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Faith Tested by Works (7 of 17)
Series: The Epistle of James
Do you believe there are contradictions in the Bible? Those of you who believe there are no contradictions in the Bible, raise your hand. How many think there might be some! Raise your hand.
Listen up now. What do you think of this? Turn to Romans 4:3-5. "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
Turn back to James 2:21-22. "Was not Abraham our father, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac, his son, upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?"
Is that a contradiction or what? Paul says one thing. James says another. No wonder Luther wanted to cut James out of the Bible. But we have just as much evidence historically for James to be in the New Testament as Romans. What do we do? Some say, "Teach both." But Paul said, "Absolutely not!" You can't teach both. Paul forbids it. Ephesians 2:8-9 ... "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast."
My thesis today is this: Nobody has ever been or ever will be justified before God by any works, service, deeds, whatever. Salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast.
Now all I must do is prove it, reveal it, show it without kicking James out of the Bible. Isn't that where we are? To do this, we will break the study into three sections: The situation, the illustrations, and the summarization.
I. FIRST, THE SITUATION (Verses 14-17)
There is no doubt that the subject here is works. The word appears twelve times in the passage. It is faith tested by works. The word "works" is "ergon," and it means "deeds, business, ser ...
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