Are Arminians "works" salvationists?!

dizerner

Well-known member
A study on the word "works" in James and Paul:

One tricky little argument Calvinists use is that Armininians are "works salvationists." Yet if we study James 2, and believe this is in fact the inspired Bible, we see James specifically says faith alone does not save—in fact he makes a big point of it. Does this ruin the whole faith/works dichotomy that the Reformation set up for us? Only if we misunderstand the term works and start equivocating with it. If we make the word “works” both: anything we might theoretically do; and also something that never can be a part in saving us: Calvinistic double predestination necessarily logically follows. In fact, by giving them that one point, there is no way to avoid their conclusions.

But that point does not need to be granted them. There is, in fact, a different kind of works and we can prove James is not using works of the Law here. It's quite an easy harmonization to simply assert, not all works, are works of the law, and show in fact, a logical existence of something that could be defined as a “non-meritorious work,” that is, an action that produces a result without earning it (much like reaching out to receive a gift). James says a faith without works cannot save, explicitly and forthrightly:

What is the profit, my brethren, if faith, any one may speak of having, and works he may not have? is that faith able to save him? (Jam 2:14 YLT)


The implied answer here is clearly, “no.” In case we try to squeak around that somehow, he repeats the point with more force:

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (Jam 2:24 NKJ)


This is a very clear statement. How are we to harmonize this with Paul’s declaration, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”? Not, as many Lordship Salvationists do, by somehow twisting this into "works just necessarily follow without contributing." If something necessarily follows, it cannot logically be a part of the cause, it cannot be the "by" the thing, the instrumental means. That is, it should say "justified with works" instead of "by works," the cause resulting in another condition. Faith is clearly laid out by Paul as the instrumental cause of salvation, and James here adds that this faith needs works along with it. So how do we know the works James tells us here, are not works of the law? By considering the works James gives us as an example.

1) Abraham attempting to kill his son.
2) Rahab lying to save the spies.

James switches sharply from altruism, when he had plenty of OT examples of altruism to work from, and this is significant, for he is not saying the altruism justified apart from trusting the work of grace Christ wrought for us on the Cross. When James says, “I will show my faith by my works,” but in the same place says breaking one law breaks the entire law completely and constitutes you a law-breaker, we know he is talking of a kind of works that are not works of the law, because James just admitted everyone's works must necessarily break the law in some sense, because when they broke one law they broke them all, necessarily breaking it due to everyone's necessary moral imperfections. If James wanted to be clear that good works were what merits our justification, he would have used only positive works as an example of a salvific work, works that more clearly exhibited the moral and/or ceremonial laws that were at the heart of the Mosaic Law, but instead James references a "Royal Law" which he later describes as "The Law of Freedom," meaning it cannot be obligatory or demanding upon us.

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jam 2:22 NKJ)
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Jam 2:26 NKJ)
Rahab the harlot also justified by works (Jam 2:25 NKJ)


We cannot now claim the Bible nowhere associates the idea or word of “works” with salvation or being made righteous, if we see this as salvific. There are several proofs James 2 is talking about a salvific justification: Firstly, the oft used "justified before men" is both not anywhere in the passage, and justifying before men is straight out condemned by Christ and would not be advocated (Luke 16:15). James is clearly addressing Paul, to clarify ways he felt Paul was being misunderstood, and Paul was using justification in a salvific sense used with faith. James uses legal language describing relation to Law, that which relates to man salvifically: transgress or fulfill; convicted and guilty of all or heirs of the kingdom; all final judgment language—declared righteous, judgment without mercy, was made perfect (compare Jesus saying “be perfect” and “it is perfected”). So in the end, the phrases “doing well” and “profiting” are thus to be seen in a context, not as that which profits materially above salvific faith, but that which actually leads to the profit of salvific faith, above demons—a non-dead faith.

We might begin thinking, “I’m concerned that I would be adding my own merit to faith by adding an action.” But this is just religious dogma that has been foisted constantly upon our thinking, it does not actually stem from the Bible or logic itself. It's versions of the much used arguments, "What makes you different then someone who rejects salvation?", or "If your choice determines you got saved, then you get all the credit." The Calvinist is forcing a false dichotomy here: either something is a meritorious work, or it is no work at all. Once you accept that, you are inevitably led down the trail to removing all volitional activity, and God alone decides who is saved because otherwise we contribute “works.” This is also why the same logic that if you can reject the atonement, that means you are necessarily attempting to merit the atonement, fails for defending eternal security—a free will decision is not necessarily attempting to merit something, it can be a choice made with a non-relation to merit altogether.

If we free ourselves from that logical error, we can show the non-sequitur of insisting that actions which produce results are necessarily meritorious in nature, and then have a salvation that is contingent upon our actions without it necessitating any merit (both before and after regeneration). Otherwise you will automatically feel like all works are bad and there is no such thing as a non-meritorious work, leading you right into the trap of unconditional salvation, for all free will decisions will be called works attempting to merit salvation, even the mere bare acceptance of faith in Christ. The Calvinist can call your version of faith a work because it’s contingent upon something you do. But he is simply leading you to a false dichotomy, that something has to be earning it if it produces a result.

The "obligation" to works then, is not an obligation to meet some percentage demand of perfection and partially fulfill the Law of God—it is a simple obligation to accept and allow a measure of God's grace to do its work within us, producing a changed nature and faith in the Cross-work, empowering us to exhibit that faith by what we do in some way, even in as simple a way as the thief next to Christ who exhibited the good work of faith-filled and humble words admitting his sin and asking Christ to remember him. These works are not pure and meriting and righteous—they are facilitating grace. If I do something, and then something results from what I do, that does not logically mean I merited the result. This is a weird non-sequitur Calvinists often throw out there and it's strange how it seems to convince people. If I receive a gift, that does not mean I merited the gift. That simply does not logically follow.

And thus free will decisions that allow grace to work in our lives bring us no credit or glory or merit towards our salvation. These are "non-meritorious works," and we can see their presence illustrated from the passage on works in James. Of course, people often use "faith alone" in a condensed imprecise way, to mean "not by any human merit," rather than "nothing you do matters salvifically." Thus, in a sense, they already allow a faith that produces an non-meriting action of some kind. It really should be more precisely stated as "salvation by non-merit," and people should stop using "salvation by faith alone" in this imprecise way. We still have to do certain things to show our faith. Non-meritorious works solve all the tensions and paradoxes concerning faith and works.
 
We've had this discussion before but here goes... here....

I am fearful that many Arminianians are "works salvationists". No man answers to me. I'm the judge of no man. Let God be true and every man a liar. I don't have the power to ascertain the salvation of all men. I'm not God. I leave that to Him. So says the Scriptures.

2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

I'm going to ask a simple question. I ask that you answer clearly. There is a timing issue here that you're ignoring with your complex argument above.

When was Abraham justified?
 
Last edited:
When was Abraham justified?

Abraham was justified from the moment he believed into all eternity.

If you mean "when was he FIRST justified," that would be when he believed God.

If you claim "that is the ONLY time he was justified" that would not logically follow.

Abraham was justified continually:

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jas. 2:22 NKJ)

Now the point you need to take away here is this:

An imperfect faith still saves.
 
Abraham was justified from the moment he believed into all eternity.

If you mean "when was he FIRST justified," that would be when he believed God.

If you claim "that is the ONLY time he was justified" that would not logically follow.

Abraham was justified continually:

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jas. 2:22 NKJ)

Now the point you need to take away here is this:

An imperfect faith still saves.

I believe you are appealing to James' comment "was made perfect" relative to a salvific condition.

If Abraham was "first" justified and then made perfect, you're present a salvific requirement.

Paul deals with this in Romans 4:10

Rom 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Abraham was given a "sign" a "seal".

Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

I believe you must be saying that Abraham wasn't actually "perfected" in justification until 25 years afterward.

Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 
I believe you must be saying that Abraham wasn't actually "perfected" in justification until 25 years afterward.

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

I hope—you are not claiming we have perfect faith when we FIRST believe.

Otherwise what a pointless promise that he "will perfect you to the day of Christ Jesus."

When we see him—in glory—is the only absolute state of perfection.
 
I hope—you are not claiming we have perfect faith when we FIRST believe.

Nope. :)

Might you be conflating faith with justification?


Otherwise what a pointless promise that he "will perfect you to the day of Christ Jesus."

When we see him—in glory—is the only absolute state of perfection.

It is not faith that has the power here.

God can make us stand.....

Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Brother, I don't want to discount faith at all. Just recognize its proper place. Except the Lord work in us, we have no hope. He does the heavy lifting and brings perfection TO us. I will not speak of myself here. I'll wait for Him to speak mercy to me.

Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
 
It is not faith that has the power here.

I like the idea of a light switch.

Now, the real power is in the power plant right—what is the switch going to do without any infrastructure and power behind it?


Yet, you flip that switch, THAT is when the light goes on.


Now I ask you—did you "contribute" to the power?

Or did you merely "allow" it?


And that is why dirty-rag faith still saves, and required actions are not earning salvation.
 
I like the idea of a light switch.

Now, the real power is in the power plant right—what is the switch going to do without any infrastructure and power behind it?


Yet, you flip that switch, THAT is when the light goes on.


Now I ask you—did you "contribute" to the power?

Or did you merely "allow" it?


And that is why dirty-rag faith still saves, and required actions are not earning salvation.

I can accept the merits of faith. I'm not rejecting that merit. It exists and it should be universally recognized. I believe the danger here is that some see a level of meriting effort in faith.

We trust in the work of another. That is the most we can ever do in the face of what God has so graciously done for us.
 
I can accept the merits of faith. I'm not rejecting that merit. It exists and it should be universally recognized. I believe the danger here is that some see a level of meriting effort in faith.

No, no, no, no, no, NO, NO!!!!
Not "the merits of faith," GOD NO! Lol.

This is the source of the whole deception and confusion, this idea of "meriting faith."

As if dirty, unworthy hands reaching out for salvation, have to "clean themselves" first to be worthy of being cleaned.

As if you have to GET SAVED first to be finally good enough to GET SAVED after, like the idea behind regeneration before faith.

We come with unworthy, dirty, stinking, vile, black, filthy hands to receive the purest and most virtuous salvation that could ever be.

Jesus is the sanctifying agent, faith does not merit anything.

We trust in the work of another. That is the most we can ever do in the face of what God has so graciously done for us.

And we admit God enables us to believe and faith is a gift.

But never a meriting gift, that violates the whole system.

A sinful and imperfect action produces purity.

Only the grace of God could accomplish this.
 
No, no, no, no, no, NO, NO!!!!
Not "the merits of faith," GOD NO! Lol.

This is the source of the whole deception and confusion, this idea of "meriting faith."

As if dirty, unworthy hands reaching out for salvation, have to "clean themselves" first to be worthy of being cleaned.

As if you have to GET SAVED first to be finally good enough to GET SAVED after, like the idea behind regeneration before faith.

We come with unworthy, dirty, stinking, vile, black, filthy hands to receive the purest and most virtuous salvation that could ever be.

Jesus is the sanctifying agent, faith does not merit anything.



And we admit God enables us to believe and faith is a gift.

But never a meriting gift, that violates the whole system.

A sinful and imperfect action produces purity.

Only the grace of God could accomplish this.

You misunderstand my comments. I'm referencing God's determination of the value of faith. Faith pleases God. Not from an perspective of "earning" anything. Which is why I provided the contrast I did.

I do believe that some see "worthiness" in faith. I am denying such. However, I do believe many do not understand the difference.
 
Last edited:
I believe you are appealing to James' comment "was made perfect" relative to a salvific condition.

If Abraham was "first" justified and then made perfect, you're present a salvific requirement.

Paul deals with this in Romans 4:10

Rom 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Abraham was given a "sign" a "seal".

Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

I believe you must be saying that Abraham wasn't actually "perfected" in justification until 25 years afterward.

Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
4:9 The question of Rom. 4:9 expects a "no" answer. God accepts all people, even Gentiles, by faith (see note at Rom. 3:24). Genesis 15:6 is quoted again. Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, was reckoned righteous (cf. Genesis 15) before the Law of Moses (Rom. 4:13) and before he was circumcised (cf. Genesis 17).

4:10-11 "the sign of circumcision, a seal of righteousness of faith" After Abraham had been called and reckoned as righteous, God gave him circumcision as a covenant sign (Gen. 17:9-14). All the peoples of the Ancient Near East were circumcised except the Philistines who were of Greek origin from the Aegean Islands. For the other cultures of the ANE, circumcision was a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. In Jewish life it was a religious symbol of covenant membership, performed on males on the eighth day after birth.

In this verse "sign" and "seal" are parallel and both refer to Abraham's faith. Circumcision was a visible mark of one who exercised faith in God. The GENITIVE phrase "of the righteousness of faith" is repeated in Rom. 4:13. The key to being declared right with a holy God was not circumcision, but faith.



4:11 "that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised" The book of Romans was written after the book of Galatians. Paul was sensitive to the Jewish tendency of trusting in

their racial lineage (cf. Matt. 3:9; John 8:33,37,39)
the performance of the current Jewish interpretations of the Mosaic covenant (The Oral Tradition, or the tradition of the elders which was later written down and was called the Talmud)
Therefore, he used Abraham as the paradigm of all who believe by faith (father of believing, uncircumcised Gentiles, cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:29).



4:12 "follow in the steps" This was a military term (stoicheō) for soldiers marching in single file (cf. Acts 21:24; Gal. 5:25; 6:16; Phil. 3:16). Paul is speaking in this verse of Jews ("father of circumcision") who believe. Abraham is the father of all who exercise faith in God and His promises.

Because of the double ARTICLE (tois) it is possible that this second aspect ("following in the steps of") adds the concept of lifestyle faith (PRESENT MIDDLE [deponent] PARTICIPLE) and not a once-only faith. Salvation is an ongoing relationship, not just a decision or volitional moment.
 
You misunderstand my comments. I'm referencing God's determination of the value of faith. Faith pleases God. Not from an perspective of "earning" anything. Which is why I provided the contrast I did.

I do believe that some see "worthiness" in faith. I am denying such. However, I do believe many do not understand the difference.
Just to add-
FAITH, BELIEVE, OR TRUST

A. This is such an important term in the Bible (cf. Heb. 11:1,6). It is the subject of Jesus' early preaching (cf. Mark 1:15). There are at least two new covenant requirements: repentance and faith (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16,19; 20:21).



B. Its etymology

1. The term "faith" in the OT meant loyalty, fidelity, or trustworthiness and was a description of God's nature, not ours.

2. It came from a Hebrew term (emun, emunah, BDB 53, i.e., Hab. 2:4), which originally meant "to be sure or stable." Saving faith is

a. a person to welcome (i.e., personal trust, faith, cf. E. 1. below)

b. believing truths about that person (i.e., Scripture, cf. E. 5. below)


c. living a life like that person (i.e., Christlikeness)



C. Its OT usage

It must be emphasized that Abraham's faith was not in a future Messiah, but in God's promise that he would have a child and descendants (cf. Genesis 12:2; 15:2-5; 17:4-8; 18:14; Rom. 4:1-5).

Abraham responded to this promise by trusting in God - and His word. He still had doubts and concerns regarding this promise, which took thirteen years to be fulfilled. His imperfect faith, however, was accepted by God. God is willing to work with flawed human beings who respond to Him and His promises in faith, even if it is the size of a mustard seed (cf. Matt. 17:20) or mixed faith (cf. Mark 9:22-24).



D. Its NT usage

The term "believe" is from the Greek verb pisteuō or noun pistis, which is translated into English as "believe," "faith," or "trust." For example, the noun does not occur in the Gospel of John, but the verb is used often. In John 2:23-25 there is uncertainty as to the genuineness of the crowd's commitment to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Other examples of this superficial use of the term "believe" are in John 8:31-59 and Acts 8:13, 18-24. True biblical faith is more than an initial response. It must be followed by a process of discipleship (cf. Matt. 13:20-23,31-32; 28:19-20).



E. Its use with prepositions

1. eis means "into." This unique construction emphasizes believers putting their trust/faith in Jesus

a. into His name (John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 1 John 5:13)

b. into Him (John 2:11; 3:15,18; 4:39; 6:40; 7:5,31,39,48; 8:30; 9:36; 10:42; 11:45,48; 12:37,42; Matt. 18:6; Acts 10:43; Phil. 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:8)

c. into Me (John 6:35; 7:38; 11:25,26; 12:44,46; 14:1,12; 16:9; 17:20)

d. into the Son (John 3:36; 9:35; 1 John 5:10)

e. into Jesus (John 12:11; Acts 19:4; Gal. 2:16)

f. into Light (John 12:36)

g. into God (John 14:1)

2. ev means "in" as in John 3:15; Mark 1:15; Acts 5:14

3. epi means "in" or "upon," as in Matt. 27:42; Acts 9:42; 11:17; 16:31; 22:19; Rom. 4:5,24; 9:33; 10:11; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Pet. 2:6

4. the dative case with no preposition as in John 4:50; Gal. 3:6; Acts 18:8; 27:25; 1 John 3:23; 5:10

5. hoti, which means "believe that," gives content as to what to believe

a. Jesus is the Holy One of God (John 6:69)

b. Jesus is the I Am (John 8:24)

c. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him (John 10:38)

d. Jesus is the Messiah (John 11:27; 20:31)

e. Jesus is the Son of God (John 11:27; 20:31)

f. Jesus was sent by the Father (John 11:42; 17:8,21)

g. Jesus is one with the Father (John 14:10-11)

h. Jesus came from the Father (John 16:27,30)

i. Jesus identified Himself in the covenant name of the Father, "I Am" (John 8:24; 13:19)

j. We will live with Him (Rom. 6:8)

k. Jesus died and rose again (1 Thess. 4:14)
file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/2019%20Computer%20Bible%20Study%20Library%20--%20English/HTML/special_topics/believe.html#:~:text=FAITH%2C%20BELIEVE%2C%20OR%20TRUST
 
I have never seen anyone claim that their faith merited salvation. Have you actaully read that here.Or does anyone reading think their self generated faith won their salvation?

Whether someone actually claim this or not, their beliefs can "add up" to this conclusion.

In my view, there are Arminians that believe repentance is "work". They treat faith as repentance. They believe a "change of mind" involves outward appearance of "good works" which equals repentance.

Repentance is a granted by God and comes through meeting the proper threshold of "belief" in the work of God for humanity. Repentance is a very Holy thing. A point wherein the very mind of God is joined with us in the new birth. In my personal opinion, it corresponds to Divine brokenness.

I came back to this thread from a reference from @dizerner in another thread. I didn't notice that you asked me a question. I got busy and I had so many notification I didn't try to weed through them all. Sorry for the delay.

In response to your comments in another thread. There is no reconciling the book of James with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. James wasn't written by an apostle. Though I believe Truth is found in the book, I do not consider it inspired. Though I wouldn't remove it from my canonical list. I believe it is good way to deal with what it teaches. It expresses a distinctly Jewish misunderstanding of the work of Christ. It tries to blend Grace with works. This is very clear from the words expressed in....Many of our brothers in Christ make mistakes in this same belief. James clearly teaches this..... You can not take the words believe any differently than how they are distinctly expressed.

Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

The answer to James question is YES. Faith does save without works. James appeals to a time in Abraham's life that is around 25 years after Abraham was circumcised and received the "seal" of God.

It is a rather amateurist appeal that rejects Salvation by Faith. Though I believe those that get saved will do good works, it is vitally important how we establish that fact from the Scriptures. "James" gets it very wrong.
 
James wasn't written by an apostle. Though I believe Truth is found in the book, I do not consider it inspired.
I beg your pardon? James NOT inspired?!
Eph 2:10 For we are His masterpiece, having been created in Moshiach Yehoshua for ma'asim tovim, which Hashem prepared beforehand, that the derech of our halakhah should be in them.[YESHAYAH 29:23; 42:7; 60:21;]


for we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which YAHWEH before prepared that we should walk in them.

For He has made us what we are, because He has created us through our union with Christ Jesus for doing good deeds which He beforehand planned for us to do

αυτου γαρ εσμεν ποιημα κτισθεντες εν χριστω ιησου επι εργοις αγαθοις οις προητοιμασεν ο θεος ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμεν

This has been fully dealt with among many of my posts.
 
A study on the word "works" in James and Paul:

One tricky little argument Calvinists use is that Armininians are "works salvationists." Yet if we study James 2, and believe this is in fact the inspired Bible, we see James specifically says faith alone does not save—in fact he makes a big point of it. Does this ruin the whole faith/works dichotomy that the Reformation set up for us? Only if we misunderstand the term works and start equivocating with it. If we make the word “works” both: anything we might theoretically do; and also something that never can be a part in saving us: Calvinistic double predestination necessarily logically follows. In fact, by giving them that one point, there is no way to avoid their conclusions.
"Works salvation" is the position that we must first do works in order to earn our salvation as a wage, however, works can be required for many reasons other than in order to earn our salvation as a wage, which is clear, for example, in Hebrews 5:9, Jesus has become a source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him.

In Proverbs 3:5-7, we have a choice between whether we are going to lean on our own understanding of right and wrong by doing what is right in our own eyes or whether we are going to trust God with all of our heart to correctly divide between right and wrong through following what He has instructed, and He will make our paths straight, so that is what it means to have faith and why faith without works is dead.

But that point does not need to be granted them. There is, in fact, a different kind of works and we can prove James is not using works of the Law here. It's quite an easy harmonization to simply assert, not all works, are works of the law, and show in fact, a logical existence of something that could be defined as a “non-meritorious work,” that is, an action that produces a result without earning it (much like reaching out to receive a gift). James says a faith without works cannot save, explicitly and forthrightly:
In Acts 5:32, the Spirit has been given to those who obey God, so following what God has instructed is part of the way to receive the Spirit, however, Galatians 3:1-2 denies that works of the law are part of the way to receive the Spirit, therefore the phrase "works of the law" does not refer to following what God has instructed. In Romans 3:27-31, Paul contrasted a law of works with a law of faith, so works of the law are of works, while he said that our faith upholds God's law, so it is of faith, and a law that our faith upholds can't be referring to the same thing as the works of the law that are not of faith in Galatians 3:10-11.

Our salvation is from sin (Matthew 1:21) and sin is living in transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4), so while we do not produce our salvation as the result of first doing works, living in obedience to God's law through faith in Jesus is intrinsically part of the concept of him saving us from not living in obedience to it. For example, honoring our parents through faith in Jesus is intrinsically part of the concept of him saving us from not honoring our parents, so we are not producing our salvation by doing that, but rather that is part of the content of God's gift of salvation.


What is the profit, my brethren, if faith, any one may speak of having, and works he may not have? is that faith able to save him? (Jam 2:14 YLT)


The implied answer here is clearly, “no.” In case we try to squeak around that somehow, he repeats the point with more force:

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (Jam 2:24 NKJ)


This is a very clear statement. How are we to harmonize this with Paul’s declaration, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”? Not, as many Lordship Salvationists do, by somehow twisting this into "works just necessarily follow without contributing." If something necessarily follows, it cannot logically be a part of the cause, it cannot be the "by" the thing, the instrumental means. That is, it should say "justified with works" instead of "by works," the cause resulting in another condition. Faith is clearly laid out by Paul as the instrumental cause of salvation, and James here adds that this faith needs works along with it. So how do we know the works James tells us here, are not works of the law? By considering the works James gives us as an example.

1) Abraham attempting to kill his son.
2) Rahab lying to save the spies.


James switches sharply from altruism, when he had plenty of OT examples of altruism to work from, and this is significant, for he is not saying the altruism justified apart from trusting the work of grace Christ wrought for us on the Cross. When James says, “I will show my faith by my works,” but in the same place says breaking one law breaks the entire law completely and constitutes you a law-breaker, we know he is talking of a kind of works that are not works of the law, because James just admitted everyone's works must necessarily break the law in some sense, because when they broke one law they broke them all, necessarily breaking it due to everyone's necessary moral imperfections. If James wanted to be clear that good works were what merits our justification, he would have used only positive works as an example of a salvific work, works that more clearly exhibited the moral and/or ceremonial laws that were at the heart of the Mosaic Law, but instead James references a "Royal Law" which he later describes as "The Law of Freedom," meaning it cannot be obligatory or demanding upon us.
While we do not produce our justification as the result of first having done works in obedience to God or otherwise, Paul also said in Romans 2:13 that only doers of God's law will be justified, so there nevertheless is a reason why our justification requires us to choose to be doers of the law.

In Titus 2:11-14, our salvation is described as being trained by grace to do what is godly, righteous, and good, and to renounce doing what is ungodly, so our salvation requires us choose to participate in this training. Furthermore, we do not need to first have done those works in order to produce our salvation, and those works do not necessary follow as the product of having first been saved, but rather God graciously teaching us to do those works is itself the content of His gift of saving us from not doing those works. Furthermore, in Titus 2:14, Jesus gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own possession who are zealous for doing good works, so becoming zealous for doing good works in obedience to God is the way to trust the work of grace Christ wrought for us on the Cross. The only way to the Father is through faith in Jesus and Hebrews 11 lists examples of justifying faith, so those examples are all of faith in Jesus.

If we break any law and become a lawbreaker, then we need to repent and return to obedience through faith in accordance with what James 2:1-11 was encouraging them to do. Even if someone managed to have perfect obedience to God's law, then they still would not earn their salvation as a wage (Romans 4:1-5), so that was not the point that James was making. The Mosaic Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7), it is a law of freedom (Psalms 119:45), and it blesses those who obey it (Psalms 119:1-3), so when James 1:25 speaks about a perfect law of freedom that blesses those who obey it, he was not saying anything about the Mosaic Law that wasn't already said in the Psalms.

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jam 2:22 NKJ)
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Jam 2:26 NKJ)
Rahab the harlot also justified by works (Jam 2:25 NKJ)


We cannot now claim the Bible nowhere associates the idea or word of “works” with salvation or being made righteous, if we see this as salvific. There are several proofs James 2 is talking about a salvific justification: Firstly, the oft used "justified before men" is both not anywhere in the passage, and justifying before men is straight out condemned by Christ and would not be advocated (Luke 16:15). James is clearly addressing Paul, to clarify ways he felt Paul was being misunderstood, and Paul was using justification in a salvific sense used with faith. James uses legal language describing relation to Law, that which relates to man salvifically: transgress or fulfill; convicted and guilty of all or heirs of the kingdom; all final judgment language—declared righteous, judgment without mercy, was made perfect (compare Jesus saying “be perfect” and “it is perfected”). So in the end, the phrases “doing well” and “profiting” are thus to be seen in a context, not as that which profits materially above salvific faith, but that which actually leads to the profit of salvific faith, above demons—a non-dead faith.
To be righteous means to be someone who practices righteousness, so that is an intrinsic association. God's law is His instructions for how to practice righteousness not for how to become righteous, so when we become righteous through faith, we are becoming someone who practices righteousness in obedience to God's law through that faith. Abraham was justified by his works insofar as they were the way to have faith, but not insofar as his works produced his justification.

We might begin thinking, “I’m concerned that I would be adding my own merit to faith by adding an action.” But this is just religious dogma that has been foisted constantly upon our thinking, it does not actually stem from the Bible or logic itself. It's versions of the much used arguments, "What makes you different then someone who rejects salvation?", or "If your choice determines you got saved, then you get all the credit." The Calvinist is forcing a false dichotomy here: either something is a meritorious work, or it is no work at all. Once you accept that, you are inevitably led down the trail to removing all volitional activity, and God alone decides who is saved because otherwise we contribute “works.” This is also why the same logic that if you can reject the atonement, that means you are necessarily attempting to merit the atonement, fails for defending eternal security—a free will decision is not necessarily attempting to merit something, it can be a choice made with a non-relation to merit altogether.
God is trustworthy, therefore His law is also trustworthy (Psalms 19:7), so the way to rely on God for our salvation is by obediently relying on what He has instructed for our salvation, and it is contradictory to think that we are relying on ourselves by obediently relying on what God has instructed.

and people should stop using "salvation by faith alone" in this imprecise way.
Luther said that an idle faith is not a justifying faith, so people have taken that to mean something other than what he meant by it.
 
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
in Exodus 33:13, Moses wanted God to be gracious to him by teaching him to walk in His way that he might know Him and Israel too, and in Matthew 7:23, Jesus said that he would tell those who are workers of lawlessness to depart from him because he never knew them, so the goal of the law is to know God and Jesus is the goal of the law, which is eternal life (John 17:3), while the goal of the law is not to produce eternal life.

I'm going to ask a simple question. I ask that you answer clearly. There is a timing issue here that you're ignoring with your complex argument above.

When was Abraham justified?
Hebrews 11 lists examples of justifying faith and Abraham was listed twice, so he was justified in Genesis 12:1-5) when he obeyed the call to go to the land where he wold receive his inheritance (Hebrews 11:8), he was justified when he believed God (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-8, James 2:23), and he was justified when he offered Isaac (Hebrews 11:17, James 2:21), which means that there were at least three different times that he was justified.
 
I beg your pardon? James NOT inspired?!
Eph 2:10 For we are His masterpiece, having been created in Moshiach Yehoshua for ma'asim tovim, which Hashem prepared beforehand, that the derech of our halakhah should be in them.[YESHAYAH 29:23; 42:7; 60:21;]


for we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which YAHWEH before prepared that we should walk in them.

For He has made us what we are, because He has created us through our union with Christ Jesus for doing good deeds which He beforehand planned for us to do

αυτου γαρ εσμεν ποιημα κτισθεντες εν χριστω ιησου επι εργοις αγαθοις οις προητοιμασεν ο θεος ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμεν

This has been fully dealt with among many of my posts.
I don't see James described above. Can you elaborate. It is very possible that James was just another Wrangler.
 
I beg your pardon? James NOT inspired?!
Eph 2:10 For we are His masterpiece, having been created in Moshiach Yehoshua for ma'asim tovim, which Hashem prepared beforehand, that the derech of our halakhah should be in them.[YESHAYAH 29:23; 42:7; 60:21;]


for we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which YAHWEH before prepared that we should walk in them.

For He has made us what we are, because He has created us through our union with Christ Jesus for doing good deeds which He beforehand planned for us to do

αυτου γαρ εσμεν ποιημα κτισθεντες εν χριστω ιησου επι εργοις αγαθοις οις προητοιμασεν ο θεος ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμεν

This has been fully dealt with among many of my posts.
We can start a thread and go into great detail on James. Just realize that James is not listed in any early documents seeking to define the NT canon. Men decided what was included.
 
Last edited:
in Exodus 33:13, Moses wanted God to be gracious to him by teaching him to walk in His way that he might know Him and Israel too, and in Matthew 7:23, Jesus said that he would tell those who are workers of lawlessness to depart from him because he never knew them, so the goal of the law is to know God and Jesus is the goal of the law, which is eternal life (John 17:3), while the goal of the law is not to produce eternal life.


Hebrews 11 lists examples of justifying faith and Abraham was listed twice, so he was justified in Genesis 12:1-5) when he obeyed the call to go to the land where he wold receive his inheritance (Hebrews 11:8), he was justified when he believed God (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-8, James 2:23), and he was justified when he offered Isaac (Hebrews 11:17, James 2:21), which means that there were at least three different times that he was justified.
No. Hebrew 11 lists expressions of faith that do not justify. You're adding the aspect of justification to the declarations. Thr writer of Hebrews does not make the claims made by James. You are conflating.

You appealed to those who had done many wonderful works as referenced in Matthew yet Jesus said He never knew them. You connect works to justification in James and Hebrew and then "unhitch" to those described by Jesus.

Abraham did many things throughout his life. Including lying. Including not trusting God for Sarah. Like Paul wrote, Abraham had no place to Glory before God.

James is very clear. Paul is very clear. There is no reconciliating what they wrote. We should stop trying to twist their words to compliment one another.
 
Back
Top Bottom