The whole purpose of James 2 is to demonstrate to other professing believers in a horizontal way…
Vincent Lancon
1

//The whole purpose of James 2 is to demonstrate to other professing believers in a horizontal way that we have a true saving faith. It is not to prove we are saved by works.//

That’s baloney. James tells us,

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and [s]as a result of the works, faith was [t]perfected; 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. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 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? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:22–26

From these verses, we see three things,

  1. The exemplars in question perfected their faith with works. It was not a matter of distinguishing a true faith from false faith.
  2. Without such works, such faith is dead and of no justificatory value.
  3. James is not saying that works are demonstrations of faith, but that works cause faith to be sufficient. Otherwise, the term ‘alone’ would not be used.

//James 2: 18 clearly states this : “James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”//

And the very next verse says,

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! — James 2:19

The point is, neither works nor faith alone are sufficent, not that faith is sufficent for justification. That’s why you need to look at the whole context.

//On the other hand Ephesians 2:8–10 also clearly shows that we are saved first and good works are a result of being saved…NOT what saves us. “Eph 2:8–10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”//

Both one’s faith and works are a result of Grace, that is why no one may boast. No one claims that salvation is anything other than the Lord’s to give, or that it is by our own hand. The works necessary to justification are as much the doing of God as our faith is.

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