By Works

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Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
3,535
959
113
#1
The title for this thread comes from the use of the phrase in James 2: it is used four times - see the bold phrases

James 2 KJV
14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:8,9 that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works. He was writing to correct the view that one is saved by doing good works.

What James writes does not contradict what Paul wrote. James says that a true faith will also have works. If the faith is alone without any works then it is a dead faith.

Good works cannot ever be done by a person's own ability or might or intellect; good works can only be done by Christ in us. We are "his workmanship" (Eph 2:10). In many of Paul's epistles, up to half of the space is given to practical exhortations to do good works in our fight for the kingdom of God. Let's fight for God's kingdom with the power of God's Spirit in us.

If your faith has no works it is no faith at all.
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
3,535
959
113
#2
The subject of faith, works, and salvation is a huge subject of which there are many facets and many different angles. One issue is how a person defines the words that he uses.

The word salvation to some means primarily initial salvation - the new birth. To others the word salvation begins at the new birth and continues through one's life and culminates in eternal and final salvation in heaven. In my understanding and what I am wanting to see in this thread, I am using salvation more in the second sense.

The title of this thread "By works" is designed to open a discussion of how works are intertwined in this entire process of salvation.

Paul says clearly that we are not saved by works; that is clear and indisputable! The topic at hand in this thread is how do we show our faith "by our works" and how is "faith made perfect by works?" (as James says).
 

Corban

Active member
Jun 11, 2020
257
85
28
69
#3
The subject of faith, works, and salvation is a huge subject of which there are many facets and many different angles. One issue is how a person defines the words that he uses.

The word salvation to some means primarily initial salvation - the new birth. To others the word salvation begins at the new birth and continues through one's life and culminates in eternal and final salvation in heaven. In my understanding and what I am wanting to see in this thread, I am using salvation more in the second sense.

The title of this thread "By works" is designed to open a discussion of how works are intertwined in this entire process of salvation.

Paul says clearly that we are not saved by works; that is clear and indisputable! The topic at hand in this thread is how do we show our faith "by our works" and how is "faith made perfect by works?" (as James says).
Truly, this theme has been dealt with at length. James is controversial. I believe it was Martin Luther who said that "James is a book of straw". One can understand him. His battle was against a powerful enemy that maintained that salvation was by works. He didn't need James then. But one cannot help wondering. What was all the fuss about? The word "saved" and/or "salvation" does not appear in James. Again, the audience is not a Church. It is addressed to, "... the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, ... ." And this becomes more pertinent when we read in Galatians 2:9 that James' ministry was to the "circumcision".

James was not addressing Greeks at Corinth who had no background of God and His requirements. To the Twelve Tribes were give the Covenants and the "Oracles of God" (Rom.3:2). They were familiar with God's life and morality. It does not take a genius to know that faith was higher than Law. Even without the New Testament, righteousness that is imputed because of faith is superior to that by Law (Gen.15:6). I think that TWO facts of scripture need to be embraced to solve any dilemma we might have.
  1. The FIRST is that there are TWO JUSTIFICATIONS available to man. For his continued walk with God, a man must have a justification that corresponds to a perfectly holy God. This is established by Christ and God imputes it to anyone who is found IN Christ. God looks only at Christ when a man believes INTO the works of Christ. But then the man has commands of his Head, Christ. Take 1st Corinthians 3 for example. There, each Christian is building and farming. If he does not meet a requirement he will not be justified and suffer a loss. One justification is built by Christ and imputed to a believer. That is his POSITION in Christ - or, POSITIONAL JUSTIFICATION. The other has to do with OBEDIENCE, or, the believers DISPOSITION. Is he DISPOSED to obey his Head?
  2. The SECOND is that the word "saved" has different meanings in the Bible. The context must explain it. Noah is "saved" FROM the water by the Ark. This is not the eternal salvation wrought by Christ. Noah was also "saved" BY the water in 1st Peter 3:20. The context shows what "salvation" that was. It was that the water was so prevailing that it wiped all evidence of the corruption and trespasses away. Noah was able to start afresh. This is then translated to the believer whose conscience is cleansed by Baptism. This "saved" in 1st Peter 3:20 is also not the salvation wrought by Christ in Ephesians 2:8-9. And if some doubt still exists, think of the absurdity of experiencing eternal salvation by child-bearing in 1st Tim.2:15! If we acknowledge that there are different "salvations", and that the context must explain which one it is, we go a long way to understanding James.
 

Guojing

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2019
4,672
781
113
#5
The title for this thread comes from the use of the phrase in James 2: it is used four times - see the bold phrases

James 2 KJV
14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:8,9 that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works. He was writing to correct the view that one is saved by doing good works.

What James writes does not contradict what Paul wrote. James says that a true faith will also have works. If the faith is alone without any works then it is a dead faith.

Good works cannot ever be done by a person's own ability or might or intellect; good works can only be done by Christ in us. We are "his workmanship" (Eph 2:10). In many of Paul's epistles, up to half of the space is given to practical exhortations to do good works in our fight for the kingdom of God. Let's fight for God's kingdom with the power of God's Spirit in us.

If your faith has no works it is no faith at all.
The book of James was the very first NT letter ever written, before Paul, before the 4 Gospels.

If James chapter 2 was located in the Old Testament, would you still have the same perspective?
 

p_rehbein

Senior Member
Sep 4, 2013
26,497
3,677
113
#6
What James writes does not contradict what Paul wrote. James says that a true faith will also have works. If the faith is alone without any works then it is a dead faith.
When I read what James wrote, I always relate it to what is written in Revelation:

Chapter 3:

15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

I also relate it to "obedience." Because God purposed us for a purpose He has for us to accomplish......

Ephesians, Chapter 2:

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.

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 

know1

Senior Member
Aug 27, 2012
2,894
127
63
#7
You are wrong on both accounts.
Neither is referring to the works James speaks of.
There is a big difference and distinction between works of the law and works of faith.
Though both have been referred to as "good works", they are not the same.
The bible says there is only one faith, which is to say, there is only one KIND OF or GODLIKE faith.
Which means, the same faith used to kill a fig tree, is the same kind of faith used for salvation, healing, deliverance, casting out evil or dirty spirit, and answered prayer.
And it has to be used the same way for the all of the above listed.
Jesus said in Mk 11:22, "Have faith in God", or "Have the faith of God".
It should be obvious to all, we are save by and through this God like or God kind of faith, as you have quoted above in Eph 2, but because of the way verse 9 is worded, many think ALL works are created equal, but they are not all the same.
Everyone is able to do works of the law or moral works, which can be seen as, and said to be, "good works", These so-called good works are done or accomplished by their own strengths, abilities, and resources. God is not needed for any of us to do good deeds, or works of the law.
That is the kind of word Paul is talking about in Eph 2:9.
But NO ONE can do a work of faith without or apart from Jesus.
Jesus Himself said, "... without or apart from me, ye can do nothing."
He is referring to being able to produce good fruit through works of faith.
Can you or a nonbeliever give to the poor without the help or power of God?
I know of a wicked deceitful person who could put most Christians to shame by how much he does for the poor and those who have less than him.
Yet, without going into any details, he is not a believer, but a subtle sly wolf in sheep's clothing. Not that he pretends to be a Christian, but simply a nice, kind and generous man.
So though he does good works, like buying my wife a $400 necklace for her birthday, which she gave back, God was not needed for this man to give. All that was needed was the resources, which he had.
The same hold true for the believer.
We do not need God's power to give to the poor, only the resources.
It is the kind of work Paul was talking about.
But unlike works of the law, we need God's power when it comes to works of faith.
Like James said in chapter 2, verse 14, without WORKS OF FAITH, can faith alone save him?
The obvious answer is a resounding, NO.
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so is [and in like manner,] faith without works is dead also."
No believer can be saved without, or apart from, a corresponding work, in conjunction with their faith.
Same with answered prayers, healings, and the like.
There is only one kind of God like faith and in works only one way. That being, with a corresponding work of faith, like verbally speaking or thanking God for something that isn't, as though it is, such as receiving Christ as your personal lord and savior.
NO ONE was saved UNTIL they ACTED on the faith in God's promises, which was to make them a son or daughter, to as many as would receive Him.
We CANNOT save ourselves or others, we need God's power to do that, but we have to act on that faith before God will act on our or behalf.
A work of faith is the ONLY thing that will produce, what God sees as, "good fruit", and we CANNOT produce good fruit, such as receiving eternal life or salvation, without the power of Jesus, and Jesus will NOT act on His promise/word until you do first.
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
3,535
959
113
#9
The book of James was the very first NT letter ever written, before Paul, before the 4 Gospels.

If James chapter 2 was located in the Old Testament, would you still have the same perspective?
If it was OT - but it is not OT - so I am not sure what exactly you are getting at ????

I view James as authoritative and as inspired (but not more inspired) than Paul. They are not contradictory, but complimentary.
 

know1

Senior Member
Aug 27, 2012
2,894
127
63
#10
You have openly displayed your ignorance of, and disdain for, the scriptures concerning the subject of faith and works, as do all who think and propagate the same.
Perhaps one reason why so many will wonder why they are not in heaven when they thought they should have been, will be because they thought, 'all they had to do was believe', or 'only believe'.
WRONG!!!

No conjunctive work to one's faith, means no eternal life.
One MUST both eat and drink both Jesus' flesh and blood respectively, and that requires ACTION.
I say again with all confidence, knowing this to be the truth in scripture, that being, God will NOT, I repeat, NOT perform His word or promise of giving a person eternal life, UNTIL THEY ACT on His word FIRST in faith!!!
NOT hoping, wishing, and wondering, but in faith.
 

Corban

Active member
Jun 11, 2020
257
85
28
69
#11
You are wrong on both accounts.
Neither is referring to the works James speaks of.
There is a big difference and distinction between works of the law and works of faith.
Though both have been referred to as "good works", they are not the same.
The bible says there is only one faith, which is to say, there is only one KIND OF or GODLIKE faith.
Which means, the same faith used to kill a fig tree, is the same kind of faith used for salvation, healing, deliverance, casting out evil or dirty spirit, and answered prayer.
And it has to be used the same way for the all of the above listed.
Jesus said in Mk 11:22, "Have faith in God", or "Have the faith of God".
It should be obvious to all, we are save by and through this God like or God kind of faith, as you have quoted above in Eph 2, but because of the way verse 9 is worded, many think ALL works are created equal, but they are not all the same.
Everyone is able to do works of the law or moral works, which can be seen as, and said to be, "good works", These so-called good works are done or accomplished by their own strengths, abilities, and resources. God is not needed for any of us to do good deeds, or works of the law.
That is the kind of word Paul is talking about in Eph 2:9.
But NO ONE can do a work of faith without or apart from Jesus.
Jesus Himself said, "... without or apart from me, ye can do nothing."
He is referring to being able to produce good fruit through works of faith.
Can you or a nonbeliever give to the poor without the help or power of God?
I know of a wicked deceitful person who could put most Christians to shame by how much he does for the poor and those who have less than him.
Yet, without going into any details, he is not a believer, but a subtle sly wolf in sheep's clothing. Not that he pretends to be a Christian, but simply a nice, kind and generous man.
So though he does good works, like buying my wife a $400 necklace for her birthday, which she gave back, God was not needed for this man to give. All that was needed was the resources, which he had.
The same hold true for the believer.
We do not need God's power to give to the poor, only the resources.
It is the kind of work Paul was talking about.
But unlike works of the law, we need God's power when it comes to works of faith.
Like James said in chapter 2, verse 14, without WORKS OF FAITH, can faith alone save him?
The obvious answer is a resounding, NO.
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so is [and in like manner,] faith without works is dead also."
No believer can be saved without, or apart from, a corresponding work, in conjunction with their faith.
Same with answered prayers, healings, and the like.
There is only one kind of God like faith and in works only one way. That being, with a corresponding work of faith, like verbally speaking or thanking God for something that isn't, as though it is, such as receiving Christ as your personal lord and savior.
NO ONE was saved UNTIL they ACTED on the faith in God's promises, which was to make them a son or daughter, to as many as would receive Him.
We CANNOT save ourselves or others, we need God's power to do that, but we have to act on that faith before God will act on our or behalf.
A work of faith is the ONLY thing that will produce, what God sees as, "good fruit", and we CANNOT produce good fruit, such as receiving eternal life or salvation, without the power of Jesus, and Jesus will NOT act on His promise/word until you do first.
Perhaps it is me, but I had difficulty following your posting.

James never mentions "saved", yet you have brought it into the discussion multiple times.
  • ALL judgements in the Bible are based on WORKS (Rom.2.12, Rom.14:10; 2nd Cor.5:10; Matt.16:7, 25:31-46, Rev. 20:12-13)
  • Whether a man is a believer and does good works, or an unbeliever and does good works, the works are good
  • An unbeliever who does a good work is not necessarily " a subtle sly wolf in sheep's clothing". I'm think of Job who lived BEFORE Law.
  • Because man ate from the Tree of Knowledge of GOOD and evil, even good works can bring death
  • Within the context the good guy whose wife returned the necklace must have been really hurt. Christ will "adorn" His wife (Rev.21:2). I hope she does not refuse His desire to see His wife look beautiful.
You don't have to respond. I'm just making some observations.
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
3,535
959
113
#12
Perhaps it is me, but I had difficulty following your posting.

James never mentions "saved", yet you have brought it into the discussion multiple times.
  • ALL judgements in the Bible are based on WORKS (Rom.2.12, Rom.14:10; 2nd Cor.5:10; Matt.16:7, 25:31-46, Rev. 20:12-13)
  • Whether a man is a believer and does good works, or an unbeliever and does good works, the works are good
  • An unbeliever who does a good work is not necessarily " a subtle sly wolf in sheep's clothing". I'm think of Job who lived BEFORE Law.
  • Because man ate from the Tree of Knowledge of GOOD and evil, even good works can bring death
  • Within the context the good guy whose wife returned the necklace must have been really hurt. Christ will "adorn" His wife (Rev.21:2). I hope she does not refuse His desire to see His wife look beautiful.
You don't have to respond. I'm just making some observations.
You are probably right that "works" and "good works" are used in different ways in Scripture.

But primarily, and the way I understand and use the term "good works," is that good works can only by done by the Spirit through a person. Anything done by the flesh may look "good" but is really filthy rags!

Living by the tree of knowledge of good and evil will always produce evil works - at least the way I see it. A person may "know" what is good - but the problem is that "knowledge" before "life" (tree of life) produces evil.
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
31,802
9,814
113
65
Florida
#13
By Works! :) (James 2)
Yeah, just having a little fun. :)Faith without works is a dead faith. Works in themselves do not save but rather are a manifestation of one's salvation and the life-long repentance process eventually leading to sanctification. No, works do not save but that doesn't mean you just sit idly by while your brother or sister is in need.
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
31,802
9,814
113
65
Florida
#14
You are probably right that "works" and "good works" are used in different ways in Scripture.

But primarily, and the way I understand and use the term "good works," is that good works can only by done by the Spirit through a person. Anything done by the flesh may look "good" but is really filthy rags!

Living by the tree of knowledge of good and evil will always produce evil works - at least the way I see it. A person may "know" what is good - but the problem is that "knowledge" before "life" (tree of life) produces evil.
I agree in that any good work that is done is through the power of the Holy Spirit working inside of you.
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
31,802
9,814
113
65
Florida
#16
You have openly displayed your ignorance of, and disdain for, the scriptures concerning the subject of faith and works, as do all who think and propagate the same.
Perhaps one reason why so many will wonder why they are not in heaven when they thought they should have been, will be because they thought, 'all they had to do was believe', or 'only believe'.
WRONG!!!

No conjunctive work to one's faith, means no eternal life.
One MUST both eat and drink both Jesus' flesh and blood respectively, and that requires ACTION.
I say again with all confidence, knowing this to be the truth in scripture, that being, God will NOT, I repeat, NOT perform His word or promise of giving a person eternal life, UNTIL THEY ACT on His word FIRST in faith!!!
NOT hoping, wishing, and wondering, but in faith.
Apparently, you are quick to jump to conclusions as I was just being sarcastic. Faith without works is a dead faith. I have stated this many times over countless posts and threads. Even after that you don't know me very well. Oh well, moving forward now. Shaking the dust off my feet as I leave. This cold response of yours is a piece of work that's for sure.
 

ForestGreenCook

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
3,883
456
83
#19
The subject of faith, works, and salvation is a huge subject of which there are many facets and many different angles. One issue is how a person defines the words that he uses.

The word salvation to some means primarily initial salvation - the new birth. To others the word salvation begins at the new birth and continues through one's life and culminates in eternal and final salvation in heaven. In my understanding and what I am wanting to see in this thread, I am using salvation more in the second sense.

The title of this thread "By works" is designed to open a discussion of how works are intertwined in this entire process of salvation.

Paul says clearly that we are not saved by works; that is clear and indisputable! The topic at hand in this thread is how do we show our faith "by our works" and how is "faith made perfect by works?" (as James says).
Chester, To my understanding, and the fact that all scriptures must harmonize in order to have a knowledge of the truth, which is contained in the doctrine that Jesus taught, I believe that you are correct in saying "Salvation (Greek = a deliverance) begins at the new birth and continues through one's life". We are delivered at our new birth, and we are also delivered eternally when our life on earth is finished.

Eternal deliverance is given only by God's sovereign grace, without the works of man. On the other hand, once that we have been born again, and have a fellowship with God, and then lust after the things of the world, when we are enticed by satan, we temporary lose our fellowship with God, until we repent. When God forgives us, we are delivered from the effects of that particular sin. When we are walking in the Spirit, we can be delivered by our good works, and we can also deliver those born again children of God by teaching them the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus.

1 Tim 4:16, Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this, thou shalt save (deliver) thyself, and them that hear thee. There is a salvation (deliverance) in doing good works, and there is a salvation (deliverance) given only by the grace of God, without the works of mankind.