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Faith vs. Works in Christianity: The Problem of the Book of James

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posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 01:12 PM
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If you read the New Testament thoroughly, it would appear that faith in Jesus is sufficient to be "saved". But wait...what about the book of James that seems to say that faith is not sufficient, that works also are needed for salvation.

I realize this subject has been debated for centuries. If you wish to comment, please cite evidence for why you believe the way you do.




posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 01:16 PM
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What does "works" mean in Christianity? I understand different religions have their own practices and what not. Maybe that's not what you mean by "works" however.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 01:18 PM
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originally posted by: DrogoTheNorman
If you read the New Testament thoroughly, it would appear that faith in Jesus is sufficient to be "saved". But wait...what about the book of James that seems to say that faith is not sufficient, that works also are needed for salvation.

I realize this subject has been debated for centuries. If you wish to comment, please cite evidence for why you believe the way you do.


Obviously 'the word of God' contradicts itself...otherwise no-one would be asking/interpreting what the difference might mean...

Å99



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 01:31 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

Faith for salvation, works for the sanctification of the soul (Abiding in Christ via 1John 1:9). Sanctification results in precious stones at the Judgement Seat of Christ, but even the believer who isn't sanctified is saved as through fire.




1 Cor 3:12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

edit on 13-1-2016 by BELIEVERpriest because: added quote




John 15:4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

edit on 13-1-2016 by BELIEVERpriest because: bible reference





1 John 1:6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

edit on 13-1-2016 by BELIEVERpriest because: bible reference



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

I believe in money, but that belief does not reward me with wealth. While I believe faith meets the necessary requirements for salvation, I don't think you can have a complete faith without works. I often wonder if I am one of the lukewarm, lord knows I could do more.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:08 PM
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If you have true faith, you feel called to do works. Of course, there is then the question of what constitutes "works." When most hear or see that work, they think of ostentatious shows of charity whereby someone sacrifices all, but I think simply being called and committing oneself to live by the teachings is enough.

There is more to it than wearing sacloth and ashes and that often misses the mark as so many who make the greatest outward shows do so in the hopes that others see them, not because they were truly moved to make those shows from any place of faith.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:09 PM
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a reply to: onthedownlow

Lord knows we all could and that is why we need salvation.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:11 PM
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As an Atheist, my opinion is probably less weighted.

However, if the christian god were as divinely loving as many claim for him to be, I would say that faith need not apply to be granted access to heaven. Simply making an honest effort at being kind, giving, fair, loving, and with a lack of prejudice to all of humanity, those qualities would likely be the ticket to heaven.

I don't see why a loving god would send a baby to hell simply because it didn't have enough time here on earth to make a conscious decision to follow a faith in Christianity.

I don't see why a loving god would send a person born in a geographical location where christianity wasn't existent, or at least populous, to hell simply because they were born in an area where christianity wasn't readily available.

I don't see why a loving god would send a nonbeliever, or a follower of another faith to hell, despite that individual being honest, kind, fair, giving, loving, and holding no prejudice with the sole reason being that they did not believe he existed.

Not everyone on earth is given an equal chance to follow christianity, an intelligent, all knowing, all powerful, forgiving, loving god wouldn't have those traits if faith was the only thing needed to access heaven.

Furthermore, I also don't see why a loving god would consider any action here on Earth, carried out by a being who's lifespan is more than likely less than 80 years, to equate to an infinite, endless, eternity's worth of pain and suffering after they were to die to be a suitable punishment.

Why would a loving, caring, forgiving god even create a hell in the first place?

Just my thoughts.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:14 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

They wouldn't.

Kev



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:26 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Why would a that God also welcome in those who hate Him?



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:29 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

I don't see why anyone who doesn't believe in a god would hate the thing they don't believe in. Do you hate Zeus, Odin, Ra, Krishna, or any other gods you don't believe in?



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:29 PM
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An edited version of my own post on the subject (James ch2);

We know from the rest of the letter that James values Faith highly- this was clear from the opening verses.
But this question ("what does it profit?") is not addressed at the man who has Faith.
It is addressed at the man who says he has Faith, which is not the same thing.
So the following question, “Can his Faith save him?”, really means “Can this merely spokenFaith save him?”

In the previous chapter, James was explaining the need to be “doers” of the Word, not hearers only.
It seems to me that he’s making a similar point in this chapter, that we need to be “doers” of the Faith, not speakers only.
He illustrates the difference in the next two verses;
If you want someone to be warm and clothed, the “warming and clothing” which is merely said is completely ineffective- “does not profit”.
The intention isn’t fulfilled until the “warming and clothing” is actively done.
If we follow this analogy through, it leads to the conclusion that merely spoken Faith is ineffective, that Faith needs to be “done”.
So that must be the real meaning of the statement in v17; merely spoken Faith (“Faith by itself”) does not bring life (“is dead”). The only kind of Faith that brings life is the ”done” Faith, the activated Faith which James calls “works”.

V18. which begins with a “But”, is not an objection to the previous verse, but another answer to v14’s “man who says he has Faith”.
“You say that you have Faith, but you don’t have works…
But someone will say…”
… the viewpoint expressed by “someone” is not the logical opposite of v14; he is NOT saying “I have works without Faith”.
His argument really extends to the end of the verse, and it’s taking the form;
“You say that you have Faith-
But I have Faith as well.
The difference between us is that I can prove it, and you can’t”.
The contrast given is between showing Faith without works, and showing Faith by means of works.
So the function of “works” here is to be the evidence for the existence of Faith, and what James is offering is another reason why “saying” should be followed by “doing”.

In the rest of the chapter, James claims to show that men are “justified by works”.
Yet the two episodes he quotes to illustrate this point are both cited in Hebrews ch11 as examples of Faith.
How can the same two episodes be examples of “Faith” in Hebrews, and examples of “works” in James?
I think we come back to the point that Faith hinges upon trust.
But “trust” is another quality which needs to be done, not merely said.
The man who walks across a bridge is showing a much more genuine trust than the man who says “I believe that bridge will hold my weight”, and stays where he is.
These two episodes are examples of “trustful action”.
But Hebrews gives them a label (“Faith”) putting emphasis on the fact that “trust is acting”.
While the label used in James gives the emphasis that “trust is acting”.
“Works” is the action of trust, by which Faith is made real and “complete”.
Nevertheless, both writers are making the same point- that genuine trust involves walking across that bridge.

In the middle of his discussion on Abraham’s obedience, James claims (v23) that it fulfilled the scriptural declaration;
“Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Genesis ch15 v6).
Paul is using the same verse, of course, for his own teaching on Faith and works found in Romans and Galatians.
It’s noteworthy, and notorious, that Paul and James make opposite-sounding statements about this verse.
Paul relies upon it for his claim that Abraham was justified by his Faith.
Yet James is using the same verse as part of his argument that men are justified by their works

However, we mustn’t allow this verbal contradiction to prevent us noticing the extent of their agreement.
They both agree on the importance of that verse.
They both appreciate the significance of the fact that Abraham believed in the promise God made him.
In short, they agree on the starting-point of Abraham’s righteousness.

James is not going to accept that Abraham was justified “by Faith alone”.
Presumably this is because “Faith by itself”, in this discussion, has meant merely spoken Faith, which James has been condemning as insufficient, not the real thing.
His argument has been that genuine Faith needs to be carried forward into action.
But that’s exactly what Abraham has been doing, if we take these two Genesis chapters together.
In ch15, he believed God’s promise, which was the foundation of his righteousness.
In ch22, that belief was carried forward into obedience, in the matter of Isaac. That’s when he “crossed the bridge”.
That’s why James says that Abraham’s obedience “fulfilled” the scripture of the earlier chapter.
That’s when his Faith was actualised, “made complete”.
“Works” is not an alternative to Faith, in this teaching, but the active ingredient of genuine Faith.

I believe that Paul and James are really talking about the same thing, a full commitment of active trust in God.
Paul calls this “justified by Faith”, for fear that works will be made a substitute for Faith.
While James calls it “justified by works”, for fear that works will be left out altogether.

James; Faith and Works


edit on 13-1-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:42 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
a reply to: ketsuko

I don't see why anyone who doesn't believe in a god would hate the thing they don't believe in. Do you hate Zeus, Odin, Ra, Krishna, or any other gods you don't believe in?


For someone who doesn't believe, you spend an awful lot of time complaining about Him.

But for what it's worth, I don't see why it should matter that much to you either.
edit on 13-1-2016 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

From my point of view you are following what both Yeshua and Buddhas tried to teach. Many human religions are insanely small minded and have no clue at all while saying they have the truth without proving it. I blame small minded duality. Creating us vs them actions where souls behave like demons/predatory animals instead of following the golden rule.

And most people cannot even logically look at the duality manipulation for what it is. If they saw it they would never listen to the likes of Muhammad and Paul.
edit on 13-1-2016 by LittleByLittle because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:52 PM
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originally posted by: DrogoTheNorman
If you read the New Testament thoroughly, it would appear that faith in Jesus is sufficient to be "saved". But wait...what about the book of James that seems to say that faith is not sufficient, that works also are needed for salvation.

I realize this subject has been debated for centuries. If you wish to comment, please cite evidence for why you believe the way you do.
faith is sufficient to be saved. but if there is time; works are required to prove fidelity.

Jesus told someone once that if they were of abraham they would be doing his works.

likewise; If you are of Christ; you would do his works. in other words you would strive to be Christ-like as you learn more of his teachings.

Another way of thinking about it is you are not a plumber if you don't plumb.

You cannot mock God or Christ with lip service. you cannot truly say you are a Christian when most of what you do or value is contrary to His teachings.

Furthermore you have to Love God and Christ even more than you love any other person or thing in the world. And if you love them you will do as they commanded. following Christ is works. Faith gets you in the door.

2 timothy 15




Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


Jesus said:




They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.





44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.




31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;





47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

edit on 13-1-2016 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 02:55 PM
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I take it to mean that Faith is generally enough, but you can't be an uncaring Jerk with impunity.

That goes back to one of the biggest slams on Catholics. They can do anything they want (Think Mafia) and as long as they confess and ask for forgiveness they're going to heaven. Now with a clean slate they can deal in prostitution and drugs and wack a few people and again...next Sunday all will be forgiven. Rinse and repeat until death-see you in Heaven.

James would nullify that and let you know that you have to try to live a good life and do the right things.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 03:07 PM
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a reply to: amazing


That goes back to one of the biggest slams on Catholics. They can do anything they want (Think Mafia) and as long as they confess and ask for forgiveness they're going to heaven. Now with a clean slate they can deal in prostitution and drugs and wack a few people and again...next Sunday all will be forgiven. Rinse and repeat until death-see you in Heaven.


It's not your get out of Hell free card, or whatever you want to call it. Those are the ones I think of when I think of lukewarm. They think simply sitting in a pew every Sunday is enough and the rest of the week, they can forget about it all.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 03:10 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

If you read the New Testament thoroughly, it would appear that faith in Jesus is sufficient to be "saved"


Answered in one verse...

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Faith alone is not sufficient...


edit on 13-1-2016 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 03:12 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
An edited version of my own post on the subject (James ch2);

We know from the rest of the letter that James values Faith highly- this was clear from the opening verses.
But this question ("what does it profit?") is not addressed at the man who has Faith.
It is addressed at the man who says he has Faith, which is not the same thing.
So the following question, “Can his Faith save him?”, really means “Can this merely spokenFaith save him?”

In the previous chapter, James was explaining the need to be “doers” of the Word, not hearers only.
It seems to me that he’s making a similar point in this chapter, that we need to be “doers” of the Faith, not speakers only.
He illustrates the difference in the next two verses;
If you want someone to be warm and clothed, the “warming and clothing” which is merely said is completely ineffective- “does not profit”.
The intention isn’t fulfilled until the “warming and clothing” is actively done.
If we follow this analogy through, it leads to the conclusion that merely spoken Faith is ineffective, that Faith needs to be “done”.
So that must be the real meaning of the statement in v17; merely spoken Faith (“Faith by itself”) does not bring life (“is dead”). The only kind of Faith that brings life is the ”done” Faith, the activated Faith which James calls “works”.

V18. which begins with a “But”, is not an objection to the previous verse, but another answer to v14’s “man who says he has Faith”.
“You say that you have Faith, but you don’t have works…
But someone will say…”
… the viewpoint expressed by “someone” is not the logical opposite of v14; he is NOT saying “I have works without Faith”.
His argument really extends to the end of the verse, and it’s taking the form;
“You say that you have Faith-
But I have Faith as well.
The difference between us is that I can prove it, and you can’t”.
The contrast given is between showing Faith without works, and showing Faith by means of works.
So the function of “works” here is to be the evidence for the existence of Faith, and what James is offering is another reason why “saying” should be followed by “doing”.

In the rest of the chapter, James claims to show that men are “justified by works”.
Yet the two episodes he quotes to illustrate this point are both cited in Hebrews ch11 as examples of Faith.
How can the same two episodes be examples of “Faith” in Hebrews, and examples of “works” in James?
I think we come back to the point that Faith hinges upon trust.
But “trust” is another quality which needs to be done, not merely said.
The man who walks across a bridge is showing a much more genuine trust than the man who says “I believe that bridge will hold my weight”, and stays where he is.
These two episodes are examples of “trustful action”.
But Hebrews gives them a label (“Faith”) putting emphasis on the fact that “trust is acting”.
While the label used in James gives the emphasis that “trust is acting”.
“Works” is the action of trust, by which Faith is made real and “complete”.
Nevertheless, both writers are making the same point- that genuine trust involves walking across that bridge.

In the middle of his discussion on Abraham’s obedience, James claims (v23) that it fulfilled the scriptural declaration;
“Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Genesis ch15 v6).
Paul is using the same verse, of course, for his own teaching on Faith and works found in Romans and Galatians.
It’s noteworthy, and notorious, that Paul and James make opposite-sounding statements about this verse.
Paul relies upon it for his claim that Abraham was justified by his Faith.
Yet James is using the same verse as part of his argument that men are justified by their works

However, we mustn’t allow this verbal contradiction to prevent us noticing the extent of their agreement.
They both agree on the importance of that verse.
They both appreciate the significance of the fact that Abraham believed in the promise God made him.
In short, they agree on the starting-point of Abraham’s righteousness.

James is not going to accept that Abraham was justified “by Faith alone”.
Presumably this is because “Faith by itself”, in this discussion, has meant merely spoken Faith, which James has been condemning as insufficient, not the real thing.
His argument has been that genuine Faith needs to be carried forward into action.
But that’s exactly what Abraham has been doing, if we take these two Genesis chapters together.
In ch15, he believed God’s promise, which was the foundation of his righteousness.
In ch22, that belief was carried forward into obedience, in the matter of Isaac. That’s when he “crossed the bridge”.
That’s why James says that Abraham’s obedience “fulfilled” the scripture of the earlier chapter.
That’s when his Faith was actualised, “made complete”.
“Works” is not an alternative to Faith, in this teaching, but the active ingredient of genuine Faith.

I believe that Paul and James are really talking about the same thing, a full commitment of active trust in God.
Paul calls this “justified by Faith”, for fear that works will be made a substitute for Faith.
While James calls it “justified by works”, for fear that works will be left out altogether.

James; Faith and Works



This.




posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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from the old testament: insincere sacrifice is an abomination to the lord. the sacrifice of an insincere man makes God feel as if he has just witnessed a man snap a dog's neck or bless an idol.




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