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Faith Without Works

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My Motive in this paper is to show you how I fell about the passage. This is my thought in the exegetical view of James in his thought of faith and works.With this paper I will show how James instructs us to be “doers” of the Word and not just “hearers.” It is all too easy to forget what we have read in the Bible if we do not put it into practice: Authorship
Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works sing his work to the “Twelve Tribes dispersed throughout the World” (Presumably “Spiritual Israel,” the International Church), the author calls himself” James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
He does not claim apostolic rank or mention a kinship with James, but church tradition Identifies him as the person whom the apostle Paul calls” “James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19) the principal leader of Palestine Jewish Christianity between about 20 and 62 C.E.
He was devout respecter of the Mosaic Torah and was known to his fellow Israelites as “James the righteous”. Despite his high reputation among both Jews and Christians, however, a violent mob killed him about 62 C.E.
Two qualities of the Epistle of James give general clues about background. Besides being written in excellent Greek (not something a Galilean nature would likely be capable of), it repeatedly echoes Greek editions of the Hebrew Bible, especially the Book of Proverbs and later Hellenistic wisdom books like Ecclesiastics and the wisdom of Solomon.
Forms and Organization
Except for the brief opening salutation, the work bears no similarity to a letter. It is instead a collection of Proverbs, commentaries, scriptural paraphrases and moral advice.
As a literary genre, James is the only New Testament resembling the compilation of wise counsel found in the Hebrew Bible. Lacking any principle of coherence, James leaps from topic to topic and then back again.
The only unifying themes is the author’s view of the purpose and function of religion (James 1:26-27) which he defines as typically Jewish good works, charitable practices that will save the soul and cancel a multitude of sins (5: 19-20).
The following is the order of the epistle of James. From that we will examine the third section:
(1) The nature of trials and temptation (1: 2-27)
(2) Respect for the poor (2: 1-13)
(3) “Works” or good deeds, as the only measure of faith” (2: 14:26)
(4) Controlling the tongue (3: 1-12)
(5) Warning against violent ambition and exploration of the poor (4: 1-5:6)
The Recipients and Date
From the topics covered, the epistle of James seems directed at Jewish Christian groups that existed long enough to have disobeyed a sense of class distinction within the Church.
Wealthy Christians snub poorer ones (2: 1-9), 
fail to share their material possession (2: 14-26), 
engage in worldly competition (4: 1-10) 
and exploit fellow believers of the laboring class (4: 13-5:6).
 These socially stratified and economically divided communities suggest a time long after that of the impoverished Jerusalem commune described in Acts chapter 2.
 Most scholars date the work in the late first century, considerably after the historic James Martyrdom in the early 60’s. 
 One of the favorite pieces of work that is declared and formed the theological foundation for many religious sects is that of Faith and Works. It is against this backdrop that our discussion will be hinged. James shows that it is not true faith by comparison. He likens such dead faith to lifeless love; “if a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, go in peace, be warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit”.
 The key to understanding James’ teaching regarding faith and works is to carefully note the context and general thrust of this section as a whole. If one takes a phrase or verse out of its context, one can make James contradict Paul. The Apostle Paul says “that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans. 3:28; cf. 4:5-8; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-13; 5:2-4). 
 James says “that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James. 2:24). Since both Paul and James wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, their teaching on faith and works cannot contradict one another. The solution to such an apparent contradiction is not to ignore the teaching of Paul and declare James a Papist; neither should one declare the book of James an epistle of straw, as Martin Luther did. A careful reading of Paul and James on justification shows that each author was considering justification from a completely different perspective. What, indeed, is the use of charity like that? Love which confines itself to empty words, to cheap advice, to pious hopes, is not worthy the name. “Even so faith, if it has not works is dead?”
 James further proves his point by imaginary challenge: Show me thy faith apart from thy works”. 
 That exposes the fallacy without works there is no possible way of proving that faith exists. Such faith is a phantom, a dream, a delusion but, one who truly believes can say without pride yet in all confidence, “I by my works will show thee my faith?
 To show further the vanity of a faith which consists in mere intellectual assent to truth, James takes a case in point. He turns to some Jews who plume themselves upon being orthodox, because he believes in the unity of God, and repeats daily the formula of his faith; “Thou believes that God is one; thou doest well; the demons also believe, and shudder. The demons are quite orthodox in their beliefs and probably more exact in their knowledge than most mortals; but while conscious of their deserved doom and of their rebellion against God, their knowledge only adds to their distress they shudder. 
Thus James concludes; “faith apart from works is barren.
 On the other hand, real faith necessarily embodies itself in action. The faith of a true believer will be indicated and demonstrated by works. 
 According to Stein: “To establish this positive side of his argument James employs two examples:
(1) Is that of Abraham “the father of the faithful”. When he was subjected to the supreme test, when he was asked to offer up Isaac his son upon the altar; his faith was found to be genuine: It was no mere assent to a creed, it was a faith that wrought with is works and by works was faith made perfect. Abraham was shown to have a supreme confidence in God, a matchless submission to this will: he really “believed God and it was reckoned unto him for righteous; and he was called the friend of God”.
So it was by works that a man is shown to be a true believer, James declares and not by a mere profession of faith.
(2). Is that of Rehab, she also was shown by her works to be sincere in her faith, at the risk of her life; she hid the spies who entered Jericho, and sent them out another way. It is true that her faith was not perfect; she was guilty of false hood and deception; yet her faith was remarkable and it was genuine. A poor, sinful woman of Canaan, with little, opportunity for knowledge; she had became convinced that the God of Israel was the Living and true God, and as opportunity offered of serving him, she imperiled her life to defend his messengers.
 The results were that she was saved; she was honored as a heroine in the Hebrews annul; she become the ancestress of Jesus Christ. Such is the Power of a Living faith. On the other hand: As the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead”.
 Hughes says that “the days of dead orthodoxy are not gone; there are many persons whose faith consists of recital of creeds and in the defense of dogmas, many who need to be reminded that “Faith apart from works is dead”. Yet again on the other hand, it is time for men to cease proposing in the false alternatives of creed or character “belief or conduct,” “doctrine or duty”; these supposed alternatives are inseparable as causes and effects, as roots and fruits”.
 When creeds are living, when belief is sincere, when doctrine is truly accepted, then character and right conduct and performance of duty are sure to result. Al living faith does save.
Also, In James most famous passage (2: 14-20) the author contrast the futility of person who claim they have faith but do not follow the practical religion of good works.
 To James, belief that fails to inspire right action is dead. Only “deeds – serving the “orphans and widows” and others suffering comparable needs can demonstrate the reality of faith.
 According to Adamson, “many interpreters see this section as an attack on Paul’s doctrine of salvation through faith (the apostle’s rejection of “works” of Torah obedience in favor of trust in Gods saving purpose in Christ)”. 
 Like Paul says Adamson, “James cites the Genesis example of Abraham to prove his point but he gives it a strikingly different interpretation. James asserts that it was Abraham’s action, his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac that justified him. The writer’s conclusion is distinctly UnPauline” “a man is justified by deeds and not by faith in itself”.
The Second section of this paper deals with the exegetical aspect of the chosen text as found in the Book of James chapter 2.
 From the outset,and according to the scriptures it is important to know that men are never saved by their works. The Apostle James demonstrates through teaching that Works do not save or justify. But a man is justified by faith and works. He also points out that a man saved life will demonstrate itself in a life of sanctification and faithful service to the Lord. 
Hence, he begins this discussion by Bibliography
Bibliography Adamson, James B. The Epistle of James. New International Commentary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976.

Davids, Peter. The Epistle of James. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.

Erdman, Charles R. The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1931.

Hughes, R. Kent. James: Faith That Works. Wheaton: Crossway Books, Rake straw 1991., 

Robert V. "James 2:14-26: Does James Contradict The Pauline Soteriology?" Criswell Theological Review 1 (Fall 1986): 31-50.

Stein, Robert H. "‘Saved by Faith [Alone]’ in Paul Verses ‘Not Saved by Faith Alone’ in James." Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 4. no. 3 (Fall 2000): 4-19.

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