Thursday, January 28, 2010

Faith by itself?

James 2:14-17 (ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? [17] So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

More or less I will agree with this statement faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Yet, faith will manifest itself in works. It just will. Though those works might not always be so different from the things you did before you came to faith. And neither do I think Christians have to be afraid of works, as if just by doing them they will fall into some sort of justification by works doctrine. But I would also like to say that the reverse of this statement is also true. And if your faith isn’t in Christ, then your works are to no avail. And your works won’t quicken faith. Only the gospel bears the fruit of faith which in turn bears the fruit of works.

8 comments:

Jonathan said...

I am hopeful that the works that count are the ones we are not even aware of, as in the faithful ones who were welcomed into the kingdom asked, completely oblivious, "Lord, when did we see you naked or hungry or sick or in prison?" Or like Jesus said, "Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." Works are just reflexive, not our product, they are His.

Steve Martin said...

An un-consciousness of works is the best place to be.

That's why even bringing them up (unless to convict them) puts people on dangerous ground.

One can easily, and not consciously even, get themselvs on a works program.

mollo said...

I was teaching my 7th graders about "good" works and told them that I'd given $5 to a jar raising funds to pay for medical bill for someone with brain cancer. Sure, I'd done a work but I couldn't honestly claim it was a good work. Why was this a filthy rag before the Lord? Because I had looked into my wallet and totally analyzed how this good work was going to effect me before I actually did it.

I think the works that count are the ones Jesus did. If those don't count towards us, then I don't have a single good work to claim.

Bror Erickson said...

Works have to be forgiven before they can be considered good, but in Christ even the ones we know we hav messed up with improper motives etc. but did anyway, still good, forgiven good. Don't you just love forgiveness? it works even when your not looking. Forgiveness can't live without it, but you have to die before you can have it...

Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

If I'm understanding the Scriptures correctly, then we might say that "faith" without works is not really faith at all; it isn't worthy of the name. True belief, trust in the living God, faith, always manifests itself in good works. Good works and faith can be separated only logically for the sake of discussion, but in reality they are inseparable.

Frank Sonnek said...

pastor stillman "Good works and faith can be separated only logically for the sake of discussion, but in reality they are inseparable."

I am sure you agree that the brute reality is that they WILL be separated. romans 8:visible righteousness vs invisible righteousness.

all godpleasing visible intrinsically identical righteousness that is done by pagans and christians will die with the earth. along with those who try to live eternally by this righteousness.

The invisible Righteousness alone will live eternally, along with those who find life in Him

even on earth there is an earthly visible righteousness that bror talks about that must be separated from the heavenly righteousness. why? because faith must be ALONE not faith + works. I am sure you mean the same thing. so I assume I am merely amplifying and piling on to what you have said.

Frank Sonnek said...

"Though those works might not always be so different from the things you did before you came to faith."

this implies a qualitative difference between pagan and christian visible righteousness. they might not be so different, but they will be different is how I read this. am I right?

Bror Erickson said...

Frank,
In God's eyes they will be. In our eyes maybe not, and then maybe they will. That I suppose depends a lot on the individual etc.