [who is a believer] is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

(v. 15) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth [physical] death [in that believer]"

Many believers will not keep our Lord's commandments. Scripture testifies to this in many places, (cp. 1 Jn 1:8; Gal 6:1-3; Jas 1:19-21; 1 Cor 3:1-3, 11-15; Eph 5:1-14). Therefore, verses 13-15 and 18-21 of James chapter one continue on the theme of exhorting fellow believers to lead faithful lives and not to practice sin otherwise the consequences will be dire and eternal.

1) [Jas 1:12-15 cont.]

"Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth [physical] death. [in that believer] " = "accomplished" = "arotelstheisa", matured. Sin, in the believer, having come to an end, to maturity, will bring physical death to him.

C) SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT IN VIEW BECAUSE JAMES IS ADDRESSING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ALREADY SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

1) [Compare Jas 1:18-20]:

(v. 18) "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth [i.e., begat us] by the Word of truth, so that we might be as it were the first fruits among His creatures.

[Notice that born again believers are in view and what they do with their lives]

(v. 19) "This you know, my beloved brethren, [believers] let every man [let every believer] be quick to hear, [be a ready listener] slow to speak, slow to anger;

(v. 20) for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

D) LOSS OF ONE'S SOUL: THE LOSS OF ONES PHYSICAL LIFE AND ITS VALUE IN ETERNITY - NOT LOSS OF ETERNAL LIFE - IS IN VIEW IN JAMES:

1) [Jas 1:21]:

(v. 21) "Therefore [you believers] put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in a humble spirit receive the word [which] implanted [in your heart] is able to save your souls."

"so that" = "hoste" = so that - refers back to vv. 17-18: so that as a consequence of our salvation, i.e., of our new birth - v. 18. We Christians will be the first fruits, the pre-eminent glory of all creation. Therefore, verses 19-21 go on to exhort believers to act accordingly.

"able to save your souls" - "souls" - "psuchas". The soul is defined as the essence which animates the body but is not dissolved by death, (Mt 10:28). In this context, the 'soulish life' which is lived on earth, (i.e., the life as directed by one's soul), will be saved from a premature physical death and rewards in heaven, if the believer turns from living a sinful life.

[Hodges, cont.]:

"That this passage is analogous to 2:14 is easy to see.

a) [Compare Jas 2:14]:

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?"

Here, too, James is affirming the necessity of doing something, and he clearly means that only if his readers do God's Word will it be able to 'save their souls.'

At first glance, this seems only to repeat the problem already encountered. But in fact it offers us the solution. The reason we do not see it immediately is due to the fact that we are English speakers with a long history of theological indoctrination. To us, the expression 'save your souls' can scarcely mean anything else than 'to be delivered from hell.'

But this is the meaning least likely to occur to a Greek reader of the same text. In fact the expression 'to save the soul' represents a Greek phrase whose most common meaning in English would be 'to save the life.' In the New Testament it occurs in this sense in parallel passages Mark 3:4 and Luke 6:9 (see also Luke 9:56). Among the numerous places where it is used with this meaning in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the following references would be especially clear to the English reader: Genesis 19:17 and 32:30; 1 Samuel 19:11; and Jeremiah 48:6. Perhaps even more to the point, the phrase occurs again in James 5:20, and here the words 'from death' are added.

By contrast, the expression is never found in any New Testament text which describes the conversion experience!

The natural sense of the Greek phrase ('to save your lives') fits perfectly into the large context of James 1. Earlier, James was discussing the consequences of sin. He has said, 'Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-growth, brings forth death' (1:15). Sin, states James, has its final outcome in physical death. But obedience to God can defer death and 'save' or 'preserve' the life. This truth is echoed also by Paul (see Rom 8:13).

This understanding of James 1:21 agrees completely with 5:19, 20, where James says to his fellow Christians:

b) [Jas 5:19-20]:

(v. 19) "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,

(v. 20) remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

On this attractive note of mutual spiritual concern among the brethren, James closes his letter. But in doing so, he manages to emphasize once again that sin can lead to death.

It has been observed that the Epistle of James is the New Testament writing which most clearly reflects the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. The theme of death as a consequence of sin is an extremely frequent one in the book of Proverbs. A few illustrative texts can be mentioned:

c) [Compare Pr 10:27]:

"The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short."

d) [Pr 11:19 NAS]:

"He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life, And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death."

e) [Pr 19:16 NAS]:

"He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die"

It is clear that this is the Old Testament concept which furnishes the background for James's thought. A recognition of this fact clarifies a great deal. 'To save the soul' (='life') is to preserve the physical life from an untimely death due to sin."

2) [Compare Mt 16:24-27]:

(v. 24) "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

[Notice that "coming after Me [Jesus]", i.e., discipleship and not salvation is in view, i.e., following the Lord in service, denying one's own personal direction and accepting the Lord's direction in one's life to the extent of taking up one's particular cross in life of difficulty, persecution and service to God]

(v. 25) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.

[So in light of the previous verse the phrase

"to save his life" = "ton ...psuchen autou sosai" ....= ................................."the... life ........your...to save" = to preserve his life, his physical life and the value of it as the rest of the passage indicates to earn a reward when Christ comes again. Notice that since salvation is not a reward but a gift, (Eph 2:8-9, Ro 3:23-24), then something other than salvation is in view in this passage.

"but whoever loses his life for Me will find it" = Notice that Eternal Life vs the Lake of Fire cannot be in view here because losing one's life for Christ results in finding it. What is in view is finding one's life, i.e., preserving the value of one's life via service to the Lord = becoming a disciple]

(v. 26) What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

[So gaining the whole world is pictured as valueless in some respect: the eternal respect; for worldly gains are only short-lived, temporal. But the value of one's life which is found in serving Christ results in eternal rewards that will last forever]:

(v. 27) For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done."

[Notice that the one who loses, i.e., gives up control of his life by committing it to serving the Lord will preserve his life, i.e., preserve its value in eternity for rewards when the Lord comes again]

3) [Compare Lk 6:9]:

"And Jesus said to them, 'I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil, to save a life, ["psucheu"] or to destroy it?"

The word for physical - soulish life in Luke 6:9 - "psucheu" - is the same root word that is translated as "souls" in Jas 1:21, ("psuchas").

Compare also Mk 3:4: same word "psucheu" translated in Mark as one's physical - soulish life.

So James tells fellow believers in Jas 1:21 to put aside all immoral behavior and obey God's word "which [God's Word] is able to save your soul." [with the result that one's physical life is preserved from premature death]. He refers to saving one's life relative to physical death, to rewards in heaven and to the true value of one's soul - one's physical life - to God on earth....instead of wasting one's life on earth with the temporal, immoral or trivial which have a devastating effect on the quality of one's life in eternity.

999

[Joseph C. Dillow, 'The Reign of the Servant Kings', 1992, Schoettle Publishing, Miami Springs, Fl, p. 118]:

"[Jas 2:14]:

'What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?'

The form of the question requires a negative answer. No, faith without works cannot save! If salvation in James refers to final deliverance from hell, only with difficulty can he be broght into harmony with Paul, a harmony at the expense of the plain meaning of the text. Works clearly ARE a condition of salvation according to James. But what is the content of that salvation?

James takes us back to the teaching of his Master in 1:21 when he refers to the saving of our lives. The Greek text reads: 'Humbly accept the implanted word which is able to save your lives [sosai tas psychas humon].' The expression 'save your lives' is the same one used by the Lord Jesus in Mt 16:25. That salvation does require work and self denying service to Christ. But it does not constitute final deliverance from hell. Rather, it involves the preservation of physical life now, a victorious perseverance through trials, and a glorious reward for our faithful service in the future (Clause 4 above in Mt 16:25).

There is nothing here about a 'saving faith' and one that does not save in the sense of final deliverance from hell. There is no perseverance in holiness taught. Nowhere does James tell us that works are the inevitable result of the faith that delivers from hell, nowhere, unless salvation means deliverance from hell. But then, if it does, James is teaching salvation by works!"

E) "SAVED" COULD NOT REFER TO SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE THE CONDITIONS GIVEN IN ORDER TO BE SAVED IN JAMES CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO ARE NOT THE CONDITION OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE TO MEET FOR RECEIVING ETERNAL LIFE

1) [Jas 1:18-21]:

(v. 18) "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth [i.e., begat us] by the Word of truth, so that we might be as it were the first fruits among His creatures.

(v. 19) This you know, my beloved brethren, [believers] let every man [let every believer] be quick to hear, [be a ready listener] slow to speak, slow to anger;

(v. 20) for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

(v. 21) Therefore [you believers] put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in a humble spirit receive the word [which] implanted [in your heart] is able to save your souls."

James 1:18-21 is definitely not a salvation passage. The two conditions given:

(1) Not leading a sinful lifestyle and

(2) Obeying what God says in His Word relative to a righteous lifestyle are repeatedly given in Scripture as conditions for believers to meet for discipleship & not for unbelievers to satisfy in order to be saved.

James and all the authors of Scripture call upon believers to please God, to avoid temporal discipline and to lay up treasure in heaven not for salvation but as an expression of what God has done for them through His Son, (compare Acts 20:27-38; Ro 12:9-15; 1 Cor 9:24-27; 2 Cor 5:9-10; Eph 4:17-31; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:21-36; Titus 3:1-8; Heb 13:1-9; Jas 5:7-12; I Pet 1:13-16; 2:1-2).

F) SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT IN VIEW BECAUSE JAMES IS ADDRESSING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ALREADY SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

James must also be writing to believers in Jas 1:19-21 because it says in verse #18 that God's Word is in believers because they have been begotten of God, i.e., saved unto eternal life:

(v. 18) "The exercise of His will He brought us forth [i.e., begat us] by the Word of truth, so that we might be as it were the first fruits among His creatures." ?

"He brought us forth" = "apekuesen" = 'rebirthed us' = 'He, God, rebirthed us spiritually by the Word of truth' = the gospel of salvation so that we believers might be the "firstfruits among all creatures" = which refers to believers only as the firstfruits of all creation, (cp. Ro 8:23).

And verse 21 describes the "implanted word" as completely natural to the individual - which can only be true of born again believers. This of course cannot be true of unsaved people, (compare I Cor 2:14; Ro 8:7-8).

G) CONCLUSION: THE KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING JAMES' LETTER:

1) IT IS EXHORTING BELIEVERS TO SERVE GOD IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE LENGTH OF THEIR PHYSICAL LIVES AND THE VALUE OF THEIR LIVES FOR ETERNITY

The key to understanding James' letter is understanding that James is saying that believers are to serve God and not instead serve themselves or the world. James is telling fellow believers in Jas 1:18-21 that they must give up their sinful lifestyles and start obeying God's Word in order to save themselves from prematurely losing their lives on earth - from physical death which includes the cutting short of the time the soul spends on earth in the physical body doing the Lord's work. For the soul departs from the body upon physical death.

2) IF NOTHING OF VALUE IS PRODUCED THEN A WORTHLESS UNSAVABLE UNHAPPY LIFE IS THE RESULT TO THE POSSIBLE EXTENT OF PREMATURE DEATH & NO REWARDS AND WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH IN CONTEMPLATION OF SUCH GREAT LOSS IN HEAVEN

If nothing of value was produced by that soul while in the physical body due to a sinful lifestyle then that soul has wasted himself and will have nothing to show for his time on earth - his life will have been worthless.

a) [Compare 1 Cor 3:12-15]

(v. 12) "If any man builds on this foundation [of Jesus Christ, his salvation, (v. 11)] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

(v. 13) his work [i.e., his life] will be shown for what it is, because the Day [of judgment] will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work [i.e., his life].

(v. 14) If what he has built survives [i.e., if the value of his life is saved], he will receive his reward.

(v. 15) If it [the value of his life] is burned up [i.e., not saved], he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

So nothing the unfaithful believer did will be saved in heaven for all eternity! Compare other passages which deal with the subject of the premature physical death of a believer due to a persistently sinful life, a life without much divine good production:

b) [1 Cor 11:28-30]:

A believer dies physically because he violates the sharing in the Lord's supper with serious, unconfessed, mental attitude sin.

c) [1 Jn 5:16]:

The sin that leads to physical death in a believer is indicated as a truth from God's Word.

d) [Lev 10:1-2]:

Aaron's sons Nadab & Abihu die immediately of their sin before the altar of the Lord.

e) [Acts 5:1-11]:

A husband and his wife physically die due to sin.

Although immediate death of believers due to sin is not the norm, Scripture warns that sin will cut a life short:

f) [Ez 18:4, 20]:

The soul that sins shall (physically) die, "nephesh" = soul, the invisible & immaterial life principle of a living being. Compare Gen 2:7.

g) [Pr 3:1-3]:

"My son, do not forget my [Solomon's] teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life, And peace they will add to you."

h) [Pr 10:27]:

The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

i) [Pr 11:19]:

The truly righteous man, (the believer who stays in fellowship with the Lord), attains (longer physical) life, but he who pursues evil, (could be believer or unbeliever), goes to his (physical) death (before his time).

j) [Pr 14:27]:

"The fear [reverent awesome respect] of the Lord is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death."

["snares" = those traps, i.e., lures which hasten physical death]

k) [Jas 1:15]:

Sin when it is full grown in the believer brings forth physical death.

l) [Jas 5:18-20]:

The believer who enables another believer who is leading a sinful lifestyle to turn his life around will save that sinful believer's soul, i.e., save his physical life. Note: soul = "psuchen" = physical life. See notes on previous page under Jas 1:18-21.

There is much to be said for the longer and better quality of life due to the inner peace and joy which obedience to God's Word brings verses the life-shortening and life depreciating value of turmoil, guilt, bitterness, anger, arrogance and lack of peace which disobedience to God's Word brings. Heaven will be filled with severely disappointed - even grieving - premature arrivals of unfaithful believers who will be weeping and gnashing their teeth for a season due to the realization of their loss of rewards and lesser relationship with Jesus Christ for the rest of eternity, (cp. Mt. 8:12; 22:1-14) {short description of image}. This will be due to their unfaithful lifestyle on earth.

So all of the exhortation James does to his readers to not lead an unfaithful lifestyle is directed exclusively toward believers who by definition are secure in their eternal life and not to unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot live a godly lifestyle because they cannot please God, they are slaves to sin, (Ro 6:20; 8:8), and do not have the capacity to repent from an ungodly lifestyle, get water baptized in a manner that is acceptable to God, clean up their lives and perform divine good service, (Ro 8:5-8). They first must be saved unto eternal life and thereby indwelt with Divine Capacity for Good: the Holy Spirit, (Eph 2:8-10; 1:13-14). Therefore author James' appeal in chapter 2 of his epistle must be to fellow "brethren" - to fellow believers. Furthermore, since the destiny of every believer is eternal life - heaven no matter what,

(ref. Jn 5:24, 6:47; 10:27-30; Ro 8:1; Jas 1:18; Eph 4:30; 1 Jn 5:9-13),

then James cannot be referring to eternal damnation - death in hell as a result of an unfaithful lifestyle. He is not referring to a lack of or loss of salvation to eternal life but to saving oneself from a premature physical death. God the Holy Spirit is consistent and truthful in the books of the Bible; James could not contradict Paul's statement to the Philippian jailer when the jailer asks, 'How do I go to heaven?' with Paul's answer reflecting faith alone in Christ alone: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.", (Acts 16:30-31). All of the authors of Scripture teach that salvation is by a grace gift operation through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. God is totally and exclusively sovereign in His work of salvation in each of us. We contribute nothing.

Compare each of the following passages which teach that salvation is a grace gift operation by faith alone in God's plan of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ:

AUTHOR PASSAGE

Paul Ro 1:16; 4:1-17; Eph 2:8-9.

John Jn 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 20:31; 1 Jn 5:9- 13.

Peter 1 Pet 1:5

Matt. Mt 10:32; 19:16- 25

Mark Mk 1:14-15

Luke Lk 18:18-27; Acts 16:30-31

Acts 2:21 & Ro 10:13- 14* Acts 2:38

James Jas 1:17-18 & Jn 3:3**

Jas 2:23 & Gen 15:6***

Isaiah Isa 28:16; 53:4- 12

Moses Gen 15:4-6 & Ro 4:1-5 Gen 4:3-5 & Heb 11:4 Gen 5:22-24 & Heb 11:5-6 Gen 6:14-22 & Heb 11:7

David Ps 32:1-2 & Ro 4:6-8

Ezekial Ez 36:26-27

Heb Heb chapter 1

Acts 2:21 = compare Ro 10:13-14 where calling on the name of the Lord is defined as believing in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved unto eternal life.

*In Jas 1:17-18 the Greek word which is translated "from above" = "anothen" is exactly the same word which John uses when he tells Nicodemus:

m) [Jn 3:3]:

"....no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again

["born again" = "anothen" = literally = 'born from above"]

The word "again" = "anothen" = literally, 'from above' which indicates that in order to have eternal life it is totally and exclusively God's grace gift operation = from heaven, i.e., from above. Nothing from below, from man, will do. One can only trust in this grace gift operation since God has done it all and permits no contribution, (Ro 11:5-6).

***Jas 2:23 = Abraham is saved by faith alone in God's plan of salvation through Abraham's Seed, Christ, alone, (cp. Gal 3:16).

What James is dealing with in his letter is the problem of a Christian not living up to the doctrinal principles that he knows. The result is that a Christian who does that will waste his life, not in terms of salvation, but in terms of storing treasures in heaven. An inactive and out-of-fellowship lifestyle produces nothing of value for the kingdom of God! Merely professing faith in Jesus Christ as a believer and having enthusiasm for Bible doctrine is NOT ENOUGH to give a believer an enriched eternity. A believer's enriched eternity is a direct result of his obedience to doctrine, (God's Word), and the accompanying production of divine good works through the filling, i.e., the obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, (Eph 5:15-21).

3) THE WORDS SAVED & SALVATION IN THE BIBLE MORE OFTEN REFER TO SALVATION FROM PHYSICAL DEATH, DISEASE & VARIOUS TEMPORAL DIFFICULTIES AS THEY DO IN JAMES

Bob Wilkin states, ('The Grace Evangelical Society News', Sept-Oct '94 issue, 'Can Faith Without Works Save?', pp. 2-3):

"About half of the NT uses of the words save and salvation refer to salvation from physical death, from disease, and from various temporal difficulties........

The word save occurs five times in James (1:21; 2:14; 4:12; 5:15, 20). In none of the four uses outside of our passage [Jas 2:14] is eternal salvation in view.......

So when faith is divorced from works, its power is gone. Faith comes alive as we do good works. Faith dies when we fail to do good works...... James is warning believers to put their faith to work so that they don't experience the painful consequences of sin."

VII cont.) [Jas 2:14 cont.]:

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?"

H) SUMMARY OF VERSE 14: IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING ANALYSIS, LET'S SUMMARIZE VERSE 14

1) 'CAN THE ONE TIME SAVING FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE OF A BELIEVER KEEP HIM FROM A PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH AND A SAVING OF HIS LIFE'S VALUE FOR ALL ETERNITY IF HE DOES NOTHING FOR THE LORD ALL HIS LIFE?' ANSWER: NO!

2) NO MORE THAN CAN THE ONE TIME SAVING FAITH OF A BELIEVER KEEP HIM FROM A PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH IF HE LEADS A LIFE OF CONTINUOUS SIN, (Jas 1:15, 21).

VIII) [Jas 2:15-16]:

(v. 15) "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

(v. 16) and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled'; and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body; what use is that?"

A) OF WHAT USE IS YOUR FAITH FOR EXAMPLE IF YOU DO NOT HELP A BROTHER OR SISTER IN NEED?

Here's a Christian who believes that clothing and food is truly needed and yet does nothing to help. This Christian's lack of observance of his beliefs is not producing the fruit of love and compassion that God commands, (Gal 5:22-23). James is saying, 'What good is that kind of faith relative to being an ambassador of Jesus Christ and to receiving rewards in heaven? Do you think that God is going to bless you and honor you and prosper you on earth and in heaven for that kind of faith?' These two verses in James speak of an example of faith without works which is described as dead - worthless in the next verse in this passage]:

IX) [Jas 2:17]:

(v. 17) "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."

A) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD = USELESS RELATIVE TO THE EFFECTIVENESS AND GODLY VALUE OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE

Without obedience - without observance - without works, faith is dead, useless to one's ambassadorship and useless in earning rewards in heaven. A man who has saving faith, (and therefore is secure in his eternal destiny in heaven, Eph 1:13-14, 4:30), but has no works; has a faith which is DEAD! His faith is of no value to man and he is temporally out of fellowship with God, (temporally dead, ref. Eph 5:14), until he deals with his sin before a Holy and Righteous God, beginning with confession, (compare 1 Jn 1:5-10). He is under God's discipline, (not condemnation of eternal judgment, cp. Heb 12:5-11); until he gets back into fellowship with God and begins to perform the divine good works which God prepared beforehand for him to do, (Eph 2:10). The word "dead" in Scripture does not mean annihilated or nonexistent or ceasing to exist - or never existed. It does mean useless, of no value, unable to perform, separated from God and His righteousness.

Compare Ephesians 5:1-14 {short description of image} which defines the situation of a believer who is not walking in fellowship - who has a dead, useless faith which is not producing work for the Lord and is even involved in a lifestyle of sin. That believer is considered 'dead' by God in this passage in the sense of being totally inactive and useless and dead to God. That believer is spoken of in this passage as being physically alive, having the capacity to "wake up" from being asleep - from being dead and useless to God in the sense of not living for Christ.

1) [Eph 5:14b]:

"Wake up, O sleeper, Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 62-63]:

"Such idle words are as dead (ineffectual) as a non-working faith! So James says, Thus also faith by itself, it does not have works, is dead.

It needs to be carefully considered why James chose the term dead to describe a faith that is not working. Yet the moment we relate this term to the plainly expressed concept of 'saving the life' (1:21), everything becomes clear. The issue that concerns James is an issue of life or death. Can a faith that is dead save the Christian from [an early physical] death? The question answers itself. The choice of the adjective dead is perfectly suited to James's argument. Just as the idle words of some ungenerous believer cannot save his brother from death in the absence of life's necessities, no more can a non-working faith save our lives from the death-dealing consequences of sin. For that purpose faith is sterile and ineffective by itself, because it cannot accomplish the needed result.

Commentators often deal with the word dead very simplistically. As a metaphor, dead is often treated as though it could refer to nothing other than the death/life terminology employed to describe salvation from hell. But every linguist knows that 'death' and 'deadness' are concepts that have given rise to numerous and diverse metaphors in nearly every language. English itself has many ('this law's a dead letter,' 'you're dead wrong,' 'he's dead drunk,' 'he's a dead duck,' 'that idea is dead,' 'they navigated by dead reckoning,' etc.). So also the Greek language (and the NT itself) abounds in such metaphors. Thus, in Romans alone, Paul can call Abraham's body dead while it was still alive, and can attribute 'deadness' to Sarah's barren womb (Rom 4:19). He can say that apart from the law was [or is] dead (Rom 7:8); although sin can be quite active apart from the law: Rom 5:13), and then declare that sin revived and I died (Rom 7:9). So too the Christian's body, in which the Spirit dwells, can be described as dead (Rom 8:10), although the Christian himself is regenerated. The complexity in Paul's use of the term dead is clearly evident from these texts. A concordance study will yield examples in other parts of the NT as well (e.g., Luke 15:24, 32; Heb 6:1; 9:14; Rev 3:1). It is simply wrong to think that James's metaphor about 'dead faith' can have only one meaning, i.e., a soteriological one [i.e., re: salvation unto eternal life]. To claim this is to beg the question.

So, when faith is described as dead in James 2, this can easily be understood in context as meaning that (for the purpose being considered) faith is sterile, ineffectual, or unproductive."

B) BUT THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES AND A RISK FOR A BELIEVER BEING FAITHFUL IN HIS WORKS

It is a Christian's obligation - his duty - to provide for the legitimate needs of his brethren, not just to pray for another brother, but to take out of what he has and share with others - share his material possessions - his food, shelter, clothing, money, his spiritual possessions: his spiritual gifts and knowledge of God's Word. He is to risk explaining God's Word - to risk defending God's Word in the world, (cp. Jude 3, Phil 1:27-28). There is a risk in doing that: censure by others; being insulted; being called arrogant; being isolated because fellow brothers in Christ do not wish to stand with you in your defense of the gospel; even being terminated from your job; and in the not so distant future: being physically tortured and killed. Today it is relatively easy to stand up for the truths in God's Word. Today, most Christians actually remain silent - earn few rewards - and condemn obedient believers for showing their love for the Lord and being open about what they believe, often ending up in heaven before their allotted time. The faithful believer is often falsely condemned for being 'pushy', or divisive or out of line in some other way with their witness for Christ by others. This condemnation usually comes from the side of professing believers and not unbelievers.

X) AT THIS POINT LET US MAKE A FEW SUMMARY STATEMENTS ABOUT THE BOOK OF JAMES BEFORE GOING ON TO VERSES 18-19:

At this point let us make a few summary statements about the book of James before going on to verses 18-19:

A) James is talking to eternally secure Christians. He is warning them of the consequences of an unproductive Christian life: a shorter life on earth and nothing to be saved in heaven relative to eternal rewards.

B) He is recognizing that Christians have a sin nature & that they perform evil. It is evil, James says, for example to NOT help another when the capacity & the means are there.

C) Christians are to be productive in their lives with divine good works - those works which God specifically ordained for each child of His to perform. They are not to substitute rituality, religiosity or churchianity for their real responsibility.

D) James uses the word "dead" to describe a Christian's faith in Christ which is unproductive of divine good service. Comparison is later made to a physically dead person who obviously is totally unproductive and inactive. So faith without works is dead.

E) James is not talking about adding good works to one's faith to attain salvation.

F) James is not saying if one does not show good works then one cannot be saved.

XI) [Jas 2:18-19]:

(v. 18) '''But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

(v. 19) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.'''

"But someone will say" =

A) JAMES NOW ANSWERS THE OBJECTIONS OF BELIEVERS WHO RESIST THE PRINCIPLE OF WORKS BEING REQUIRED TO KEEP ONES FAITH ALIVE

James does not expect that his words will go unchallenged among his readers. Even in Christians, the impulse to excuse or cover our failures is strong. So James anticipates his readers' excuse by introducing the words of an imaginary objector.

So James now uses a very effective and ancient technique of presenting an opposing argument from an imaginary objector so that he can further bring out the truth in God's Word and combat an opposing and erroneous point of view that many of his readers are likely to have in their minds, (cp. Ro 9:19-20; 1 Cor 15:35-36). This objector most likely is a believer: since James indicates often in his letter that he is addressing believers - "brethren".

For James in these next few verses to raise a side issue which relates to an unbeliever's point of view would not serve the overall purpose of his letter. A side issue such as this would only serve to confuse the main thrust of James' letter which is to urge the brethren to walk in fellowship with God and perform divine good works.

XI cont.) [Jas 2:18-19 cont.]:

(v. 18) "But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith from your works, and I will show you, from my faith, my works.

(v. 19) [Then Mr. Someone continues with an example which in his mind proves out the supposed impossibility of the above two statements which he just made above]:

"You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear"

B) THE OBJECTOR FALSELY MAINTAINS THAT FAITH AND WORKS ARE NOT CONNECTED

"But someone may well say,..." = But some skeptical objector will counter what is being taught by James about works proceeding from faith in order to validate that faith to mankind as alive and useful.

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 64-65]:

In vv 18-19, the specific literary format James uses was familiar from the Greek diatribe, which was a learned and argumentative form of discourse... Words such as James's But someone will say (v. 18) are used to introduce the objection and, when the objection has been stated, a sharp rejoinder is begun with words like James's But do you want to know, O foolish man (v. 20). As David's (Commentary, p. 126) notes: "The address 'O foolish person' is part of the strong, direct style of the diatribe (...cf. Hermas Vis[ions] 3.8.9; Epict[etus] 2.16.31-32)." Precisely the format we are discussing in James occurs also in Paul at Rom 9:19-20 and in 1 Cor 15:35-36. Note as well in 4 Maccabees 2:24-3:1, the objection: "How is it then, one might say, that..." and the reply: "This notion is entirely ridiculous..." (RSV).'''

XI cont.) [Jas 2:18-19 cont.]:

(v. 18) "But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith from your works, and I will show you, from my works, my faith.

(v. 19) [Then Mr. Someone continues with an example which in his mind proves out the supposed impossibility of the above two statements which he just made above]:

'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' "

"But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works" = Mr. Someone's - Mr. Objector's - point which he makes in verse 18 is to say, 'Oh, you've got your faith over there and I have my deeds over here; the two aren't connected. The deeds that I do don't prove out any faith that I might have nor do the works you do indicate the kind of faith that you have.'

"show me your faith from your works, and I will show you, from my works, my faith" =

"deixon moi ton pistin sou .....ek .....ton ergon sou

"show ...me .the faith ..your ..from .the works your

kago .deixo ......soi ..ek ....ton ergon mou ton pistin mou

and I will show you from the works my ..the faith ..my

Most translations accept "choris" in lieu of "ek" in the first phrase of v. 18. But consider that most manuscripts do have "ek" in this phrase rather than "choris" - a fact that opens up the possibility that "ek" is the correct rendering.

Furthermore, a translation of "without", ("choris") and then "by", ("ek"), as follows:

"Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

necessitates that the author James be the one who is 'speaking' since it is he who maintains that works do indeed have a significance in showing what one believes and not the objector. But this makes verses 18 & 19 bounce back and forth awkwardly between the objector then James then the objector - a change of 'speaker' three times creating a confusing discourse, and not conforming to the customary pattern of this literary device of the objector. This pattern is one of presenting the objector's case fully and then the author answering it fully - one presentation for each.

Verse 18 reads much better and validates the correct use of the preposition "ek" if the entire verse is attributed to the Objector via the rendering of "ek" as it appears in the majority of manuscripts as rendered as follows:

"Show me your faith from your works, and I will show you, from my works, my faith." = Thus the objector is saying in a sarcastic way, 'Show me what kind of faith you have from what you do [which the objector maintains is really not possible] and I'll show you from what I what I do, what I believe in, [which is maintained as equally impossible].

So, Mr. Objector says to James, 'You say that faith and works are connected - that faith without works is a dead faith. I don't think so. Show me the kind of faith you have from what you do, which is impossible to determine - the two are not connected; and if you can, (and I know you cannot), then I will show you from what I do what I believe in.'

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 64-65]:

'''The exact extent and meaning of the objector's words have long been a problem to commentators. The NJKV follows a common understanding in its punctuation of vv 18-19. The words, You have faith and I have works, are enclosed in quotation marks by NKJV and this signals that these words alone are taken as the words of an objector. (What they are an objection to has puzzled the commentators.) The remaining words of v 18 and those of v 19 are taken by NKJV as the reply of James, though it is by no means clear how they answer the words attributed to the objector. But all punctuation in our English Bibles is the work of editors, since the original manuscript of James would probably have had little or none. We wish to maintain that the text is only correctly understood when the entirety of vv 18-19 (starting with, You have faith) is assigned to the objector and none of it assigned to James....

The view of many writers that James's reply has to begin at v 18b ignores the manifest structural signals of James's text, and these writers have failed to produce any comparable text in the relevant literature. This writer regards it as certain that the objector's words extend to the end of v 19.

But what does the objection mean? Since most Greek manuscripts read the word "by" (ek) in place of the familiar word "without" (choris) in v 18, we prefer the reading "by" here....

The objector's statement may then be given as follows, retaining the Greek word order more exactly than does the NKJV:

"But someone will say:

'You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith from [ek] your works, and I will show you, from [ek] my works, my faith....'

The argument which these words express appears to be a reductio ad absurdum (reducing someone's claims to absurdity). It is heavy with irony. 'It is absurd,' says the objector, 'to see a close connection between faith and works. For the sake of argument, let's say you have faith and I have works. Let's start there. You can no more start with what you believe and show it to me in your works, than I can start with my works and demonstrate what it is that I believe.' The objector is confident that both tasks are impossible.'''

XI cont.) Jas 2:18-19 cont.]:

(v. 18) "But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith from your works, and I will show you, from my faith, my works.

(v. 19) [Then Mr. Someone continues with an example which in his mind proves out the supposed impossibility of the above two statements which he just made above]

'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' "

C) THE OBJECTOR MAINTAINS THAT THERE IS NO OBLIGATION FOR A BELIEVER TO DO GOOD WORKS TO VALIDATE HIS FAITH WITH MEN AND HE POINTS TO THE DEMONS TO PROVE IT

" 'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' " =

Some attribute this verse to James and not to the objector, but James does not say this - the Objector, 'Mr. Someone' does. The Objector in verse 19 makes a misguided attempt to build a case for not doing works. James wouldn't say this because he is on the side of works being performed by the believer in addition to faith.

So it is Mr. Someone - Mr. Objector who says, 'You do believe that there is one God - you believe in monotheism, don't you? Well, you do well.' Recall that most of James' readership is Jewish which is intensely monotheistic. Mr. Someone goes on to say, 'But the demons also believe in one God and look at their actions - totally the opposite from you, they shudder in fear like a bristling dog.' So Mr. Someone is saying that what an individual does proves nothing about what he believes. Mr. Someone maintains that works shed no light on the content of one's faith much less validate that faith. Therefore, Mr. Someone maintains that there is no obligation for a believer to do good works to validate his faith with men.

D) BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE REBELLIOUS AND EVIL BEHAVIOR OF THE DEMONS DOES NOT CONTRADICT WHAT THE DEMONS TRULY BELIEVE. THEY BELIEVE IN ONE GOD BUT ALSO BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN BECOME LIKE GOD

Notice that the imaginary objector rebuts author James by coming up with the absurd example that although the Christian and the demons both believe in one God, they don't act the same so works are irrelevant. This is indeed an absurdity because believing that there is one God does not necessarily include believing that He is sovereign over one's life, nor does it make one a Christian, (especially demons, ref. Heb 2:14), nor does it enable one to do good works. One may believe in one God but not trust that He is in fact sovereign over one's life as the demons do not; hence one may decide one can behave any way one wants to and not be held accountable to God for what one does and act just like the demons do. On the other hand if one believed in one God and in His sovereignty over one's life, i.e., that one was accountable for what one did, then there certainly would be a different behavior pattern.

The truth of the matter is that the rebellious and evil behavior of the demons does not contradict what the demons truly believe in. They believe there is one God and tremble in fear but they also do not believe in Him as their God and worship Him. Their behavior actually does reflect their state of evil rebellion and what they actually believe. Yes, they do believe in one God but they also believe that they can become like God, usurp His authority and become gods themselves, (Isa 14:12-14). They do not believe in Him as their God and worship Him nor trust in Christ for their personal salvation - which offer was never provided for nor made to angelic beings in the first place. They slander against God and man. Their murderous, lying and evil ways accurately reflect their rebellious belief system, (Jn 8:44; 1 Tim 4:1; Mt 12:45).

Dr. Zane Hodges paraphrased verse 19 in this way:

[v. 19] "Oh I know that you'll claim that your faith in the unity of God is demonstrated by your conduct, I disallow that claim: for the demons also believe the same thing you believe and they don't do good, they only tremble....'

The objector, 'Mr. Someone', in this case is one who is not motivated to do works and sees no value in performing good works because he says that there are all kinds of people out there who do all kinds of deeds, some good deeds and some evil. Some of these people have faith and some don't.

Dr. John Danish, (Berean Tape Ministry, Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Tx), in one of his taped teaching sermons stated: "Mr. 'Someone' maintains that what a man does in the way of good deeds is not a measure of his faith. He says that you cannot take your works and show what you believe, nor can you take what you believe and show it by some action. The objector rejects James' claim that there is a dynamic, (active), relationship between faith and works in a Christian's life. This objector then supports his argument with a statement about monotheism, he says: 'Let me give you an example, how about monotheism? Are you trying to tell me that because you believe in monotheism, i.e., one God, that you're going to act in a certain way? The demons believe in monotheism and they don't act right, they're only afraid of God, they're fearful of His authority.' So the objector then says, 'Don't tell me that because you believe something you are going to behave in a certain way.' The objecting believer is maintaining his position by the argument that there is no close connection between one's faith in God and one's works. He goes so far as to say, 'Men and demons believe that there is only one God, and yet what does that belief produce? The same reaction? Nope! Different reactions: the demons shudder in fear but they do not subject themselves to God; but the believer [faithful Christian] subjects himself in the opposite manner: joyfully. The same belief but their works, their expressions are totally different. So [Mr. Someone says that] you can't prove anything by how you live and how you act.' "

The objector equates belief in the fact that there is one God which demons express and as a result tremble, with belief by Christians in God's sovereign and exclusive plan of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. The demonic world, however, does not believe in God's total and exclusive sovereignty over them in any way, especially relative to their eternal residence in heaven. The demons reflect this rejection of God's sovereignty by their rebellious and evil behavior. They may shudder when confronted with God's awesome power, but they also believe they can become like God themselves, (Isa 14:12-14). So the demons don't believe the same way as Christians do and their actions certainly show it!

E) THE TRUE VALUE OF A PERSON'S LIFE - WHAT HE DOES WITH IT - INEVITABLY PROVES OUT WHAT HE BELIEVES

The true value of a person's life - the accounting of his deeds, especially in the long term, actually does prove out what one believes - where his faith is placed - where one's heart is. In the short term this may not be readily discernible. Nor would this be understood by those who have no divine viewpoint wisdom, (which is obtained only by a believer through study and obedience to Scripture). But God's Word indicates that a man's life will truly reflect who and what he places his faith in:

1) [Pr 23:7a]:

"For as he [a man] thinks within himself, so he is."

2) [Pr 27:19]

"As in water face reflects,

So the heart of man reflects man."

3) [Mt 6:21]:

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

[Examine what a person does with his life - what he accumulates and what he spends time doing, talking and thinking about - and there you will find a reflection of his system of beliefs]

4) [Mt 12:34a]:

"For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."

[Where one's faith is placed will be evident in what one's lifestyle is like - in what one thinks, says and does. Even false profession is eventually proved out to be false and what one truly believes comes to the forefront over time, (Mt 7:15-23).

F) OBJECTORS TO FREE GRACE SALVATION INSIST THAT THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF FAITH NOT BEING ENOUGH OR NOT BEING A TRUE FAITH TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE - YOU MUST ALSO HAVE WORKS - IS TAUGHT IN VERSE 19

[Professor John F. Hart, Moody Bible Institute, states, ('The Faith of Demons: James 2:19', Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 1995, Vol., 8:15), http://155.229.51.114/Grace/journal/1995ii/Hart.html]:

"An appeal is made to James 2 as final confirmation that genuine saving faith must produce consistent good works, otherwise such a 'faith' is obviously spurious. While other passages are cited as confirming this theology, James 2 is given preeminence...

A natural reading of the epistle fails to uncover hints that a genuine Christian faith will by its very nature produce ongoing good works...

Hodges writes,

[Absolutely Free! A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation (Dallas: Redencion Viva, 1989), p. 215]

'We must add that there is no need to quarrel with the Reformers' view that where there is justifying faith, works will undoubtedly exist too [italics added]. This is a reasonable assumption for any Christian unless he has been converted on his death bed! But it is quite wrong to claim that a life of dedicated obedience is guaranteed by regeneration, or even that such works as there are must be visible to a human observer. God alone may be able to detect the fruits of regeneration in some of His children' ...

...Whenever it is argued that faith is more than a mere intellectual assent (i.e., that faith must also include surrender/commitment to the Lordship of Christ), reference is hastily made to the demons' faith mentioned in v 19....

...[The] interlocutory [conversational] style [of vv. 18-19] resembles the dialogical Greek diatribe and everywhere the words that follow it contain the comments of an objector...

Scholars are agreed that the introductory formula cannot without violence be taken in any other way than as relaying the view of an interlocutor. Evidence is abundant, including 1 Cor 15:35; Rom 9:19; 11:19; Luke 4:23; Jos. J.W. 2.365; 3.367 4 mAC 2:24; Barn. 9:6; Xen. Cyr. 4.3.10....

...It is generally thought that the faith of the demons forms a challenge to the objector of 2:18 'to recognize the true nature of an orthodox faith that is inoperative.' Three primary objections can be raised against the supposition that Jas 2:19 proves that true faith involves commitment, works, or some element beyond mental assent (i.e., faith in propositional truth).

First, the content of faith in the passage is not soteriological. It is regularly identified that the statement 'You believe that God is one; the demons also believe...' is monotheist and thoroughly Jewish. But no evangelical theologian purports that any individual is ever redeemed by any kind of faith in the oneness of God. What is clear is the fact that 'precisely the unique content of the Christian faith is not represented here.'...

In other words, the text does not say that the demons believe in Christ as Savior, or even that they believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. Those who use the illustration of the demons' faith to prove the existence of a false intellectual faith that does not redeem, are 'comparing apples with oranges.' Therefore, it is pressing the case too far to find in this passage an example of the kind of false faith that is inadequate to regenerate because it fails to produce consistent works. This argument has no clear value.

...A second major objection to the traditional proof texting of 2:19 is this: No faith the demons have can be compared with faith that people have. Even if the text read, 'You believe that Jesus is the Christ [cf. John 20:31]:... The demons also believe...,' an inadequacy in comparison would still be evident. Although the words for 'faith' are never used elsewhere for the response of demons, it is true that in the Gospels the demons know that Jesus is the Son of God (Matt 8:29).

[Notice however that knowing, even believing that Jesus is the Son of God is not the same as believing that He is the Christ, which means according to Scripture that He is one's Personal Savior as a human being from sin as Scripture assigns to the name Christ = the anointed One Who will save His people, (not demons), from their sins, (ref. Mt 1:21; Dan 9:24-26; Jn 4:25; Jn 3:16; Isa 53).]

...They even yield to his Lordship (Mark 1:24; 5:7; Matt 8:29-30).

[Notice that this yielding is not the norm but simply an isolated event. Scripture indicates that demons for the most part are rebellious, evil and seek to undermine our Lord's Sovereignty and usurp it for themselves, (Ref. Isa 14:12-14; Jn 8:44; 1 Tim 4:1; Mt 12:45)]

Nevertheless, if demons had faith in Christ, i.e., if they trusted in His sacrifice for their redemption, they would not be born again. It would not matter whether the faith was intellectual assent or full surrender. There simply is no redemption for the demons (Heb 2:14). On the other hand, whenever a person trusts in Christ solely as his sinbearer, he is forensically justified [Ro 3:21-24]. In regard to eternal salvation, demons and people cannot be compared. The faith of demons cannot and should not be compared with the faith of human beings.

Yet a third consideration demands our attention in 2:19. We have in the words all' erei tis ('But someone will say') the obvious introduction of an objector. But what follows seems to be a reversal of what we might expect: James is said to have faith while the objector claims to have works...

the solution may be found by discovering how far the objector's words extend. Hodges perceptively asks, 'Is it possible that the exegetical difficulties involved here are actually due to a failure to read all the objector's words?' [italics original]...

...As we have already concluded, the phrase, 'But someone will say,' undoubtedly contains a standard formula for introducing an objection. Hodges expresses the opinion that o anthrope kene ('You foolish man') can be best understood as James's response to the objector, whose words carry through two verses (2:18-19), not one...

Convincing support for this conclusion is found in the similar biblical parallels in 1 Cor 15:36 and Rom 9:19 where the rebuttals commence with a rebuking appellative strikingly parallel to Jas 2:20....

Jas 2:18-20 1 Cor 15:35-36 Rom 9:19-20
Introductory Formula But someone may well say But someone will say, You will say to me then,
Objector's Words You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith from your works, and I will show from my faith, my works. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder. How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come? Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?
Apostle's Response But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies... On the contrary , who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the Molder, Why did You make me like this, will it?

As can be seen in the chart, in both of the Pauline texts the rejoinder to the imaginary objector begins with a pronouncement of the man's foolishness. But in James, the remark about the objector's folly comes at the beginning of verse 20, not in verse 18 or 19. These parallel stylistic structures make it nearly impossible to take the text in any other way than that 2:18-19 is a complete unit... the entire words of an opponent to James. Although secular literature can also be cited with the same stylistic blueprint, the biblical pattern is convincing in and of itself....

[There are] two other supports for extending the objector's statement through the end of 2:19:

1) a chiastic structure is found in 2:18-19;

2) the rebuke in verse 20 is so severe that it necessitates more than a briefly stated objection. But added to that is the salient affinity between sy pistin echeis ('you [yourself] have faith') in 2:18 and sy pisteueis (you [yourself] believe') in 2:19, making it all the more likely that both verses come from the mouth of the same person.

What then is the meaning intended by the zealous antagonist? Only a brief answer can be offered here. With the help of textual criticism, the choris ('without') of 18b [as appears in most translations] is best replaced by the superior reading of ek ('by') found in the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus (but omitted from the KJV). The resultant meaning is a challenge by the objector for faith to be demonstrated by works (2:18). His challenge is reflected in the words deixon moi ('Show me') and soi deixo ('I will show you'). The point of the demonstration lies in the supposed impossibility of displaying any works that can prove the existence of faith since [it is alleged that] two disparate 'works' arise from the [alleged] same affirmation of faith. The demons believe there is one God and tremble; James [allegedly] believes the same thing but does good works.

In modern terms, the imaginary objector might have said, 'James, you start with a doctrinal point, and show me what good work proves you believe this. If you can do that, I'll do the reverse. I'll name a good work and show what doctrine must be behind it. It's impossible! For example, James, you believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And you have a monogamous marriage. But the Mormons [allegedly] believe that too [in actuality they do not], and some of them are polygamous. So works can't show us anything about a person's faith. No one can see faith.'

[Note that the objector in this example is also typically not comparing apples with oranges since Mormons do not have the same belief system as Christians do which includes monogamy, so they are not in receipt of the beliefs nor the capacity, (the Holy Spirit), in the first place to do good works such as monogamous marriage, so the conclusion again will not be reliable]

By so arguing, the objector hopes to salvage some value for a verbalized faith. James had stated that both speaking and acting on our faith in the Lord Jesus (2:12 with 2:1) were required of the believer, and that works show us that one's faith is living and vital (2:17). Therefore, works can demonstrate one's faith. The opponent disagrees, speculating that no one can see the vitality of faith by works. The following rebuttal by James is designed to prove that faith was surely visible through the works of Abraham. The only way to see faith is through works; to merely talk our faith is useless to meet practical needs (cf. 2:15-16 where someone speaks but doesn't act). The blepeis ('you [singular] see') in 2:22 is then directed toward the challenge of deixon moi ('Show me,' 2:18) by the objector. The horate ('you see'), now moving to the plural, draws the readership back into the truth that James is stressing."

. . The Starting Point The Challenge Exhibit A Exhibit B
. . . Works Do Not Show Ones Faith James Has Faith and Good Works Demons Have Faith and No Good Works
. . 2:18a 2:18b 2:19a 2:19a
James A-1 Faith You have faith Show me your faith You believe that God is one The demons also believe
. B-1 Works . by your works You do well! and shudder
Objector A-2 Faith and I have works and I will show you from my faith . .
. B-2 Works . my works . .

[Hart, cont.]:

"This study has attempted to establish numerous precautions against using Jas 2:19 as a proof text for the concept and theology of a "false faith." First, any passage that is fraught with such comprehensive exegetical challenges should not be a primary (and perhaps not even a secondary) foundation for a theological superstructure. But this is exactly how Jas 2:19 has been employed by many evangelicals. Those using the verse to promote the existence of a supposed "head faith" over against genuine faith should be more circumspect in their handling of the passage on this ground alone.

CONCLUSION

Further serious caveats have been highlighted. Two factors render the application of demonic faith to earthly living fully inappropriate: 1) The content of faith that the demons are said to possess is not the content of faith for eternal life; and 2) Any possible faith that demons can possess, ...whether it is intellectual assent or full and complete surrender to the Lordship of Christ... cannot gain eternal life for them. There is no redemption for the evil angels. It is illogical to compare faith of the spirit world with faith in the human realm.

Finally, it has been demonstrated that the words of Jas 2:19 are not spoken by James himself. Instead, Jas 2:18-19 as a whole comes from the mouth of the imaginary objector introduced in 2:18a. It should be obvious that if this is the case, evangelicals will need to abandon the use of this verse to establish orthodox definitions of faith. Should we teach as truth that which comes from the mouth of an objector to the apostle James?"

James counters Mr. Someone's argument once more in the next verse:

XII) [Jas 2:20]:

"But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith [saving faith in Christ] without works is useless?"

A) JAMES ANSWERS THE OBJECTOR'S STATEMENT: FAITH WHICH DOES NOT PRODUCE WORKS IS USELESS IN TERMS OF PRESERVING THE LENGTH/VALUE OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE IN ETERNITY, (REWARDS), AND TESTIFYING TO MEN ABOUT OUR LORD WHILE ON EARTH

James here calls the objector foolish because the objector claims that one's works do not indicate something about what one believes. On the other hand, a faith in Christ which does not produce divine good works, James says, is inactive or dead: useless! Scripture says that an inactive faith results in the loss of rewards for believers at the judgment seat of Christ, (cp. I Cor 3:12-15), and a shortening of one's physical life, (Pr 10:27; 11:19; 14:27; Jas 1:15; 5:18-20).

Incidentally, none of this discourse has anything to do with eternal justification unto heaven, i.e., salvation unto eternal life as has previously been established in this study .

James is indicating that it is possible to believe something at some point in time and then not have those beliefs affect your actions. One may even override one's faith in Christ with self-centered belief systems such as 'if it feels good do it' or 'if it seems right in your own mind then go ahead' in spite of a conflict with what God's Word says. Because of the incomprehensible, unsurpassable grace of God one can even discontinue believing in Christ as Savior, having been saved by faith in Christ as Savior at some moment in the past, and still remain saved inspite of a dead faith, (2 Tim 2:13 {short description of image}).

B) JAMES'S ANSWER TO THE OBJECTOR INDICATES THAT FAITH AND WORKS ARE SEPARATE CONCEPTS BUT THEY ARE TO WORK TOGETHER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SUCH THAT THE WORKS VALIDATE ONES FAITH

Notice that verse 18 speaks of faith and works as two separate concepts which are to work together in the Christian life. James does not define faith as including works which some maintain. One does not add works to faith to make faith, it already is faith. When works are added what is produced is simply faith + works. James indicates in numerous places that works can exist without faith and faith can exist without works. That's the point of James' epistle: to exhort Christians to do divine good works. So when a need comes up, faithful believers are indeed to act accordingly as an expression of their mental assent - their faith. James does not indicate that works are a part of faith, he does say, however, that works are to accompany that faith as an ongoing expression and proof of that faith alone in Christ alone unto salvation.

C) CONCLUSION FOR VERSES 18-20:

SALVATION IS STILL NOT IN VIEW. THE LENGTH OF YOUR LIFE, ETERNAL REWARDS AND TESTIMONY ARE. SO FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS INDEED USELESS

After all of this detailed analysis, there may still be some who continue to insist that James is talking about salvation here in this passage. But the answer, author James proves out in the next six verses, is still no. The context makes it clear that works have nothing to do with salvation unto eternal life. James calls the objector's argument foolish in contending that works do not indicate something about one's faith in Christ. He reiterates that saving faith can be useless. How? If it is saving faith it cannot be useless in terms of going to heaven because all that is required by God is a one time expression of faith alone in Christ alone, (Eph 1:13-14, 2:8-9; Jn 3:16). But faith can be useless in terms of rewards in heaven and its value to man on earth if that saving faith wanes and does not energize the believer into doing divine good works, (Eph 2:10; Jas 2:14). James insists that without works the objector's faith is dead and then in the next 6 verses he shows why. The objector is trying to separate faith and works in the Christian experience. James says that this is wrong. You cannot separate what you do from what you believe. (As a man "...thinks in his heart so is he", Pr 23:7). James says that faith without the sustaining energy of good works will die. But the objector foolishly does not want to admit this. Please remember that the objector doesn't prove anything. As a matter of fact his argument about monotheism and the demons demonstrates that his thinking has already drifted far from divine viewpoint. He is just objecting because he doesn't want to hear the truth! He doesn't want to hear that his faith as a Christian, being inactive and unproductive is wasting his life; whereas all these people 'over here' who are using their lives for the production of divine good for the living God are earning enormous rewards in heaven while the objector is not. One might say to him, 'Do you think that's going to change the truth because you don't want to hear it?' "

XIII) [Jas 2:20-23]:

(v. 20 cont.) "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?"

[James begins to support his argument proposed in verse 20 with the example of Abraham, a very appropriate choice considering his predominately Jewish readership]:

(v. 21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

(v. 22) You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

(v. 23) and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God." [Gen 15:6]

A) JAMES SUPPORTS HIS POINT THAT FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS USELESS BY REFERRING TO THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM

1) FIRST OF ALL, ABRAHAM WAS NOT SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BY HIS WORKS, BUT BY HIS ONE TIME ACT OF FAITH ALONE IN GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION THROUGH HIS SEED, THE COMING MESSIAH JESUS CHRIST

There are some who maintain that Abraham's life was one of one obedient act after another leading up to and following his faith in God's plan of salvation, (Gen 15:6). All of which, together, they claim, add up to a works + faith = salvation. However, in addition to obedient acts, Abraham also did a number of things which were out of the will of God which were not obedient acts between the time that he left Ur and the time that God justified Abraham unto eternal life and even more unfaithful works after that! And compare other notable characters in Scripture such as Noah, Isaac, Jacob, David, Paul, and Peter, all of whom were reported as doing things way out of the will of God. There is no indication in Scripture indicating that Abraham or any believer was in jeopardy of condemnation of eternal judgment at any time in their lives after they became believers. As a matter of fact, no act of Abraham is referred to in the passage which states the cause and effect of Abraham's salvation:

Cause: faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life.

Effect: reckoned by God as righteousness, i.e., justified unto eternal life:

a) [Gen 15:4-6]:

(v. 4) "Then the word of the LORD came to him [Abraham] 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He [God] took him outside and said, 'look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then He said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.'"

Which is to say that Abraham would live to see countless offspring - i.e., live forever to see an inestimable number of his descendants on down through the ages of eternity. And then the moment when God gave Abraham the gift of eternal life:

(v. 6) And Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness."

Notice, the word "it" in the context of the afore quoted passage in Genesis does not refer to anything in the past or future that Abraham does. The word "it" can only refer to Abraham's immediate response to God's testimony of the gospel of salvation. And what was Abraham's response: faith - faith alone in God's plan alone of salvation thru Abraham's progeny, nothing else. And because of that response of faith alone, God "credited it to him as righteousness." = eternal life! History is replete with examples of men who have obeyed God or God's Word relative to matters other than the gospel of salvation. But none were saved unless they expressed faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life.

b) [Compare Ro 4:1-3]:

(v. 1) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? [Re: being justified unto eternal life by works, (vv. 3:21-30)]

(v. 2) If, in fact, Abraham was justified [unto eternal life] by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God."

[Notice that whatever Abraham did or for that matter what anyone does cannot justify himself unto eternal life before God. Only by faith in God's plan thru His Son can one be justified unto eternal life before God]:

(v. 3) What does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' [Gen 15:6]"

Furthermore, some maintain that Abraham was not truly saved unto eternal life until he completed all of the incredibly faithful acts over years of obedience to the will of God - leaving the idea of an impossible burden upon the individual of never ever being assured on one's salvation nor of being sure one will never slip up sometime in one's life and falsify or lose his chance for eternity in heaven. So the doctrine of assurance of one's salvation, (ref. 1 Jn 5:9-13), could not apply to any individual including Abraham if one could never know if in the future one might fall away or not perform that last deed required for eternal life.

It also seems that some individuals have to perform much more than others in order to be saved. Compare Abraham with Rehab, or Joseph with yourself, for that matter.

Also, the claims of Abraham's actions contributing to his salvation which were committed before he expressed saving faith puts the cart before the horse. Faith-works salvationists insist on faith followed by works and not the works coming first, especially since many of Abraham deeds were not so obedient.

2) ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN ABRAHAM OBEYED GOD IN DEEDS HE JUSTIFIED HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BEFORE MEN CONFIRMING THAT HE WAS THE FRIEND OF GOD

On the other hand, Scripture teaches that when Abraham obeyed God in deeds he demonstrated his faith in God and he became known by men as the friend of God - an example to men which demonstrated that he had expressed faith alone in God's Messiah Savior alone unto eternal life, (Gen 15:6).

So James indicates that there is another kind of justification - a perfection - a completion - a maturing of one's faith in Christ in the sight of man. Abraham's justification by works for rewards from God came to Abraham long after his justification by faith unto salvation from hell. Hebrews 11:19 indicates that Abraham understood and believed in resurrection after death; and he believed in the gospel of salvation, (Gen 15:6). Abraham believed that God would resurrect him so that he would see his posterity of millions, (Gen 12:1-3; 15:4-6; Heb 11:8-19). This is the justification that God "accounted" to Abraham as "righteousness" unto eternal life by faith alone, (Gen 15:6). Thirty-eight years later Abraham obeys God and goes up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac and thereby justifies to man his saving faith unto eternal life in a Messiah Savior which he expressed 38 years before! To complete his faith, God provided for Abraham specific divine good works for him to perform...prepared in advance for him as God has prepared works in advance for all believers. (Eph 2:10; Pr 3:5-6; 20:24; Ps 139:16). Abraham's saving faith in a coming Messiah Savior is now expressed in his obedience to God; and as a result of his obedience Abraham's faith is "perfected" = " eteleiothe" = matured = made complete. Abraham's faith is now justified before men through his works - through his willingness to sacrifice his son. There was a dynamic interrelationship between his faith in Christ unto salvation in heaven and his works. So James 2:22 indicates that Abraham's faith in Christ for salvation was made mature by his divine good works and godly living. We grow in spiritual maturity when we are active in God's service. The faith in Christ which justifies a sinner for his salvation can also have an active role in his lifestyle by maturing him spiritually and by justifying him before people so that they can recognize that he is a believer and will listen to him when he speaks of godly wisdom and can find that he is an example to follow]

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 66-67]:

"In refuting the objection he has cited, James selects the most prestigious name in Jewish history, the patriarch Abraham. He selects also his most honored act of obedience to God, the offering of his own son Isaac. Since in Christian circles it was well known that Abraham was justified by faith, James now adds a highly original touch. He was also justified by works! If James's subject matter is kept clearly in mind, we will not fall into the trap of pitting him against the apostle Paul. In no way does James wish to deny that Abraham, or anyone else, could be justified by faith alone. He merely wishes to insist that there is also another justification, and it is by works.

Of course, there is no such thing as a single justification by faith plus works. Nothing James says here suggests that idea. Rather, there are two kinds of justification (see v 24). Somewhat surprisingly, to most people, the apostle Paul agrees with this. Writing at what was no doubt a later time than James, Paul states in Rom 4:2, For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. The form of this statement in Greek does not deny the truth of the point under consideration. The phrase, but not before God, strongly suggests that Paul can conceive of a sense in which people are justified by works. But, he insists, that is not the way people are justified before God. That is, it does not establish their legal standing before Him."

[Jas 2:20-23 cont.]:

(v. 21) "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

(v. 22) You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

(v. 23) and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God."

3) AS IT DID WITH ABRAHAM, SO IT IS THAT A CHRISTIAN'S FAITH EXPRESSED IN HIS WORKS BRINGS SPIRITUAL MATURITY AND CONFIRMS FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD

Notice that James states that the statement from Scripture, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" was fulfilled in the sense that Abraham's being accounted as righteous before God by faith alone in God's plan through Abraham's seed, (cf. Ro 4:1-3), was verified, i.e., "fulfilled" to mankind as being a reality when Abraham demonstrated his faith in God by taking steps to sacrifice his one and only son of the promise, Isaac - thus demonstrating that he indeed was saved and "the friend of God."

As it did with Abraham, so it does with a Christian: that a Christian's faith expressed in his works confirms that he is indeed a believer and has an intimate friendship with God and it of course brings spiritual maturity in that child of God.

Compare Jn 15:14 and 14:21-23:

Christians who are obedient to the Word of God and who express their faith in Christ through divine good works are God's friends:

a) [Jn 15:14]:

"...if you obey Me [Jesus] I am going to call you My friends."

(Compare Jn 14:21-23)

This is an expression of being in a very close, intimate and personal relationship with the Almighty God of the universe.

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 67-69]:

"Therefore, in responding to the kind of person who tried to divorce faith from works in Christian experience, James takes a skillful approach. We may paraphrase it this way: 'Wait a minute, you foolish man! You make much of justification by faith, but can't you see how Abraham was also justified by works when he offered his son Isaac to God? [v 21]. Isn't it obvious how his faith was cooperating with his works and, in fact, by works his faith was made mature? [v 22]. In this way, too, the full significance of the Scripture about his justification by faith was brought to light, for now he could be called the friend of God' (v 23).

It should be carefully noted that in referring to Abraham's offering of his son Isaac, James has returned to the theme of trials, which is the basic concern of his epistle (see 1:2-18). In Jewish tradition, this story about Abraham represented the supreme trial of the patriarch, over which he had triumphed gloriously. But equally, when James turns to Rahab in v 25, he is likewise dealing with a woman who had triumphed under severe trial. The two stories, standing at the end of a major unit (1:21-2:26), form an implicit inclusio (a reference back) carrying the reader's mind back to the point at which the unit on true hearing had begun. The exhortation of 1:21 had sprung from the preceding discussion on Christian trials.

The content of vv 22-23 is rich indeed. It is a pity that it has been so widely misunderstood. The faith which justifies - James never denies that it does justify! - can have an active and vital role in the life of the obedient believer. As with Abraham, it can be the dynamic for great acts of obedience. In the process, faith itself can be made perfect, i.e., 'perfected' (eteleiothe). The Greek word suggests development and maturation. Faith is thus nourished and strengthened by works.

It would hardly be possible to find a better illustration of James's point anywhere in the Bible. The faith by which Abraham was justified was directed toward God's promise about his seed (Gen 15:4-6), a promise that reaffirmed the initial promise of Gen 12:1-3, which carried soteriological significance (see Gal 3:6-9). But Abraham's faith was also implicitly faith in a God of resurrection. Referring to the occasion of Gen 15:6, Paul wrote:

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Rom 4:19-21).

Abraham had confidence that the God in whom he believed could overcome the deadness of his own body and of Sarah's womb. But it was only though the testing with Isaac that this implicit faith in God's resurrection power becomes a specific conviction that God could literally raise a person physically from the dead to fulfill His oath. Accordingly, the author of Hebrews declares:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up his one and only son [of the promise], of whom it was said, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called,' concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense' (Heb 11:17-19).

Thus the faith of Abraham was strengthened and matured by works! From a conviction that God could overcome a 'deadness' in his own body (inability to beget children), he moved to the assurance that God could actually resurrect his son's body from literal, physical death. In the process of carrying out the divine command to sacrifice his beloved boy, his faith grew and reached new heights of confidence in God.

In this way, too, the Scripture that spoke of his original justification was fulfilled. But its implications were richly developed and exposed by the subsequent record of Abraham's obedience. Abraham's works filled this ancient text full of meaning, so to speak, by showing the extent to which the faith of Gen 15:6 could develop and undergird a life of obedience. Simple and uncomplicated though it was at first, Abraham's justifying faith had potential ramifications which only his works, built on it, could disclose.

A case can be made (see Jacobs, NTS: 457-64) that the story about Abraham offering Isaac had already been connected with Gen 15:6 in Jewish exegesis before James's time. For example, the author of 1 Maccabees 2:52 wrote: 'Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?' The author was apparently tying together Gen 15 and 22 so that Gen 15:6 becomes a proleptic statement about the grounds on which Abraham was awarded righteousness....

[proleptic = assumption of a future act as if presently accomplished, i.e., Gen 15's statement that Abraham was declared righteous on the basis of his faith alone in God's plan of a future Messiah alone is tied to Abraham's future faithfulness as stated in Gen 22 when he took steps, as a result of his already declared status of righteousness, to sacrifice his son Isaac which steps author James declares shows Abraham's verification ((to men)) of having been justified.]

But this works-righteousness view of Gen 15:6 is not at all the view of Paul or James. That James understood the text as referring to justification by faith is clear from his reference to this kind of justification in the very next verse (v 24). But James does not adopt the legalistic interpretation of Gen 15:6. Instead, James sees Gen 15:6 as ascribing to Abraham just that sort of faith which would be required in order for Abraham later to obey God and offer Him his son. In that sense Gen 15:6 was pregnant with implications about what could take place in the future if Abraham was willing to act on the basis of the faith that had justified him. When Abraham did act on his faith, that faith was made fruitful in his superb obedience to God concerning Isaac. When his justifying faith was put to work, the implications of his original faith were wonderfully realized and Gen 15:6 was in that way 'fulfilled.'

And now he could be called the friend of God, not only by God Himself, but also by men (cf. Isa 41:8; 2 Chr 20:7). This is in fact the name by which Abraham has been known down through the centuries in many lands and by at least three religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Had Abraham not obeyed God in the greatest test of his life, he would still have been justified by the faith he exercised in Gen 15:6. But by allowing that faith to be alive in his works, he attained an enviable title among countless millions of people. In this way he was also justified by works (before men; cf. Rom 4:2).

When a person is justified by faith, he or she finds an unqualified acceptance before God. As Paul puts it, such an individual is one to whom God imputes righteousness without works (Rom 4:6). But only God can see this spiritual transaction. When, however, one is justified by works he or she achieves an intimacy with God that is manifest to others. He or she can then be called a 'friend of God,' even as Jesus said, 'You are My friends if you do whatever I command you' (John 15:14)."

4) WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF ABRAHAM HAD NOT OBEYED GOD AND HE HAD NOT TAKEN ISAAC UP TO THE ALTAR TO SACRIFICE HIM?

What would have happened if Abraham had not obeyed God and he had not taken Isaac up to the altar to sacrifice him? Abraham would still have been saved because he was saved already. Gen 15:6 tells us that Abraham was saved by his faith in God's promise of a Messiah Savior. Compare Ro 4:19-25 and Heb 11:17-18 which refer to Abraham's faith in God's promise to send a Savior and thereby Abraham was going to be saved no matter what. But what would have happened is that Abraham if he had refused to do works compatible with his profession of faith in God's promise of a Messiah Savior...........

.....what would have happened is that Abraham would not have been called the friend of God. Abraham would have been under God's discipline and perhaps have died before his time and would have gone home to be with the Lord if he continued to disobey God, (compare Jas 1:15; 1 Jn 5:16; Pro 10:27; 13:14). Abraham would then have been sorely lacking in eternal rewards, position in heaven and intimacy of his eternal relationship with God because of his unfaithfulness. Abraham's works however did demonstrate that he had a great intimacy with God because of his obedience. Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us what was in Abraham's mind when he brought the knife up to kill Isaac: Abraham knew in his mind that only Isaac could fulfill God's specific promise of being in the line of the Savior. Because Abraham trusted in God's promise of a Messiah Savior to come through Isaac, because Abraham was a born again man, he knew that God would still keep his promise through Isaac. Heb 11:17-19 tells us that Abraham expected God to simply resurrect the boy on the spot after he sacrificed him:

a) [Heb 11:17-19]:

(v. 17) 'By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his [unique] son. [of the Promise] (v. 18) it was he to whom it was said, 'In Isaac your seed [descendants] shall be called.'

(v. 19) He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type."

[unique] "son" [of the Promise] = God promised that through Abraham's and Sarah's first natural son, Isaac, (and Isaac only), that the Messiah Savior would be born Who would make provision for all mankind for eternal life, (Gen 17:19; 21:12; Heb 11:18; Ro 9:7).

"type" = "parabole" = a figure or a typical example of a man whom God raises from the dead much as God raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead as the First Type and then all believers. Isaac was as good as dead and Abraham trusted God to bring Isaac back to life "as a type" as he himself would be resurrected from the dead by God and as God would resurrect His Son.

XIV) [Jas 2:23-24]:

(v. 23) "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God.

(v. 24) You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."

A) JAMES TEACHES HIS READERS THAT THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF JUSTIFICATION

[(v. 24a) "You see that a man is justified by [his] works..." = According to Scripture, a man is justified in a number of ways. One way is taught in James 2:24a: namely justification of one's faith in Christ to men by works in order to demonstrate ones eternal relationship with God, mature one's faith and by doing something which has divine good value.

(v. 24b) "and not by faith alone" = and another way one is justified, according to James 2:24b is by faith alone in Christ alone which results in eternal life in heaven. This part of verse 24 teaches the other kind of justification - unto eternal life which is by faith alone, no works permitted, (Eph 2:8-9 & Ro 11:6).

So James says in Jas 2:24 that there are two kinds of justification. One which comes by faith alone which results in salvation unto eternal life and one which comes by works which results in the believers eternal relationship with God being demonstrated to men and God's work being accomplished through the believer providing rewards in heaven when the believer gets there.

B) NOTE THAT JAMES DOES NOT SAY THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF JUSTIFICATION WHICH IS BY WORKS AND FAITH COMBINED.

Let's review verse 24 grammatically and etymologically from the Greek to verify this:

[Jas 2:23-24 cont.]:

(v. 24) "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."

The Greek word "monon" which is translated "alone" in English is an adverb which must then modify the verb "is justified" and not the noun "faith". "Faith" is feminine in gender and the adverb "alone" is neuter. So from the grammar of the original Greek Bible you know that the word "alone" is not talking about faith!!!...

This would be similar to the following statement in English where the word alone likewise modifies the verb:

'You see that automobiles are made with manual transmissions and not with automatic ones alone.'

Or a clearer presentation:

'You see that automobiles are made with manual transmissions and not made only with automatics.'

[Two kinds of automobiles: those with manual and those with automatic transmission]

One cannot state that what this sentence is saying is that each and every automobile is made with two transmissions, one automatic and one manual.

And in like manner, one cannot state that verse 24 says: 'You see that a man is justified by works and is not justified only by faith in the sense that both must work together for a man to be justified unto eternal life.

Verse 24 cannot say this because the word translated "alone" is a neuter adverb which therefore cannot modify the Greek word for "faith" which is a feminine noun. The adverb "not alone" modifies the verb "is justified" and means "not alone" i.e. not just one kind of justification.

So verse 2:24 says, 'A man isn't to have just one kind of justification which is by faith, (this kind resulting in eternal life); rather, he is also to have another kind of justification which is by works,

(this second kind resulting in a longer mortal life and rewards in heaven as a result of his works testifying to mankind that God has provided eternal life for him as a free gift).'

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 70-71]:

"Leaving the imagined objector behind, James returns in vv 24-26 to address his readers directly... His statement here confirms what we observed above (v 21), that there are two kinds of justification, not one kind conditioned on faith plus works. James's words do not mean a man is justified by works, and not.........[justified] by faith only [or alone]. Instead, James's words should be read like this: 'You see then that a man is justified by works, and not only [justified] by faith.' The key to understanding is the Greek adverb 'only' (monon), which does not qualify (i.e., modify) the word faith, since the form would then have been mones. As an adverb, however, it modifies the verb justified implied in the second clause. James is saying that a by-faith justification is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a by-works justification. The former type is before God the latter type is before men. [cf. Ro 4:1-3]"

C) JAMES DOES NOT SAY HERE OR ANYWHERE ELSE THAT ONE'S SALVATION IS ESTABLISHED AND VALIDATED BY ONE'S WORKS BEFORE GOD. SIMILARLY, JAMES DOES NOT SAY THAT ONE'S SALVATION CAN BE MADE INVALID BY A LACK OF WORKS. HE NEVER SAYS THAT JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH CANNOT EXIST APART FROM JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS. THIS IS WHY JAMES URGES BELIEVERS TO LIVE AS CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO....THE THEME OF HIS ENTIRE EPISTLE!

If one's saving faith must be confirmed by one's works in order for one to be truly saved, i.e., one is not saved unless one shows continual evidence in one's life of being a believer - if this false doctrine were true, then why does Scripture teach assurance of one's salvation at the point of trusting alone in Christ alone, (cp. 1 Jn 5:9-13, Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; Ro 11:29; 8:38-39)?

If salvation includes works, then how can an individual know that he is saved unto eternal life if there always exists the possibility that his life will prove out the opposite in the future?

Furthermore, why does God's Word exhort believers who are secure in their eternal destiny, (Eph 1:13-14; 2:6; Ro 8:1, 38-39), to live a righteous life and not behave like the world - explaining that they are no longer part of it, (Eph 5:3)? This indicates that there certainly is the possibility that believers can act like the world even though their destiny is secure in heaven, (Eph 5:1-20; Gal 5:16-25; Ro 6:1-23, 8:1-4).

1) [Mt 7:15-23]:

~~~mt7.htm-change-outline

Relative to the eternal effect of an individual's lifestyle, the passage in the Bible which is located at Matthew 7:15-23 is often incorrectly used to support the false doctrine that one must evidence one's salvation by works in order to prove that one is saved; otherwise one is not truly saved at all. Let's examine this passage in Matthew to determine what it really is saying.

a) [Mt 7:15-16]:

(v. 15) "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

(v. 16) "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?"

i) NOTICE THAT THE SUBJECT OF MT 7:15-23 IS FALSE PROPHETS AND HOW THEIR LIFESTYLE PROVES OUT THEIR FALSE TEACHING

['You will know them - the false prophets - by their fruit, their works.' Divine good works do not come out of a lifestyle which is out of fellowship with God.' False prophets, i.e. false teachers, the subject of this passage, will not produce divine good works. Their lifestyles will prove out their false beliefs - sooner or later as it states in the next verse:

b) [Mt 7:17]:

"Even so every good tree bears good fruit; but the rotten tree bears bad fruit."

i) EVERY BELIEVER WHO IS IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD WILL LIVE A LIFESTYLE WHICH BEARS GOOD FRUIT, BUT THE ROTTEN TREE - CARNAL BELIEVER, UNBELIEVER GROUP INCL THE FALSE PROPHET WILL BEAR BAD FRUIT

[Even so every believer who is in fellowship with God will live a lifestyle which bears good fruit, i.e., divine good works; but the rotten tree; i.e., the lifestyle of the unbeliever, the carnal Christian as well as the false prophet - bears bad fruit]

c) [Mt 7:18]:

"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit."

[The lifestyle which is a result of a believer being in fellowship with God cannot produce bad fruit nor can the lifestyle which is a result of an individual being out of fellowship with God, (could be carnal believer or unbeliever), produce good fruit. This does not say that believers will always act like the good trees of this parable. The key to interpreting this passage so that it does not conflict with other clearer doctrinal passages in Scripture which indicate that believers do sin, (1 Jn 1:8-10; Eph 5:1-17)....

i) THE GOOD TREE REPRESENTS THE LIFESTYLE NOT THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF FAITHFUL BELIEVERS, THE ROTTEN TREE THE LIFESTYLE OF UNBELIEVERS AND UNFAITHFUL BELIEVERS

The key to interpreting this passage correctly - is to determine the meaning of the symbols of the good and rotten trees. The good tree must represent the lifestyle of in-fellowship believers because clear passages elsewhere indicate that spirit controlled believers are the only individuals who can produce good fruit, (cp. Gal 5:16-25). Otherwise, it's just the opposite:

[Compare Ro 8:7]:

"Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not even able to do so."

[That is to say, the lifestyle of the individual who is carnal - which could be an unbeliever or an out-of-fellowship, carnal believer cannot please God and so produce good fruit.

If, according to faith + works salvationists, the good tree is to represent only the true Christian who is destined for eternal life, then if an individual brings forth anything at all in the way of bad fruit, then that individual cannot be destined for heaven.

("A good tree cannot produce bad fruit", Mt 7:18a)

However, no one in Scripture except our Lord Himself, demonstrated such a perfection! Therefore, all are destined for hell! Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, you, me - we're all destined to the Lake of Fire - because every one of us cannot say that we did not produce bad fruit at one time or another in our lives, (1 Jn 1:8, 10, Romans chapter 7).

So the rotten tree represents the lifestyles of unbelievers and carnal Christians who are not able to produce good fruit and not the individuals themselves]

d) [Mt 7:19]:

"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.

i) EVERY LIFESTYLE DEVOID OF GOOD WORKS IS DESTROYED, BURNED UP, BUT NOT THE INDIVIDUAL HIMSELF

[Every tree that does not bear good fruit - (Every lifestyle which is not acceptable to God, which does not produce divine good) - every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. In other words, every lifestyle devoid of good works is judged as unacceptable and burned up just as is the 'hay, wood and straw' in 1 Cor 3:11-15 which also represents the fruit of the unacceptable lifestyle of the believer. The rotten fruit tree could not represent an individual believer himself who is cast into the Lake of Fire because one is not condemned to the fires of hell for producing bad fruit. One is condemned to hell for not placing one's faith in Christ as Savior, (Jn 3:18). Furthermore, eternally secure believers cannot say that they do not produce bad fruit, i.e., sins, cp. 1 Jn 1:8, 10]

e) [Mt 7:20]:

"So then, you will know them by their fruits."

["them" = the false prophets - the subject of this passage, (v.15), who could be unbelievers or believers who teach false doctrine.

i) SO THEN YOU WILL KNOW THE FALSE TEACHERS FROM THE TRUE ONES BY THE LIVES THAT THEY LEAD

So then you will know the false teachers from the true ones by the lives that they lead. Teachers of false doctrine will inevitably reflect their false belief system in their lifestyle - often a lifestyle reflecting a system of legalistic rules which favors the lust patterns of their particular sin natures.

[Compare Titus 1:15-16]:

(v. 15) "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

(v. 16) They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed."

ii) HOWEVER, IT OFTEN TAKES A DISCERNING BELIEVER WHO KNOWS THE WORD OF GOD IN ORDER TO DETECT THE ROTTEN FRUIT OF A FALSE PROPHET'S LIFESTYLE

However, it often takes a discerning believer who knows the Word of God in order to detect the rotten fruit of a false prophet's lifestyle, (Heb 4:12 + 1 Cor 2:15a). Furthermore, people do not have privy, all of the time, to the thoughts, words and deeds of an individual which would indicate the kind of lifestyle that they actually lead - be it fruitful or unfruitful.

iii) AN UNFAITHFUL LIFESTYLE IS NOT ALWAYS AN INDICATOR OF AN UNBELIEVER, BELIEVERS CAN ACT THAT WAY TOO

If the false doctrine which people often attribute to Mt 7:15-23 is instead true that believers must continually prove out their salvation or not be saved at all then Scripture is in error when it exhorts believers not to behave like the world, teaching that believers can seriously fall away from the faith but still be saved unto eternal life. (Compare Eph 5:1-17; 2 Tim 2:11-13). God's Word teaches that believers do sin, (1 Jn 1:8, 10), and may not show much evidence of being a believer yet still make it to heaven, (1 Cor 3:11-15). Therefore, one cannot stretch this passage to say that one can detect whether one is a believer or an unbeliever by one's lifestyle because Scripture does indicate that believers do have the potential at times of carrying on a lifestyle that does not reflect the fact that they are saved, (Eph 5:1-20; Gal 5:16-25; Ro 6:1-23, 8:1-4).

iv) JUST AS THE FALSE TEACHER WILL BE KNOWN BY HIS LIFESTYLE SO WILL A BELIEVER'S CHOICE TO BE UNFAITHFUL BECOME EVIDENT

On the other hand just as the false teacher will be known by the fruits of his lifestyle, in the same manner will the faithful or unfaithful lifestyle of a believer be proved by the content of that believer's works.

And at those moments of unfaithful lifestyle, the believer - the one who is saved and secure unto eternal life - is actually reflecting, by his actions, a mental attitude of unfaithfulness - of disbelief - of denial of his relationship with Jesus Christ. He may be a believer but one would not know it unless he, at the moment, is leading a lifestyle that produces good fruit, i.e., divine good works.

v) ASSURANCE TO THE BELIEVER OF HIS SALVATION IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF A FAITHFUL LIFESTYLE

Finally, Scripture teaches that one can know that one has eternal life at the point of believing in Christ as Savior before one has had a chance to begin a fruitful or unfruitful lifestyle. So when James says that faith without works is dead" or that "a man is justified by works", this does not always indicate a condition of NOT being saved unto eternal life if one falls short in the works department.

vi) COMPARE 1 JOHN 5:9-13 WHICH TEACHES THAT ONE CAN KNOW THAT ONE HAS ETERNAL LIFE AT THE MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE BEFORE ANY WORKS ARE PERFORMED - WHETHER GOOD OR BAD

Compare the passage in 1 John 5:9-13 which teaches that one can know that one has eternal life at the point of trusting in Christ as Savior at the beginning of an individual's Christian walk - before any works at all are performed, whether good or bad!

[1 Jn 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son.

(v. 10) The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him [God] a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son.

(v. 11) And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life................

[notice that eternal life is a gift from God, (cp. Eph 2:8-9]

(v. 11 cont.) And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (v. 12) He who has the Son..............

[Recall from verse 10 that to have the Son is to just believe in Him]

(v. 12 cont.) He who has the Son has the life..

[He who believes in the Son has the eternal life which God has made available as a gift through faith alone in His Son alone, v.11 above, (cp. Jn 3:16)]

(v. 12 cont.) He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

[And here is the part which indicates that at the point of trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior - at that point you can know - you can be absolutely assured that you are going to heaven no matter what. Even at the time when you are a brand new, born again believer with your old habits still fully intact and your sin nature still out of control - having had no time to grow in spiritual maturity]:

(v. 12 cont.) He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

(v. 13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life."

vii) SCRIPTURE THEREFORE DOES NOT TEACH THAT IF ONE DOES NOT SHOW EVIDENCE THAT ONE IS A BELIEVER THEN ONE IS NOT SAVED

These verses which John wrote were written by him so that all who have believed at some time in their lives may know now for sure that they have eternal life no matter what. For to believe in the name of the Son of God is to receive and have eternal life forever! So if Scripture teaches that one can know now that one has eternal life at the point of believing in Christ as Savior, then how could Scripture also teach the opposing and false doctrine that if one doesn't show evidence that one is a believer then one is not saved? Surely one cannot know in the present that one is saved if later on one can possibly act like one is not thus negating or falsifying one's eternal destiny in heaven.

viii) THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT ALL CHRISTIANS SIN AND NEVER DO REACH A POINT IN THIS LIFE WHEN THEY CAN SAY THAT THEY DON'T SIN OR ACT UNCHRISTIANLIKE

[1 John 1:8, 10]:

(v. 8) "If we [believers, v.2:2] say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

(v. 10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him [God] a liar, and His word is not in us."

ix) THE FALSE DOCTRINE THAT A BELIEVER MUST PROVE OUT HIS SALVATION IS UNSCRIPTURAL, CAUSES JUDGMENTALISM AND CONTRADICTS THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF THE EXCLUSIVE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN THE SALVATION OF MANKIND

If the false doctrine that a believer must prove out his salvation in order for it to be real is true, then how much sin is permitted before a person is proved NOT to have eternal life? How perfect must he be to be assured that he is saved? This kind of reasoning is unscriptural, nonsense and creates judgmentalism within the body of believers of who is saved and who is not when God is totally responsible for our salvation and no one else, (Ephesians chapters one and two, Romans 3:21-24). Scripture states that one can know that one is secure in one's salvation forever at the very point of trusting alone in Christ alone, (1 Jn 5:9-13; 3:16; Eph 1:13-14; Ro 11:29, 8:1, 8:38-39).

[Mt 7:21]:

x) THE DEEDS OF FALSE PROFESSORS DO NOT QUALIFY FOR ANYTHING BUT LAWLESSNESS

Verse 20 of Matthew 7, ends the section on knowing the false prophet by the fruit produced by his lifestyle, but there are some who maintain that the next three verses say that one must produce fruit in order to be saved.

f) [Mt 7:21 (cont.)]:

(v. 21) "Not every one who says to Me, '''Lord, Lord,''' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father, Who is in heaven.

i) HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF GOD RELATIVE TO THE RECEPTION OF ETERNAL LIFE IS HE WHO SIMPLY AND ONLY TRUSTS ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

[And what is the will of the Father - what must a man do to attain eternal life?]:

[Jn 6:27-29]:

(v. 27) [Jesus said] " 'Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.'

(v. 28) They said therefore to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?'

(v. 29) Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.' "]

g) ]Mt 7:22-23]:

(v. 22) Many will say to Me on that day, '''Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'''

(v. 23) And then I will declare to them, '''I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.''' "

i) ANY DEEDS DONE TO GAIN MERIT WITH GOD FOR SALVATION ARE CONSIDERED BY OUR LORD AS LAWLESSNESS AND THEY CANCEL OUT GOD'S GRACE AND CAUSE THE INDIVIDUAL FURTHER CONDEMNATION

"I never knew you" = One must trust alone in Christ alone in order to be included in the family of God - and be intimately known by Him:

[Jn 1:12]:

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name:"

Any deeds done by an unsaved individual, (or while a believer is in a carnal condition, cp. Ro 8:8), which this passage in Matthew chapter 7 refers to, come out of the motivation of the sin nature and not God the Holy Spirit. They cancel God's free grace salvation for the unbeliever and put him in the impossible position of having to do works for his salvation, (Gal 3:21-22; Ro 4:4-5; 11:6). These deeds might even be done in the name of the Lord, perhaps water baptism in order to be saved, (and not a testimony of one's already saved condition), or some act of repentance, or to receive the mass or some miracle or prophetic utterance - even witnessing - all intended to be effective to the same end: attempting to do works to receive eternal life with God. These deeds may even resemble true divine good works. Nevertheless they are evil, not being generated under the control of God the Holy Spirit and certainly not in line with what God says in His Word. For the unbeliever who does these things our Lord's response is condemnation unto the Lake of Fire; for that individual never accepted by faith alone the free grace gift of eternal life exclusively through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross: "Depart from Me, [Jesus says to him], you who practice lawlessness."

ii) CONCLUSION ON MATTHEW 7:21-23

Bob Wilkin states, ('IS JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE?', Journal of the GRACE EVANGELICAL SOCIETY', Autumn 1996 issue, Arthur L. Farstad, editor, Irving, Texas, p. 9):

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE IS NOT BEING REFUTED IN THIS PASSAGE

"To some people this passage [Mt 7:21-23] sounds like it's denying justification by faith alone. After all, Jesus does say that the only one who will enter the kingdom of heaven is 'he who does the will of My Father.'

However, that view of the passage is impossible when put under careful scrutiny. In v. 22 the people who call Jesus Lord and yet are excluded from the kingdom are further identified. They are people who claim the right to enter the kingdom on the basis of having prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders - all in Jesus' name.

MATTHEW 7:21-23 IS TEACHING THAT NO ONE CAN EXPECT KINGDOM ENTRANCE ON THE BASIS OF WORKS OF ANY KIND

Jesus' point here is that no one can expect kingdom entrance on the basis of his or her works, or deeds. Far from contradicting justification by faith alone, He is proving it.

The only way anyone can enter the kingdom is by doing God's will. In context this is clearly not meant to refer to doing good deeds. The false professors had done good deeds! What they lacked is the one thing that can gain anyone entrance into the kingdom. [Faith alone in Christ alone]

THE WILL OF THE FATHER CONCERNING SALVATION THEREFORE IS THAT WE BELIEVE IN HIS SON + NOTHING ELSE IN ORDER TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

All of the following verses show that the will of the Father concerning salvation is that we believe in His Son: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31). 'He who believes in Me has everlasting life' (John 6:47). 'Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life' (John 3:16b). 'For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph 2:8-9).

In answer to the question, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He sent" (John 6:28-29). The only 'work,'....[required] which will please God in terms of salvation is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for eternal life [ and this is no work at all]."

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XIV) [Jas 2:23-24 cont.]:

(v. 24 cont.) "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."

D) SO A MAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED IN ONE WAY ONLY - BY FAITH IN CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL LIFE, BUT HE IS ALSO TO BE JUSTIFIED IN ANOTHER WAY - BY WORKS TO PRESERVE HIS MORTAL LIFE, RECEIVE REWARDS IN HEAVEN & DEMONSTRATE THAT HE IS A FRIEND OF GOD

So a person who is a believer has one kind of justification which is a justification before God as a result of that person's trust alone in Christ alone for salvation unto eternal life. However, that person is not going to be justified before men as a Christian who claims to be what he claims to be in Christ except by his works. If his works violate the moral code of God, if his works are disobedient to God, if his works act in such a way that people recoil from him in disgust then he is not being justified in their sight. Although, before God he is justified unto eternal life, they'll say to him, 'You call yourself a Christian? What kind of Christian is that?' People, by these statements, are saying that in their sight by what he is doing he is not justified as a Christian. Justification by faith can exist without justification by works, that's what James is saying. A person can be saved and not show it because he is not serving God. Abraham was justified by his works, but not in God's sight for eternal life - only before people. Compare Ro 4:2:

1) [Compare Ro 4:2]:

"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about: but not before God." [i.e.,just before men]

["But not before God" = Notice: a man is not justified by works unto eternal life before God. Furthermore, God had already justified Abraham unto eternal life when Abraham had placed his trust in God for his salvation 38+ years ago, (Gen 15:6). So if Abraham was justified by works, and he was, then he's got something to boast about because he justified himself before men. Compare 2 Cor 1:12-14; 10:12-18 - the Apostle Paul boasts about this also. But Abraham and Paul and all believers do not have any boasting to do before God relative to eternal life. Compare Eph 2:8-9:

2) [Eph 2:8-9]:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast"

E) SO THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF JUSTIFICATION:

1) JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN CHRIST WHICH GIVES ONE A STANDING OF ABSOLUTE RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD.

(Ref: Ro 3:21-24)

2) JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS WHICH EXERCISES ONE'S FAITH IN CHRIST AND GIVES ONE A STANDING OF FRIENDSHIP - OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD BEFORE PEOPLE.

(Refs: Jn 15:14; Jas 2:21-23)

XV) [Jas 2:25]:

"And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?"

A) IN THE SAME WAY THAT ABRAHAM DEMONSTRATED HIS FAITH IN CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL LIFE TO MEN BY HIS ACTIONS WITH ISAAC SO RAHAB DEMONSTRATED HER FAITH BY HER OWN ACTIONS TO SAVE THE HEBREW SPIES

James uses the example of Rahab being justified in the eyes of the Hebrew spies. Here in verse 2:25 above, James is reiterating his basic point from the positive side which he expressed from the negative side in verse 2:17:

B) SO FAITH DOES NOT NEED WORKS TO BE ADDED TO IT IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE FAITH BUT IT IS A DEAD FAITH WITHOUT THE WORKS

1) [Jas 2:17]:

"Even so faith if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."

Here in verse 17 above, James establishes the spiritual truth that even though a person has eternal life, his faith which was exercised in Christ as Savior is a useless, i.e., a dead example to man if he does no works for the Lord as an ambassador to Jesus Christ. Notice that the words "dead" and "by itself" which describe the word "faith" indicate that the faith exists, albeit "by itself", and that it is NOT nonexistent. It is just "by itself" - alone. So faith does not need works to be added to it in order for it to be faith; but it is dead without the works added to it. The word "dead" means inactive - useless - of no value with respect to ones testimony to people and to rewards in heaven. So the believer without works is useless in his role as an ambassador to Jesus Christ. He might as well be dead with respect to his present value to the kingdom of God. Therefore the 'work-less' believer has a dead faith - a useless faith - so far as what he is doing to enhance the work of the kingdom of God is concerned, even though he is a born again believer with an eternal destiny in heaven.

C) SO RAHAB LIKE ABRAHAM WAS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH BEFORE GOD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE AND WAS ALSO JUSTIFIED IN ANOTHER WAY: BEFORE MEN TESTIFYING THAT SHE WAS THE FRIEND OF GOD

On the other hand, James 2:25 tells us that in the same way as Abraham justified his faith through works, so did Rahab. Rahab had a born again faith in God's plan of salvation, (through the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). She trusted in the God of the Israelites for her eternal life, (cp. Joshua 2:8-11); and by context in James 2:25, Rahab is born again in order for James to properly use her life as an example of faith producing divine good works. For only a born again believer can please God with divine good works, (Eph 2:8-9; Ro 8:7). Jas 2:25 says that Rahab was also justified in another way other than unto eternal life by faith; she was also justified by works in the eyes of men - works that actually saved her physical life:

[Jas 2:25 cont.]:

(v. 23) "And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' and he was called God's friend.

(v. 24) You see that a person is justified [in a second way] by what he does and not [just in the one way] by faith alone.

(v. 25) "And in the same way [as Abraham was] was not Rahab the harlot also justified [a 2nd way] by works?"

This tells us that Rahab was first justified by faith unto eternal life, just as Abraham was, in order to be able to also be justified by what she did in the sight of men. Compare Eph 2:8-10 which indicates that faith alone for salvation unto eternal life is required, (vv. 8-9), before one can perform those works which God has preordained for each individual believer to act upon, (v. 10). As a product of her saving faith, Rahab produced the divine good work of protecting the Hebrew spies from the king of Jericho. Because of her faithful works when the Israeli army attacked later on, Rahab and those in her household were saved from physical death, (Jos 2:8-11).

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 71-72]:

"James does not say, 'Was not Rahab the harlot justified by faith and works?' James knows of no such justification. Rather, Rahab, like Abraham before her, was justified by works in front of other people - i.e., before the nation of Israel among whom she came to live....

Rahab, however, is superbly suited to tie James's thoughts together. The passage had begun, as we have seen, with a reference to his theme of 'saving the life' (v 14; 1:21). Not surprisingly, Rahab is selected as a striking example of a person whose physical life was 'saved' precisely because she had works. With James's words the statement of the writer of Hebrews can be profitably compared.

In [Heb] 11:31, that author writes of her:

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Notice that the author of Hebrews points to her faith and lays the stress on the fact that she received the spies...

[The result of her actions being the preservation of her physical life.]

James, by contrast, points to the fact that she sent them out another way. This is obvious when the story in Joshua 2 is carefully considered. Up until the last minute, she could have sent their pursuers after them. That the spies had lingering doubts about her loyalty is suggested by their words in Josh 2:20, 'And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath.' But the successful escape of the spies demonstrated that Rahab was truly a friend of God because she was also their friend. In this way, Rahab was justified by works."

And in the process, she saved her own life and her family's! Her faith, therefore, was very much alive because it was an active, working faith. Though she was a prostitute - and both inspired writers remind us that she was - her living faith triumphed over the natural consequences of her sin. While all the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho perished under the divine judgment which Israel executed, she lived because her faith lived!"

D) SCRIPTURE TEACHES THAT WORKS PLAY ABSOLUTELY NO PART IN AN INDIVIDUAL'S SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

It is interesting to note that Rahab is considered by faith + works salvationists as having performed sufficient deeds in order to be considered as having eternal life: an individual, who not only performed a number of deeds which Scripture deems to be divinely oriented but also one who led the lifestyle of a harlot. They ignore the obvious: that as a result of her deeds, the preservation of Rahab's physical life is in view and not her eternal destiny in the kingdom of God.

Scripture states that an individual cannot truly do anything to satisfy God relative to receiving eternal life except receiving it as a gift by faith alone:

1) [Compare Gal 3:21b-22]:

(v. 21b) "For if a law.."

[Notice: if a law. In the original Greek Bible there is no article before "law" in Gal 3:21b. When the article is omitted in the Greek it signifies the quality of the noun rather than a specific concept of law like THE Mosaic Law when a definite article is then used. Here at the beginning of the last part of Galatians 3:21, the quality of law is being referred to meaning any kind of law or rules of human conduct. Therefore the word "law" in verse 21b refers to the behavior of men - laws of moral conduct, codes and acts of moral behavior, etc. It is therefore a general statement referring to any set of deeds which an individual must perform, (not just the Law of Moses); for example, water baptism, repentant behavior, good deeds, church going, giving, etc.

Compare Romans 3:21: same grammatical construction and context]

[Gal 3:21b-22 cont.]:

(v. 21b) "For if a law [i.e., rules of human conduct] had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law"

[For if any kind of rules of human conduct could result in salvation then certainly the Mosaic Law would have been able to do the same. But God's Word is saying here that righteousness and eternal life are not based on any set of rules of conduct]

(v. 22) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, [i.e., totally depraved and unable to contribute anything toward salvation] so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe."

So Paul's answer to the question of what one must do to be saved is faith alone in Christ alone: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved..."[Acts 16:31]

E) SO JAMES IS SAYING THAT RAHAB ALSO HAD A JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS IN ADDITION TO HER JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH. THIS WORK WAS THE PRODUCT OF HER SAVING FAITH NOT A PART OF IT

James never says that Rahab was justified by her faith in God's plan of salvation + her works together. James does say that Rahab had a certain kind of justification by works. This work was the product of her saving faith unto eternal life not a part of it. Her divine good works - her faithful works saved her physical life, produced eternal rewards for her in heaven and proved her friendship with God before men. Hebrews 11:31 tells us this:

1) [Heb 11:31]:

"By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace."

So Rahab's physical life was saved. Compare Joshua chapter two, especially verses 17-21. Rahab was justified in the eyes of the spies by the work that she did and so her physical life was saved. This work had nothing to do with her being justified unto eternal life in heaven, for she was already saved, (cp. Joshua 2:8-11), but it did justify her in the eyes of men that she was the friend of God.

In verse 2:26 James ties it all up:

XVI) [Jas 2:26]:

"For just as the body without the [human] spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

A) WHEN A CHRISTIAN HAS A FAITH THAT IS INACTIVE IT IS LIKE THE BODY WITH A DEPARTED HUMAN SPIRIT - DEAD, USELESS

James closes with the analogy of the human body out of which the human spirit has been removed. Faith here is compared to the physical body, works compared to the human spirit. When the human spirit leaves the body, that body is physically dead, i.e., inert, useless. Compare Eccl 12:5-6. Similarly, when a Christian has a faith that is inactive it is like the human body with a departed human spirit - dead, useless. Similarly when works leave (don't accompany) faith then that faith is dead. Divine good works keep one's faith active just as the human spirit keeps the body alive and active.

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", p. 72]:

"James therefore wishes his readers to know that works are in fact the vitalizing 'spirit' which keeps one's faith alive, in the same way that the human spirit keeps the human body alive. Whenever a Christian ceases to act on his faith, that faith atrophies and becomes little more than a creedal corpse. 'Dead orthodoxy' is a danger that has always confronted Christian people, and we do well to take heed to this danger. But the antidote is a simple one: Faith remains vital and alive as long as it is being translated into real works of living obedience."

[Hodges, "Gospel Under Siege", p. 21-22]:

'''JAMES 2: WHAT IS A DEAD FAITH?

“Faith without works is dead.” So spoke James in the second chapter of his epistle. His statement has been appealed to many times to support the idea that works are necessary for eternal salvation.

Sometimes the claim is made that unless faith is followed by good works, the believer loses eternal life. At other times, a more subtle approach is taken. If a professing Christian does not manifest good works, he was never a true believer to begin with. Whatever James is saying, however, it can be neither of these ideas.

Dead Faith Is Like A Corpse: It Was Once Alive

The second view, just mentioned, is so forced and artificial that if it were not maintained by obviously sincere men, it might be called dishonest. According to this view, a dead faith cannot save. Therefore, if a man lacks the crucial evidence of good works, it shows that this is all he has ever possessed - a dead faith.

This flies directly into the face of the text. In James 2:26 the writer affirms:

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also"

No one who encountered a dead body, whose life-giving spirit had departed, would ever conclude that the body had never been alive. Quite the contrary. The presence of a corpse is the clearest proof of a loss of life. If we allow this illustration to speak for itself, then the presence of a dead faith shows that this faith was once alive.

Nor is there anything at all in the entire passage to support some other conclusion. As elsewhere in the epistle, it is Christian brothers who are addressed (2:14; cf. 1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5; 3:1, 10, 12; etc.). There is absolutely nothing to suggest James believed that if a man’s faith is pronounced dead, it must therefore always have been dead. The assumption that a dead faith has always been dead cannot be extracted from James’s text. It is nothing more than a theological idea read into the passage.1 It is also a desperate expedient intended to salvage some form of harmony between James and the doctrine of Paul.

But by distorting the true meaning of the text, this idea has given rise to immense confusion. This confusion has had a harmful impact on men’s comprehension of the Gospel of God’s saving grace.'''

B) A DEAD FAITH WAS ONCE USEFUL FOR SECURING ETERNAL LIFE

There are some who maintain that just as a deceased physical body which is now without the human spirit is dead and useless, so faith which is without works was always dead and useless - having never effected salvation unto eternal life in that individual when it was first expressed alone in Christ alone as Savior. However, just as a dead man was once alive and useful and just as a car battery which is now dead, was once useful in starting the car, but now, being dead, is now useless; so a faith in Christ as Saviour, which is now without works, was still once useful to receive eternal life - once for all time, (Eph 1:13-14). But now that same faith, without further works, is useless to produce anything else. But notice that it did operate at one time so that the individual is saved unto eternal life no matter what:

1) [Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

Dr. Zane Hodges paraphrases verses 2:24-26 as follows: "In conclusion then, as you can see, a man can be vindicated [in one kind of way] by works as well as being vindicated [in another way] by faith. To illustrate, was not Rahab the prostitute obviously vindicated by her works, when she actively aided the spies to escape? Isn't that how she herself survived when everybody else in her city [except for herself and her family, Jas 2:17-21] died? The point is plain, when Christian faith is discounted from our works it has no more vitality or life preserving power than does a corpse which has been disconnected from its dynamic life giving human spirit."

XVII) CONCLUSION: JAMES CHAPTER 2

James is speaking to Christians. He is talking to them about their faith, as a creed, as a doctrinal belief. An inactive faith in terms of no divine good work production degenerates into a dead creed of beliefs. On the other hand, James says in verse 2:26 that production of divine good makes a believer's creed alive. So a dead faith can exist in a Christian with his loss of rewards and position in heaven and the accompanying discipline even unto a shortened lifespan on earth all due to that believer's lack of service for the Lord. But that very same believer who has a faith without works will not lose his salvation, (cp. 1 Cor 3:11-15). Incidentally, keeping one's faith active and operational with the receiving and obedience to the Word of God plus divine good work production enables the believer to live longer and take in stride what ever comes into his life because that faith is kept strong.

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