Are We Justified By “Faith Alone” or “Works & Faith?”

Romans 4:2
2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

It’s very clear in the above verse that Paul was telling the Romans that Abraham was not justified by works otherwise Abraham could have boast about it. So in Paul’s mind, works do not justify a person and we see this reiterated in Romans 3:27 and Galatians 2:16.

Romans 3:27
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Galatians 2:16
16Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and NOT by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Yet, James clearly stated that Abraham was justified by his works, and gives the example of the offering of Isaac. The key question to ask is what justifies a person. Paul says faith is all that is needed to justify. James’ example contradicts Paul’s teachings. James say that if it is faith alone it is useless and does not justify a person. The believer by his works show that he has faith. Works MUST follow as Jesus stated in Revelation 3:2, 15 and elsewhere.

James 2:21
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Ephesians 2:8-9
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

James wants to be clear on this and repeats this idea that faith alone is dead three times! (James 2:17, 20, 26) Then to add to that he stresses works completes a person’s faith five times, plus he uses Abraham and Rahab as examples in case the reader might miss the point (James 2:21, 25).

James 2:20
20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:17
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:22
22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:24
24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

James 2:26
26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Not only does Jesus and James contradicted Paul, but even Paul contradicted Paul. Take a look at what he wrote in Romans 2:13 on how a person becomes justified and compare it to what he wrote only a chapter later in Romans 3:20. This is not the only place he contradicted himself. The Pharisee of Tarsus shoots himself in the foot by preaching works in one place and denouncing it in another. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees!

Romans 2:13
13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Romans 3:20
20Therefore by the deeds (works) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Acts 26:20
20But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Not only do James and Paul differ on what justifies a person, but by their passages they point out the difference in when Abraham was justified. In Romans 4:3, Paul taught that Abraham was justified when he believed God, and that was credited to him as righteousness, which referenced Genesis 15:6, the period prior to the birth of Isaac. When James gives his example, he points out the Abraham was justified by his obedience to God’s command to sacrifice Isaac which is at least thirty years later. Paul preached a mental acknowledgment is all it takes to belong to Christ, but James teaches that is not so, saying even the devils believe. A disciple is not a disciple because he believes, even devils believe, a disciple is a disciple if he does the will of God.

Being a disciple of Yashua is more than just having faith. It requires obedience to the Law and commandments, repentance, good deeds, love, forgiveness, etc. Paul makes justification contingent on faith alone, and James clearly refuted this ridiculous notion.

Revelation 3:2
2Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Revelation 3:15
15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

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