Faith Without Works

Q. I’m pretty new to the study of God’s Word, but I am trying my best to get up to speed.

James 2:14-26 is giving me fits, referring several times to faith without works being dead. It seems to contradict justification by faith alone as well as having implications to once-saved-always-saved. I believe and will continue to believe that works are a product of thankfulness for salvation due to the completed work of our Savior on the cross. There must be a logical reconciliation but so far it has eluded me. What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance and may the Lord bless.

A. There’s a famous old quote that goes, “If what you believe doesn’t result in action, it’s doubtful that you really believe it.” James could have written that.

The so-called good works he referred to are changes in behavior and outlook that are outward evidence of an inner faith. They are also things we do for others solely out of gratitude for what the Lord has done for us.

Eventually, to quote another phrase that James could have coined, the absence of evidence could be construed as evidence of absence.

However to this I would add the Lord’s admonition from 1 Cor. 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

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