Help understanding James 2:24, about being justified by works

In James 2:24 it says;
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

I met an expert Protestant guy, I told him, didn’t it said in the Bible that “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”? He’s a Baptist and believes in Sola Fide, he said I should understand the word “justified”, he implied something like, “justified” doesn’t mean both faith and works are required to be saved but being “justified” is meaning it’s only to prove that you have faith, not that it is required, works is something that comes out of by faith and not something that the Christian adds to faith.

But I thought it’s pretty understandable in the context, James 2:14 says “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”, I thought this is the subject, it has something to do with salvation that’s why James wrote that the Christian should have works too and not faith alone. I thought James sarcastically compared faith only people to demons because they believe in God but it doesn’t save them.

Protestants says that works are the effect of faith, but why James warn Christians against having faith only? I thought it’s because it’s possible to have faith only and the Christian must avoid it.

Also, how can I reconcile this verse with James 2:14-26?

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I don’t know how to work this out. I have to research Catholic apologetics about this.

So how can I defend “works” from this guy? Or Catholics has Sola Fide belief too?

Hi souldiver, :slight_smile:

I think many Christians agree that faith and works are necessary, I think that sometimes they just use a different language.

For example, If a Christian says they believe in faith alone, but then justify it with St James and say that faith without works is dead, than I think we are pretty much in agreement with one another except that we are simply using a different language.

It’s usually the once saved always saved (OSAS) kind of things that I believe are in error.

The once saved always saved idea I think is the opposite of the Jansenism heresy that came up among Catholics (namely in France, who saints like St Therese and St Margaret Mary Alacoque corrected) around the Protestant reformation, which was an over emphasis on works rather than faith and works.

And the opposite among protestants being an over emphasis on faith without works as some protestants do with OSAS etc today.

Nevertheless, while I disagree with sola scriptura, even scripture alone is enough to refute it (and very powerfully I believe).

When it comes to topics on this, I think it can be solved with the one parable told about the unforgiving servant, I believe this parable refutes both heresies extremely well.

I hope this has helped

May God Bless You souldiver.

Thank you for reading
Josh

I agree with you. This verse supports being active in your faith, which I think all would agree with.

1 John 3:17-20 If anyone is well-off in worldly possessions and sees his brother in need but closes his heart to him, how can the love of God be remaining in him? Children, our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine. This will be the proof that we belong to the truth, and it will convince us in his presence, even if our own feelings condemn us, that God is greater than our feelings and knows all things.

And this verse tells us to avoid wrangling over words.

2 Timothy 2:14-16 Remind them of this; and tell them in the name of God that there must be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening. Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who has no need to be ashamed, but who keeps the message of truth on the straight path. Have nothing to do with godless philosophical discussions - they only lead further and further away from true religion.

In the Apostolic Churches which have the Sacraments especially valid orders of Holy Communion you can see it like this. The Mass or the Divine Liturgy is God’s Work and Sacrifice for man and woman. It is not our sacrifice. What we do outside the Mass and the Divine Liturgy is our work and sacrifice. Our work and sacrifice must compliment God’s Work and Sacrifice. This is what James means. Unless we contribute our work and sacrifice we are not doing what God is searching from us. Going to Church is not our work and sacrifice because we receive the benefits of God’s Work and Sacrifice at every Mass at every Divine Liturgy. If this world is to receive the benefit of the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus we must accomplish worthy acts of mercy outside the Mass and the Divine Liturgy. Our acts of mercy must compliment God’s acts of Mercy. This is what St. James means by those words. If we only go to the Mass and the Divne Liturgy we are not accomplishing anything great. We are only raiding the “refrigerator” if we only go to Church. If we accomplish worthy acts of mercy in response to God’s outside the Mass and the Divine Liturgy we are then putting something back into that “refrigerator”.

We are also told to not just be hearers of the word, but doers of the word.

And yes, we are saved by faith, but without works there is no faith.

Satan, when tempting Christ in the Judean wilderness proved he knew scripture, by quoting it to Jesus. However, the absence of faith made Satan a hearer of the word only, and not a doer.

Demons cast out by Jesus also showed they believed Jesus was the Son of God (They called him the Holy One of God), but belief, like faith, is not enough. The Demons, and many people among us, know Jesus is God, but still are not disciples, in that they do not die to themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus.

PEACE AND ALL GOOD!

The Ephesians text actually doesn’t support “saved by faith” … it supports the Catholic idea that people can be saved by grace.

Grace is the unmerited favor of God which we receive; grace gives faith, and through faith gives works. I am, of course, speaking specifically of sanctifying grace. Actual graces are those given to us as strengthening us for our walk, but sanctifying grace comes first.

Prayer is a work (and one of the means of obtaining actual graces to help us grow in holiness)–and can anyone seriously have a life of faith if that person never talked to God, ever?

The sacraments also give sanctifying grace, but that also requires a lot of “unpacking” when talking to a Protestant who is arguing sola fide. But if I did want to tackle that, I would point out that the sacraments are the sign of how God sees to it that we are constantly taken care of, that we’re never left alone–these are the signs that we have of Christ’s Presence. And filled with the love that is lavished on us, we then can’t help but participate in some of the works of mercy (corporal and/or spiritual–not everyone participates in the same ones at all times)–because now we are a sign to the world of God’s love.

What James was saying was not an implication that “faith alone” is possible. It’s more “you might say this, but your inaction speaks much louder than your words”, while works show that we are actually living branches of the Vine.

That’s not what St. James says. St. James says that faith synergizes with works (verse 22) not that works comes out of faith.

But I thought it’s pretty understandable in the context, James 2:14 says “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”, I thought this is the subject, it has something to do with salvation that’s why James wrote that the Christian should have works too and not faith alone. I thought James sarcastically compared faith only people to demons because they believe in God but it doesn’t save them.

Protestants says that works are the effect of faith, but why James warn Christians against having faith only? I thought it’s because it’s possible to have faith only and the Christian must avoid it.

Correct. St. James knows that Faith can lack works he says that in verse 14, nothing flows mechanically from faith.

Also, how can I reconcile this verse with James 2:14-26?

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I don’t know how to work this out. I have to research Catholic apologetics about this.

So how can I defend “works” from this guy? Or Catholics has Sola Fide belief too?

It seems to me that “works” in Eph 2:9 refers to works of the Mosaic Law, like circumcision, not good works performed by Christians.

I was just thinking about this further. Romans 2:6-8 and Romans 2:13 explain it very well.

Please ignore my last post as the verses were taken out of context. My apologies.

Yes, and our separated brethren tend to stop reading at v. 9 where Catholics continue through v. 10.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Personally I think the phrase “faith and works” is misleading. I prefer Paul’s description of “faith, working through love”.

Catholics do believe we are justified by faith, though it is never “alone” as saving faith is always accompanied by the fruits it bears.

We are saved by grace, through faith. It is a certain quality of faith. It is a faith that works. :thumbsup:

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