JAMES FAITH AND WORKS?

1) James thought that he was important.
But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Galatians 2:6-9.
Note: Never consider yourself better than others.
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9.

2) James caused discrimination in the Antioch church.   
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:11-13.
Note: Never practice discrimination against other people.
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:10-11.

3) James never proclaimed Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. James 1:1.
Note: Jesus Christ wants Christians to be His witnesses to everyone.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

4) James taught works instead of confession as evidence of faith.
But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18.
Note: Confession of Jesus Christ is evidence of your faith in Him.
But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:40-43.

5) James taught works instead of confession as evidence of faith.
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? James 2:20-22.
Note: Confession of Jesus Christ is evidence of your faith in Him.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:8-9.

6) James misquoted Old Testament Scripture.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. James 2:21-23.
Note: Abraham believed God that Sarah would have his son.
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:4-6.

7) James misinterpreted Old Testament Scripture.
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:23-24.
Note: James was focused on his works as evidence of his faith.
What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Romans 4:1-4.

8) James taught works instead of confession as evidence of faith.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:25-26.
Note: Confession of Jesus Christ is evidence of your faith in Him.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23.

9) Martin Luther did not consider James theologically correct.
In his preface to the New Testament, Luther ascribed to several books of the New Testament different degrees of doctrinal value: "St. John's Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul's Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter's Epistle - these are the books which show to you Christ and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for you to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James' Epistle is a perfect straw epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind." Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

10) Catholics believe that your works will save you. (Catholic.com)
The context doesn’t suggest that James is speaking of salvation in a temporal sense. He doesn’t mention being saved from physical enemies, or of our salvation being confirmed in the sight of men. He is speaking of the actual gift of salvation that God grants us. And there are a few reasons to believe this. 

First, James tells us that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (v.17). Notice that James doesn’t say “dead in the sight of men.” He says faith itself is dead. In fact, he makes the point vividly by comparing it to a corpse: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead” (v.26). 

If James meant that our works merely justify us is in the sight of men, then our lack of works would have no negative effect on our faith itself. Our faith would only seem dead in the sight of men. But that would run contrary to what James actually tells us.

Moreover, it would make the parallel to a body without the spirit unintelligible. In what sense can the absence of the spirit have no negative effect on the body? 

Also, the three other times when James uses the word save (Gk. sozo) in his epistle, he uses it in reference to the salvation that God grants our souls (James 1:21; 4:12; 5:20). In light of such context, it’s reasonable to conclude that James is using the word in the same way in James 2:14. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note that the type of works that James lists as necessary for having a saving faith (clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, v.15) are the same type of works that Jesus says will merit eternal life: “inherit the kingdom prepared for you…for I was hungry and you gave me food…I was naked and you clothed me” (Matt. 25:35-36).  

It’s not unreasonable to conclude that James had this teaching in mind when he wrote of the corporal works of mercy (2:15). And if so, then the justification he has in mind is not one that is relative to the sight of men, but one that is wrought by God.

Note: Was the Epistle of James a rebuttal to Paul's Epistles?
If written by James the brother of Jesus, it would have been written sometime before AD 69 (or AD 62), when he was martyred. Jerusalem would also be the place of writing.
The majority of scholars writing on Romans propose the letter was written in late 55/early 56 or late 56/early 57. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.



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