People immediately assume that (in God’s eyes) your faith is dead without works. But, if we dig deeper and look closer, we will see that faith does not need works, in the eyes of God. God sees your faith and that is enough for Him. You and I are different; we must see works in order to say if someone has faith. People cannot see faith; they only see your good and bad works.
Many times we forget to read things in the context. This passage in James 2 gives the illustration of faith in the eyes of man. Check out the following list of people this passage is talking about:
– “if someone,” (not God)
– “if a brother or sister” (not God)
– “and you says to them” (not God)
– “give them” (not God)
– “But someone” (not God)
– “show me your faith” (not God)
This whole passage is not about God seeing your faith, but it is about, “someone” else seeing your faith. Let me ask you a question, can you see faith? No, we can’t see faith; we can only see works.
let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Mathew 5:16
I have no idea what someone believes until I SEE it, with my physical eyes. I see them worship, pray, or sing, and I say, “Oh they are probably a Christian.” Now, can you see that the message James was trying to get across was, “what’s the point of your faith to a homeless man?” He cannot see it; you should have given him some food instead of telling him you will pray for him. Imagine someone is starving and I say, “Hey, I’m praying for you.” That would not help (save) him, in his eyes. Now you say, “Well, Caleb it’s clear in black and white; faith without works is dead, so it must be true.” My dear friend, if our faith is dead without works, tell me why did Paul say Abraham (a picture of us today) was justified by faith?
For if Abraham was justified [b]by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. – Romans 4:2
That is the KEY words, “but not before God.” It was not in God’s eyes that he was justified, but he was justified by faith. You and I are like Abraham.
Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM (ABRAHAM) AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, – Romans 4:22-24
Abraham was accredited with righteousness, and, “for our sake also… those who believe in Him (God)” will be credited as righteous. Now, let’s compare these two verses.
• For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. – Romans 4:2
• Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?– James 2:22
One verse said Abraham was justified by works and one says that Abraham was not justified by works. So what is the truth? The truth is that James talks about faith, in man’s eyes, and Paul talks about faith, in God’s eyes.
– Abraham was not justified by works, BEFORE GOD. – Romans 4:2
– Abraham was justified by works, BEFORE MAN. – James 2:22
People Use, “faith without works is dead” to promote the law, but in this context we can see that God only needs to see faith. Salvation is not faith + obedience + our law keeping + our behavior. No, Salvation is faith alone. Know today that you are made right with God, not because of your good works, but you are made right with God because of Jesus alone, case closed!
photo credit: Jonathan Kendall/ creationswap.com