Faith Without Works?


#1

Hello,

For those who hold to the doctrine of Sola Fide - Faith Alone - how do you square up the Letter of James that says:

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment. What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:12-26)

Father Cantalamessa recently spoke on the topic of “Mothers of Christ” on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. He touched on this when he said:

There are those who conceive Jesus without giving birth to him. Such are those who welcome the word without putting it into practice, those who have one spiritual abortion after another, formulating plans for conversion which are then systematically forgotten and abandoned at the halfway point; they behave toward the word as hasty observers who see their faces in a mirror and then go away immediately forgetting what they looked like (cf. James 1:23-24). In sum, these are those who have faith but not works.

The whole article can be read here.


#2

When a sinner places their faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross and repents from sin, that person is born-again. This sinner is washed clean from sin by the blood of the lamb. This person is baptized with the Holy Spirit and begins their Christian journey with a heart filled with God’s love. Now in this born-again condition, faith is born. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen which comes by hearing the word of God. Upon learning how to be a Christian from the Word of God, works of kindness are performed by the love of Jesus our Saviour toward man.

Jam 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


#3

.

All you got to say is :" God help’s those who help them selves."
Right ?:rolleyes:


#4

I’ve noticed that, while Paul certainly stresses faith (and Paul is largely where Prots have gotten the idea of “faith alone”), if you read the gospels, JESUS seems to think you have to DO some stuff in order to enter God’s kingdom.


#5

I’m not a scholar, but doesn’t it say somewhere that faith without works is dead? That pretty much says to me that you have to live your faith, not just give “lip service” to it. Works, it would seem, are the living proof of our choice to follow the Lord.


#6

Thats Right, Jesus TRUMPS Paul every time !!!:thumbsup:


#7

The traditional Protestant view of this is that true faith will always produce works, but the works do not themselves contribute to justification. They may contribute to “salvation” in some sense, but not to justification.

Edwin


#8

So you do not agree with the Catholic Church’s position that whatever is asserted in Scripture is asserted by God?

How can God trump Himself?

Edwin


#9

What I mean is, if doing Good Works is unclear to you in Paul’s
writings,then just go and see what Jesus has to say on the
subject, and dump Luther’s PERSONAL interpretation.


#10

Well, actually Paul does not really stess faith, the prots generally just stress the verses where Paul talks about faith being important. Read 1st Corinthians Ch. 13. The entire chapter he is stressing Love and in fact says at the end of the chapter that we have these 3, faith hope and love. The most important of these being Love.


#11

Faith and Works go hand in hand.

an athiest can do good works, but a person who is lazy can have a large amount of faith

i don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s easier for me to understand it this way.


#12

**I. Faith Justifies Initially, but Works Perfect and Complete **
Justification

James 2:24 - the phrase “faith alone” (the Greek “pisteos monon”) only occurs once in the Bible. “Man is justified by works and NOT faith alone.” Unlike what many Protestant churches teach, no where in Scripture does it say that man is justified or saved by “faith alone.” To the contrary, man is not justified by faith alone. In Catholic theology, a person is justified by faith and works acting together, which comes solely from God’s divine grace. Faith alone never obtains the grace of justification (Council of Trent, chapter 8, canon 9). Also, the word “justified” (dikaiow) is the same word Paul uses for justification in Rom. 4:3 in regard to Abraham (so Protestants cannot argue James is not referring to “justification” in James 2:24 unless they argue Paul wasn’t in Rom. 4:3 either).

Heb. 11:6 - faith is indeed the minimum requirement without which we cannot please God. But this is just the beginning of the process leading toward justification. Faith alone does not justify a person. Justification is only achieved by faith and works, as we see below. Also, this gratuitous gift of faith from God also includes the grace of hope and love the moment the person is justified.

Eph. 2:8-9 – Paul teaches us that faith is the root of justification, and that faith excludes “works of law.” But Paul does not teach that faith excludes other kinds of works, as we will see below. The verse also does not say we are justified by “faith alone.” It only indicates that faith comes first. This, of course, must be true, because those who do works outside of faith are in a system of debt, not of grace (more on that later). But faith alone does not justify. A man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. James 2:24.

Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30 - the faith we have must be a repentant faith, not just an intellectual faith that believes in God. Repentance is not just a thought process (faith), but an act (work) by which we ask God for His mercy and forgiveness.

Psalm 51:17 – this means we need a “broken and contrite heart,” not just an intellectual assent of faith. Faith in God is only the beginning.

John 3:36; Rom. 1:5, 6:17; 15:18; 16:26; 2 Cor. 9:13; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:11; 1 Peter 2:7-8; Heb. 5:9; cf. Rev. 3:10; Ex. 19:5 – this faith must also be an “obedient faith” and a “work of faith.” Obedience means persevering in good works to the end.

2 Cor. 10:15 – this faith must also increase as a result of our obedience, as Paul hopes for in this verse. Obedience is achieved not by faith alone, but by doing good works.

2 Cor. 13:5 – Paul also admonishes us to examine ourselves, to see whether we are holding to our faith. This examination of conscience is a pious Catholic practice. Our faith, which is a gift from God, must be nurtured. Faith is not a one-time event that God bestows upon us.

Gal. 5:6 – thus, the faith that justifies us is “faith working through love,” not faith alone. This is one of the best summaries of Catholic teaching. Faith and love (manifested by works) are always connected. Faith (a process of thought) and love (an action) are never separated in the Scriptures. Cf. Eph. 3:17; 1 Thess. 3:6,12-13; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 John 3:23; Rev. 2:4-5,19. Further, all faith (initial and perfected) are gratuitous gifts from God, and not earned or merited by any human action. God effects everything, both the willing and the achievement. But God also requires human action, which is necessary to perfect our faith.

James 1:22-25 - it’s the “doers” who are justified, not the hearers. Justification is based on what we do, which means “works.” Notice that there is nothing about “false faith.” The hearers may have faith, but they need to accompany their faith by works, or they will not be justified. See also Rom. 2:13.


#13

James 2:17,26 - James clearly teaches that faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. Works are a cause, not just an effect, of our justification because good works achieve and increase our justification before God. Scripture never says anything about “saving faith.” Protestants cannot show us from the Scriptures that “works” qualify the “faith” into saving faith. Instead, here and elsewhere, the Scriptures teach that justification is achieved only when “faith and works” act together. Scripture puts no qualifier on faith. Scripture also never says that faith “leads to works.” Faith is faith and works are works (James 2:18). They are distinct (mind and action), and yet must act together in order to receive God’s unmerited gift of justification.

James 2:19 - even the demons believe that Jesus is Lord. But they tremble. Faith is not enough. Works are also required.

James 2:20 - do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Good works in God’s grace are required for justification. But there is nothing in the Scriptures about “saving faith.”

James 2:22 - faith is active with works and is completed by works. It does not stand alone. Faith needs works to effect our justification.

James 4:17 - in fact, James writes that the failure to do works is a sin! So works are absolutely necessary for our justification.

James 2:15-17 - here are the examples of the “works” to which James is referring - corporal works of mercy (giving food and shelter to those in need).

James 1:27 - another example of “works” is visiting orphans and widows in their affliction. Otherwise, if they do not perform these good works, their religion is in vain.

James 2:25 - another example of “works” is when Rahab assisted the spies in their escape. Good works increase our justification and perfect our faith.

Joshua 2:9-11 - Rahab’s fellow citizens had faith in God, but in Joshua 6:22-25, Rahab alone acted and was saved. This is faith in action.

James 2:18 - to avoid the truth of the Catholic position that we are justified by both faith and works, Protestants argue the justification that James is referring to in James 2 is “before men” and not “before God.” Scripture disproves their claim.

James 2:14 - James asks, “Can faith save him?” Salvation comes from God. This proves the justification James is referring to is before God, not men.

James 2:19 - also, James reminds us that even the demons believe and tremble. This refers to our relationship with God, not with men. Thus, our justification that requires works and not faith alone relates to our status before God, not men.

James 2:21 - James also appeals to the example of Abraham. Abraham’s justification refers to his position before God, not men. This proves justification is before God, not men.


#14

Acts. 10:35 – Peter teaches that anyone who fears the Lord and does what is right is acceptable to Him. It is both fear and works, not fear alone.

Rom. 2:7,10 - to those who by patience and good works will be granted glory and honor and peace from the Lord.

Rom. 2:13 – for it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. Paul is referring to the “law of Christ” in Gal.6:2, not “works of the law” in Rom. 3:20,28; Gal. 2:16; 3:2,5,10; and Eph. 2:8-9. The “law of Christ” is faith in Christ and works based on grace (God owes us nothing) and “works of the law” mean no faith in Christ, and legal works based on debt (God owes us something).

Rom. 4:5-6 – to him who does not work but believes, his faith is accounted to him as righteousness, like David, who was righteous apart from works. Here, Paul is emphasizing that works must be done in faith, not outside of faith. If they are done outside of faith, we are in a system of debt (God owes us). If they are done in faith (as James requires), we are in a system of grace (God rewards us). Hence, Paul accepts the works performed under God’s forbearance (grace) in Rom. 2:7,10,13 (see also Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:12-17; and 2 Corinthians 5:10) which lead to justification and eternal life. These verses have nothing to do with “faith alone.” Paul uses the word “alone” three times in Rom. 4:12,16,23, but never uses it with “faith.” Certainly, if he wanted to teach “faith alone,” he would have done so.

Rom. 6:16 - obedience leads to righteousness. Obedience is a good “work,” an act of the will, which leads to righteousness before God.

2 Cor. 9:8 - Paul teaches that God will bless us so that we may provide in abundance for “every good work.” Good works are encouraged to complete our faith.

Eph. 6:8 - whatever good anyone does will receive the same again from the Lord. God rewards good works done in grace.

Phil. 4:17 – Paul says “I seek the fruit which increases to your credit.” Fruits (good works) increase our justification. Paul says these works increase our “credit,” which is also called “merit.” These merits bring forth more graces from God, furthering increasing our justification as we are so disposed. But the fruits, works, and merits are all borne from God’s unmerited and undeserved mercy won for us by Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:8 - good deeds are excellent and profitable to men (just like the Old Testament Scriptures in 2 Tim. 3:16). Good deeds further justify us before God. This verse should be contrasted with Titus 3:5, where we are not saved by works of righteousness “we have done.” As further discussed below, in this verse what “we have done” refers to a work of law or obligation for which we seek payment. But verse 5 also says the “washing of regeneration” in reference to baptism saves, which is a work of grace, for which we are rewarded by God in Christ. There is a distinction between “works of law or obligation” and “works of grace.”

1 Peter 2:7-8; John 3:36 - shows that belief in Jesus means obeying Jesus. Having faith means being faithful, which requires good works as well. Hence, obeying Jesus means doing works of love, not just having faith alone.


#15

JMJ Decoder said:

Quoting James: For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy

AMEN :slight_smile:


#16

I disagree with this… I do agree with the first part, an athiest can do good works but no one can have Faith but not show it. It comes out naturally through our actions. For you will know it by their fruit! :thumbsup:


#17

well I guess I know too many people, I know there are some christians out there who are careless because they believe all they need is faith, they even stop worrying about sinning sometimes. for instance one man was raised by christianity, but in the end he ends up cheating on his wife multiple times but he doesn’t worry about being judged because of his faith, this is the kinda guy who is active in his church and only hangs out with christian people.

there are people who believe that faith grants them good works which is partially true, but alot of times these good works seems to happen when they feel like doing them.

like it is said in James, Faith without Works is empty

our faith is our armor but our works is our sword


#18

I wish that were true because the world would be a better place if it were. Even the devil has faith.

The people who passed the beaten traveler had faith. The good Samaritan had faith and works.

I know plenty of people of all denominations who are in church every time the doors open for services or Bible study. They certainly have faith. Some of them are never to be found, though, when we paint the widow’s house or put together and deliver food baskets to the needy at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I believe. The Holy Spirit can lay it on my heart to get up on Saturday morning, go downtown, and help in the soup kitchen. Still, despite my faith, I can resist His calling and sleep in, play golf or mow the lawn. The faith would still be there, such as it is, but it takes an act of our own will to properly demonstrate it.


#19

Hello,

But from this understanding - that normally works accompany faith, but are in no way necessary for justification and salvation (if I am misunderstanding your viewpoint let me know) - then one can be justified and saved by faith alone without any accompanying works. In other words, they can have faith without works - and this is in direct contradiction to James.

From my viewpoint, the Catholic viewpoint, on the meaning of justification:

We are justified by grace through faith leading unto good works.


#20

If that’s all there is to your definition of justification, then that’s a protestant definition. The Catholic definition goes something like this…

CC 1992. Justification is conferred in [water] Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:


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