Justified by Works (3 of 3) by Jonathan McLeod

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Justified by Works (3 of 3)
Series: Faith and Works
Jonathan McLeod
James 2:14-26

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24).


In this series, we are comparing what the apostles Paul and James have written concerning justi-fication, faith, and works. Many people think that Paul and James contradict each other. Paul writes that we are ''justified by faith'' (Rom. 3:28). James writes that we are ''justified by works'' (James 2:24). But I believe that what Paul and James write about justification, faith, and works is complementary, not contradictory.

Why is this important? First, if there are contradictions in the Bible, our trust in what it says will be lowered. Second, there is nothing more important for us to understand than how to be justi-fied. (Are we justified by faith alone or by faith plus works?)

[Read James 2:14-26.]


Do you know what a homograph is? A homograph is a word that is spelled like another word but is different in meaning (e.g., ''park,'' ''bat,'' ''fine'').

The word ''faith'' has more than one meaning in the Bible (though perhaps not technically a homograph). ''Faith'' in the Bible does not always refer to saving faith. James writes, ''What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?'' (v. 14). In this verse, James is referring to a certain kind of faith-a faith he describes as ''dead'' (vv. 17, 26) and ''useless'' (v. 20). It's a faith of words but not deeds. How can I be sure that my faith is not dead and useless?

Saving FAITH results in good WORKS.


James writes, ''Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?'' (v. 21). In Genesis 22, God told Abraham, ''Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountai ...

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