Stress-testing the
mind of Christ

Where a recovering ex-atheist rams the Bible into other worldviews to see what breaks (note: Scripture cannot be broken)


series
Who are the Christians? Part 5: salvation and works

Continued from part 4 « Although I gave consideration, in part 4, to the place of works in salvation, there are a number of items which still bear discussion if I am to complete the examination of this topic. Of particular importance is a treatment of the comments which James makes about the place of […]

Continued from part 4 «

Although I gave consideration, in part 4, to the place of works in salvation, there are a number of items which still bear discussion if I am to complete the examination of this topic. Of particular importance is a treatment of the comments which James makes about the place of works, because these are so commonly pitted against the statements Paul makes.

Now, if Scripture is clear about anything, it is clear that works cannot contribute to our justification—that is, applying the term justification in the precise way that theologians today do: works cannot contribute to our righteousness before God. This is because all our own righteousness is like a filthy menstrual rag in God’s eyes (Is 64:6)—it is so entirely polluted by sin that it is worthless. This is no less true after we have faith than before; in fact, it is only if we do have faith that it applies in a meaningful sense at all. Before faith we could do nothing to please God, regardless of how righteous it seemed to us or others, because whatever does not proceed from faith is in fact sin (Heb 11:6; Rom 14:23). It is therefore utterly impossible to have any righteousness in God’s eyes whatsoever apart from faith. The only righteousness the unbeliever can attain is self-righteousness. As I said in ‘The Means Of Salvation’ (part 3 of my series ‘On Strawmen’), anything a non-believer does, no matter how it may benefit others, is sin; because every action of his is done in defiance to God. Though he may recognize the law of God written on his heart, he does not honor its author. This law therefore condemns him, even though he follows it. It is only humanistic thinking which judges the moral value of a man’s actions by how those actions affect other humans.

This brings us back to the very point at hand: Scripture’s clear teaching that our works cannot and do not contribute to our righteousness before God. We are justified by Christ’s righteousness imputed to us—we do not need to add to this through our own efforts, for it is sufficient; and neither can we, for we are impotent:

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20).

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom 3:28).

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified (Gal 2:16).

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Gal 3:11).

I encourage you to read Romans 3, and Galatians 2-3, to understand the full context of these passages, and to see for yourself that I am using them correctly. I say this particularly because the challenge will be made, by Catholics and other false believers, as well as perhaps by misguided but genuine Christians, that this teaching is directly contradicted by James:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24).

If understanding context is vital, then it is particularly so in the case of this verse. As it stands, removed from its larger setting, it seems quite clear; and if it is clear, it is clearly in contradiction to everything I have stated so far about the nature of justification. So let me recall to your mind what I said earlier in this series about the sometimes ambiguous way in which certain words are used in Scripture. Their meanings are not necessarily consistent, even when used by the same writer. Just as in English, Greek words can have a wide semantic range, and the precise meaning must be determined from the context in which it is used. People, for some reason, often treat this elementary fact of exegesis with suspicion; as if, when I affirm it, I am trying to make an excuse, or justify interpreting a word as meaning one thing in one place, and another thing in another place. This is particularly common among unbelievers; which is to be expected. Since they are already biased toward a simple-minded and ignorant reading of Scripture, any attempt to treat it as one would a normal text written in a normal language—where nuances of meaning are typical and interpretation depends on the context—is treated as “mental gymnastics” and “twisting” and “stretching” the text, and all sorts of other absurd and emotionally loaded terms.

In the case of James 2:24, we must then firstly ask if James is addressing the same topic that Paul is in the previously-quoted verses. Now perhaps confusion is possible here, because if we say that the topic is the mechanism of being counted righteous before God, then it seems as if James and Paul are discussing exactly the same subject. But that is not really the case, because Paul is specifically talking about being counted righteous by faith as opposed to being counted righteous by following the law; while James is talking about being counted righteous by saving faith, as opposed to being counted righteous by mere belief. In other words, although the topic is, broadly speaking, justification, the specific question being addressed is entirely different.

Paul is concerned with demonstrating that it is impossible for us to do anything which will make us righteous in God’s sight. About this fact James surely is in agreement, for he says in 2:10, “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” This is why his readers, Jews, are not to act as if they were any longer under the law—because, being reconciled to God, they are now under the “law of liberty” (v 12), which is what actually leads him into his discussion about works being necessary, along with faith. But does this not sound exactly like Paul? “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom 7:4). What are the fruit we are to bear? They are good works.

Similarly, Paul’s discourse regarding love in 1 Corinthians 13 places a clear emphasis on works—on the sorts of fruits of the Spirit which we know Christians exhibit (in greater or lesser quantities). Paul says that love is greater than faith. Is he therefore saying that love justifies us before God? Of course not; I have shown that he is clear that we are justified by faith. But what kind of faith? Will a faith without love justify us? Would such a faith in fact be the kind of which he speaks when he says that “no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith'”? Does not living by faith imply action of some kind?

By asking these sorts of questions, we move from the topic which Paul generally discusses, as in Galatians, of faith versus law; to the topic which James is discussing, of saving faith versus the faith that even demons have. It is evident that this is indeed his topic, because he starts by saying, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? […] faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (v 14, 17). Something which is often overlooked in the question, “can that faith save him?” is that it presupposes that salvation is by faith. James is not here saying that faith is insufficient for salvation; he is saying that faith has two kinds: the “living” faith which saves, and the “dead” faith which does not. How do we know if we have living faith? If we have a faith which produces works. Dead faith does not produce works.

The key passage to examine when trying to understand James is in verses 21-24:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

The passage starts and ends with statements that a person is justified by works as well as by faith. These statements act as parentheses around the text inside—they lead in, and they lead out again. So in order to understand what James means by these parenthetical statements, we must refer to the enclosed text.

Firstly, we note that James states that Abraham’s faith was active along with his works and was completed by them. The implication to be drawn from this is twofold: that the works alone would have been insufficient to credit righteousness; and that the works were a result of faith—they “completed” the faith.

Secondly, we find that this combination of faith and works; of works completing faith; fulfills the Scripture which says “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”. In other words,

What James is doing is identifying that to “believe God” in a way that God will count as righteousness (ie, in a way which justifies us) involves more than merely having faith in the sense that some of his readers obviously are claiming (vv 18 and 20). This sort of faith, the sort of faith which hyper-Calvinists rely upon—even the demons have that! So rather than contradicting the doctrine of justification by faith alone, James is in fact explaining its meaning, and showing that we are counted righteous by a functional faith; not what might today be called “mere intellectual assent”. Now, genuine intellectual assent is faith, but a genuine intellectual assent would produce works, because works of course are directed by the mind, and only a mind genuinely in assent to the gospel will produce works. It is certainly possible to assent to the proposition that Jesus is Lord; but that is not the same as assenting to obey him and trust him, as the gospel requires.

It may seem strange to us, in a culture which is characterized in large part by its tendency to define and to categorize, that James speaks of faith and works together in this way to refer to genuine belief. Indeed, it is likely that many well-meaning Christians will read everything I have read, and say, “But Bnonn, whatever way you try to explain it, James still says that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone!” We can dispense with the latter part of the objection simply by pointing out that “faith alone” here is faith with works; and then show that the former part relies on an artificial distinction which we raise because we treat even inviolably linked things as being separate unto themselves.

What I mean is, we treat faith as belief, and works as actions. We recognize that works are intrinsic to real faith, but we break the two apart because we see a distinction between them; and, since it is faith which justifies, and works are separate from faith, we then say that works do not justify. But this is not the way the Jews thought. As much as we tend to separate and categorize, they tended to treat things holistically: a way of thinking referred to as the Semitic Totality Concept. We see this reflected in the way that man himself is thought of in the Bible. Sometimes we find that man has a soul (an immaterial mind), as in Genesis 35:18; sometimes we find that man is a soul, as in Psalm 7:2. Since the soul and body are so intrinsically linked, such that there is no complete person without both, there is no error to the Jewish way of thinking in equivocating in this manner. Similarly, James, writing to a Jewish audience, sees no error in equivocating between works and belief: separating these two things, which together make up saving faith—and then saying that works justify just as belief justifies. However, his doing so is made a little confusing by the fact that he uses the term faith to refer merely to the belief aspect of saving faith; yet in speaking of Abraham, he uses the term belief to refer to saving faith itself. So we must be careful, as we read his epistle, to keep track of his meaning by extension, rather than intention. In other words, we must recognize that what he means by faith and belief can change depending on the setting in which he uses these words. Their meaning is not fixed within them, but without.

Simply put, then, James neither contradicts Paul or the rest of Scripture regarding the nature of faith; nor does he teach that works contribute to our redemption and standing before God. Although at a glance it is easy to construe this from his epistle, a comparison to the rest of Scripture, and a careful consideration of his words and reasoning, show otherwise. It remains that Christians, those elected by God, are those people who believe the word of God, trusting purely in the work of Christ revealed therein for their salvation, and producing good works in love, in accordance with their faith.

18 comments

  1. Ben

    Something which is often overlooked in the question, “can that faith save him?” is that it presupposes that salvation is by faith.

    What do you mean by that?

  2. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Certainly. The point of James’ question is to illustrate the kind of faith which saves. By asking “can that faith save him?” he is at once implying that it cannot, and that some other faith can. His point is not that faith does not save, but that the particular kind of faith under discussion does not. In effect, he is saying, “The kind of faith which saves is not the kind of faith which you have. Conversely, the kind of faith which you have is not the kind of faith which saves.” In order for that to be a sensible statement, there must actually be a kind of faith which does save.

    Let me put it this way: James clearly states that the faith his readers have does not save. Let’s call that Faith 1. But his statement “can that faith save him?” does not mean that no faith can save. It only means that Faith 1 cannot. He goes on to compare Faith 1 with the kind that Abraham had. Let’s call that Faith 2. His intent is not to say that Faith (1 and 2) cannot save, but rather that Faith 1 cannot save because only Faith 2 can.

    Hopefully this clarifies my former, perhaps somewhat cryptic remark.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  3. Ben

    Yes, that clarifies it for me. Thank you for taking the time to address my question.

  4. seer

    “Let me put it this way: James clearly states that the faith his readers have does not save. Let’s call that Faith 1. But his statement “can that faith save him?” does not mean that no faith can save. It only means that Faith 1 cannot. He goes on to compare Faith 1 with the kind that Abraham had. Let’s call that Faith 2. His intent is not to say that Faith (1 and 2) cannot save, but rather that Faith 1 cannot save because only Faith 2 can.”

    So Bnonn, which kind of faith is the faith in verse 24? Faith one or faith two?

  5. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    The same kind of faith as is mentioned in verse 26, Jim.

  6. seer

    So Bnonn, is that Faith 1 or faith 2? Love Jim… ; )

  7. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Clearly, Jim, non-saving faith is in view in verses 24-26; so Faith 1.

  8. seer

    Clearly, Jim, non-saving faith is in view in verses 24-26; so Faith 1.

    Ok, so a man is saved by works and not non-saving faith alone?

    So non-saving faith and works save?

  9. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Exactly—or, more precisely, a man is saved by a faith which produces works.

    How was I unclear in this article, that you are having to ask this, Jim?

  10. seer

    Bnonn, listen to what you agreed with:

    “non-saving faith and works save”

    Don’t you get it? James does not believe that faith can save, even the genuine faith of Abraham.

  11. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Actually, Jim, I was quite careful when replying. No offense, but I think it is you who does not get it. James does indeed believe that faith alone saves; indeed, he presupposes it in his letter. He does not, however, believe that faith which does not produce works saves. His concern is Faith 1, which is non-saving faith. He is seeking to show that Faith 2, saving faith, produces works. He is not treating faith as an intellectual assent devoid of outworking in the life. He is viewing real faith and the works it produces as a totality, just as we should expect (remember Semitic totality). Paul probably does this as well, as I’ve briefly mentioned in this article by way of comparing him and James—but the way in which he discusses faith, and his focus in doing so is different, and so it is not as evident. Also, he is writing largely to Greeks, so I imagine the difference in thinking between Jews and gentiles would have caused the same confusion among them that you yourself are evidencing, had he spoken as James does.

    It is really quite clear that James believes that Abraham was saved by faith, because he says that faith was “completed” by his works. In other words, the works began from faith, and in fact made that faith genuine, so that the Scripture was fulfilled that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Imagine if Abraham had said, “Okay, I believe you God. I believe that I will have a son of my own”—but then he had gone out and adopted a bunch of sons just in case. Would he really have believed God then? No, of course not. His works would show that his faith was not genuine. But instead, he acted in accordance with his belief, thus showing that he really did believe, and so his faith was “completed”. His works did not justify him, but the faith which produced them did, and they are inseparable from that faith. They are one whole; a totality. The works do not contribute to redemption in the sense of earning anything, but they are part of the faith which does contribute to redemption. That is the point that James is trying to make. He really does think that faith alone saves; he just doesn’t think that saving faith is ever alone.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  12. seer

    First Bnonn, that is incorrect. James clearly says that Abraham was justified by works vs.21. Second we are still left with verse 24 reading that a man is justified by works and not a “non-saving” faith alone. Which is nonsensical.

    So a non saving faith + works = justification.

    No where does James even suggest that a man can be justified by faith alone. As a matter of fact just the opposite – he asked can “faith” save? Of course the answer is no.

    BTW you quoted “can that faith save him?”

    “that” is memory serves is not in the greek – the King James rightly leaves it out.

    I wish I had more computer time… Jim…

  13. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Jim, honestly, it looks like you are coming to this passage determined to make it say that works are required to justify, instead of letting it speak for itself.

    First, yes, it says that Abraham was justified by works. But what is the context of this statement? Is James using the word “justified” in the same way that Paul is? Is he saying that Abraham’s works actually contributed to his redemption; that they added to the work of Christ? It certainly doesn’t look that way when you consider how James is talking about faith itself. He is counting the works as a part of faith. I don’t know how to say this any more clearly. The works he is talking about here are encapsulated in the phrase “and Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”.

    What justified Abraham, so that he was counted righteous, according to James? Was it his works? If you take verse 21 by itself then yes. But if you actually read the whole passage and see how verse 21 is explained by the verses following, we discover that it was his belief. Jim, James is not trying to explain the nature of justification. Unlike Paul, he isn’t concerned with showing that works are useless to save us, and that justification is by faith alone. In fact, his topic is the exact opposite: he is concerned with people who think that because justification is by faith alone, works are useless altogether! He is correcting them, showing that works are a part of saving faith just as the spirit is part of a living body. Does that mean the works themselves count toward our righteousness; that they add to the work of Christ? Well, does my spirit being part of my living body mean that I am typing these words with my spirit? Only inasmuch as the action is mediated through my body. But could I type without it? Of course not. So you see that a person must type by the spirit as well as by the body. Tell me though, Jim, when I say that, do you think I mean that my spirit itself does the typing?

    I didn’t think so. So why are you having such difficulty with James’ meaning?

    Secondly, your equation is all shot to hell. You are trying to infer that, since “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone”, and since “faith” here obviously is referring to non-saving faith, it must be the case that a person is justified by works + non-saving faith. But again, James is drawing a distinction between the faith that even demons have, and the faith that saved Christians have. He is saying that a person is justified by a faith which produces works, and not by an intellectual apprehension alone. I admit that his highly ambiguous use of the term “faith” is confusing, because we are accustomed, in modern systematic theology, to having it mean “saving faith”. But quite obviously that is not how James uses it. He uses it to describe an intellectual apprehension of the facts of the gospel. This does not save. However, an intellectual apprehension which leads to works, that is, the fruit of the gospel—that faith does save. Again, the whole of James’ letter is presupposing justification by faith alone, but it is explaining the nature of that faith which justifies. It is acknowledging that one can believe, as the demons do, and call this faith—but this faith does not save. Only faith which produces works can save. Only intellectual apprehension + resulting works = belief counted as righteousness.

    Thirdly, verse 14 states in the Greek, “can the faith save him?” There is a definite article, but it is not confined to a singular meaning as the word “the” is in English. In the context of James’ question, it is quite accurate to translate it as “can that faith save him” or “can such faith save him” (NIV).

    I honestly don’t know how much more clearly I can explain any of this Jim. If you start with the presupposition that James is at odds with Paul, you will find ways to make it so. If you start with the presupposition that he really believes works contribute to our redemption, the verses which you have already quoted will jump out of the page and will not fall into their natural place in the larger passage, and so you will be unable to harmonize them with the rest of Scripture. And you can read James that way, and it can still make a semblance of sense. You won’t notice that you are mangling James’ words, just as Arminians don’t notice that they are mangling Paul’s words when they interpret “election” as something passive which God applies to us after we actually elect ourselves. But if you start with the presupposition that James is harmonious with Scripture, as you should, and make an effort to carefully work through the meaning of his words, you will find that not only does what he says make a lot more sense, and agree with Paul, but that he himself presupposes throughout his discussion that we are saved by faith alone. He is not trying to correct his readers and tell them that they are saved by works (especially not works of the law). He is trying to correct his readers and tell them that the faith by which they are saved—notice the presupposition that faith saves—is a living faith which produces fruit. How is that any different to what Paul says, what Jesus says, what the whole Bible says?

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  14. natamllc

    Bnonn

    Hi,

    I don’t understand my computer. I just discovered that I have to click on your banner to come to current time and date.

    Anyway, this is an interesting goings on in here.

    Would you touch on my statement as your sharp sword is hardened and can sharpen mine!

    Saving Faith has “works” attached to it.

    Saving Faith=Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

    Works+Saving Faith=Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.

    It’s God’s Faith Christ did for us on the cursed tree.

    That death is the “Works” which hopefully we all realizes is the only Works of Saving Faith, Christ’s Faith, dying on the cursed tree.

    So James is saying, it’s Christ’s Faith and it is Christ’s Work.

    I and you and “all” the Gift of Faith is given to by the Gift of Grace, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are saved by Works, His not ours.

    Faith without Works indeed is dead just like a person without a spirit, soul and body in there flesh is just a decomposing mass of drying up dirt.

    So, for me, taking the Sacraments is all the “works” I need to join me to Saving Faith.

    Ok, that’s a mouth full and I suppose you will unpack it for us too?

    Michael

    By the way, the flesh, have you studied those “parts” in Job?

    Look at Job seven. Wow, I see all the parts, spirit, soul, body and flesh. Also the heart and mind too.

  15. natamllc

    One more thing about it that might help bring clarity to the Faith and the Works in my remarks.

    Remember that the demons “believe”.

    What they do not do is take the Sacraments as we, Christ’s Body are commanded to take:

    Mat 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
    Mat 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,
    Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    Mat 26:29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

    Luk 22:14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.
    Luk 22:15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
    Luk 22:16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
    Luk 22:17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
    Luk 22:18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
    Luk 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

    Indeed the demons believe and shudder remembering that event!

    Michael

  16. natamllc

    Bnonn

    this morning in the “place” of prayer and praying, this came to me to post in here the best “two” examples of your lesson from James 2, faith with and faith without works.

    Act 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
    Act 16:14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
    Act 16:15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
    Act 16:16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.
    Act 16:17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
    Act 16:18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
    Act 16:19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

    As you read these verses we are looking at two women, Lydia and the slave girl.

    Look at the “faith” of each, Lydia and the slave girl.

    Both “knew” both who Paul is and who Christ is by Faith.

    But to Lydia, by her or rather “His” gift of “Faith” working in her life she received, produced the consequence of the Gift of Faith working in her, Salvation.

    But to the slave girl, her or rather the same “Faith” as Lydia, but “imparted” into her by a “spirit of divination” i.e. a demon, her “faith”‘s consequence was quite different.

    Faith without Works, or in this case what I am putting forth here is the works of “the Gift of Faith” is the partaking of the Sacraments, which by so taking we are doing “the works” of Faith, that is coming into obedience to Christ by believing what He said then do, “take eat”, this is my “Body”, “take drink”, this is the “New Covenant” in my Blood results in and as the consequence of the Faith delivered to us, which is: the “Salvation” of our soul.

    Michael

  17. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Michael, James clearly does not have the sacraments in mind. Of the works he cites as evidence of saving faith, he never once mentions the sacraments. To make the sacraments necessary to salvation is to commit the same error as the Catholics, and lose the gospel entirely.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  18. natamllc

    Bnonn

    again, thank you for your kindness and clarity.

    But I pray thee tell, where do you see that that is my intent?

    No, rather, I was swinging open wide the doors of the “Church” house so that “after” the work of partaking of the Sacraments, which is indeed a Work of Faith too, we would promptly walk through those doors in the Name of the Lord and help out the poor as Our Dear Lord said:

    Mat 26:1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,
    Mat 26:2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
    Mat 26:3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas,
    Mat 26:4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
    Mat 26:5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
    Mat 26:6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
    Mat 26:7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
    Mat 26:8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?
    Mat 26:9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”
    Mat 26:10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.
    Mat 26:11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.
    Mat 26:12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.
    Mat 26:13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

    There is a work of Faith, “baptism” and the “partaking of the Sacraments” administered within the House of the Lord and then there is that more confrontational work upon our own soul, that is, the “work” of Faith that follows outside the House of the Lord into the world and it is to that I would point then, the next in line works by Faith, in the line of the “order” of things that the “Work” James speaks about gets us to doing:

    Mar 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
    Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
    Mar 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
    Mar 16:18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
    Mar 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
    Mar 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]

    Our dear brother Paul said as much about the “Works” of Faith this way and it should be our way of teaching too:

    Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

    Both these Apostles understood that Faith without works is “dead” Faith.

    We must be baptised and partakers of the Sacraments. How does that happen. Well consider this here and I do believe James was of this band of Apostles?,:

    Act 4:32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
    Act 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
    Act 4:34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
    Act 4:35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

    We must then take that work of Faith and go into the world with the “God of Peace” leading the way as we read about Philip here:

    Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.
    Act 8:36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

    I can and will gladly continue reasoning with you Bnonn if that there was not clarification enough for my intent and meaning of our Faith and Works that follow the Faith once delivered to the Saints, me too, that is, the meaning within my posts?

    michael

  I don’t post ill-considered articles and I don’t sponsor ill-considered comments. Take a moment to review what you’ve written…