Ten Thousand Reasons (Faith Works)

Ten Thousand Reasons (Faith + Works) 

The summary of James is saying - that faith without works is dead - sounds diametrically opposed to what Paul says - that we are made right with God by faith alone, not by works. Upon closer examination, they’re saying the same thing but from different perspectives. Like the English word “awful” originally meant to be full of awe, but now it refers to something terrible. The original word “justified” means “to make yourself right” or “to be made right.” Example - when you pay off a loan, you have justified yourself with your creditor. But it can also mean “to prove yourself right.” Example - when someone asks you to justify your comment or statement.

Paul is saying that we justified by faith - we cannot be made right with God except through the finished work of Christ on the cross. James is saying that that our works prove that we are made right with God. To summarize: you are made right with God only by faith, not by works, but you are known and proven to be made right with God because of the good works that flow from God’s grace.

James 2:5 says God has chosen us “to inherit the kingdom…” Therefore, a Chrstian is an heir to God’s kingdom. Wages come to you because of what you do; inheritances come because of what you are. Wages come through hard work; inheritance comes through personal relationships. Wages comes after you’ve done something; inheritance comes before you’ve done anything. Therefore, James is saying that you do not earn your salvation, but you are proven to be made right with God by your works.

Insufficient signs of faith:
  • Holding all the right beliefs (2:19)
  • Being a good, moral person (2:19)

Unmistakable signs of faith: 
  • Alive to other people (2:14-17)  
  • Alive to God.