How do Protestants deal with James on faith and works?


I admire the Orthodox a lot… but there is more evidence of the bishop of Rome’s primacy than they’re willing to admit. The early church often looked to him as a “decisive” witness, so to speak, and it was remarkably resilient to the heresies of the past (Arianism, Nestorianism, etc). There was a period where even Patriarchs got elected who were Arians, and threw their regions into doctrinal chaos. The “orthodox” believers depended on Rome in these times.


So you believe in the great exchange. That our sin is placed on Christ in exchange we receive the righteousness of God.


And Luther did nothing different. He regularly states in his commentaries that these are his opinions.

The canon is precisely what they were talking about. Cajetan uses the term specifically.

Using the phrase self evident is an attempt to prevent the obvious question: where does he say so outside of his sarcasm in, for example, his open letter on translating?


Granted Christ died for us and gives us more blessing than we can imagine. What I’m saying is that once we come to faith, we live for Him. We die to self and live for Christ.

and because we live for Him then everything we do (should do) is for His Glory. We certainly receive blessings both in this life and the life to come, because we live for Him. But blessing aren’t the reason we live for Him, they are a byproduct.


I’m far more willing to recognize his primacy than most western non-Catholics, in part for the reason you mentioned. But primacy is not supremacy. Primacy is not universal jurisdiction


Yes…do you think Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth and Simeon were not born of God, born of the spirit, regenerated or born again?


Okay, but before whom? Whom did Abraham sacrifice Isaac to, and before whom?


Respectfully opinion only in pondering.This flows in content with

Far to many Biblical Verses to list here, which explains why God found them to be righteous before Him. Abraham? Noah? Samuel? Elijah? Enoch? Lot? Job? Kings> David? Asa? Hezekiah? Josiah?

Genesis 15:6 " And he believed the Lord and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness" He believed in His Spoken Word and choose to serve, obey, observe and live by it also? When reading the whole story of Abraham Life.

Ja 2:21-26 " You see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith alone"

James 1:19 " You must understand this my beloved let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your soul" His Spoken Word live by?

1 Luke 1:5-7 “In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth . Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly”

2: Peter 2:7-10 Speaks of Lots righteousness

Then we have Matthew 7: 21 " " Not everyone who says to me, " Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven only who does the will of my Father in Heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast our demons in you name and do many deeds of power in your name? Then I will declare to them " I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers"

Notice the word>>only< who >>does the will>of my Father? Will find all in OT whom God found to be faithful to him by how they lived daily, obeyed, observed, served him and others justly, thus called Righteous before him?

James flows in what is written through out the whole Bible in what the word Righteousness means before God and how God judges those to be found living Righteously before Him.

James 2 :18 " But someone 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.

James 2:20 “Do you want to be shown, you senseless person that faith apart from works is barren?”
21) Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the Altar? You see faith was active along with his works"
James 2:25 " Likewise was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road?

James 26 " For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead".

Cannot believe this is still a topic when the whole Bible makes it very clear from the Front of the bible to the back of the Bible>>>all flows in content. :slight_smile:

Peace :slight_smile:


Probably not in the way you do, if you are talking about “substitutionary”. We believe that He bore our sins in His body on the cross, and that in baptism, we are united to Him in His death and resurrection.

What Catholics believe about receiving righteousness is different. We believe it is imputed to us, meaning actually deposited into the account, not just a case of doctoring the books. We are not only “declared righteous”, but made so by the Holy Spirit.

Well this is a relief to read! It is very distressing to think that God did not have our best interests in mind when he prepared the works of righteousness for us to perform!

Not in the sense that Calvin describes, no.

Matthew 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

Jesus brought a baptism in the Holy Spirit that was not available to those before that time.

This is so much nonsense. The idea that God would want us to appear justified before other people goes against so much biblical teaching. And it is totally indefensible given the context, since Abraham was ALONE with his son! I have always wondered if Isaac did not think his father had gone over the edge.

I wonder if anyone considered that it was Abraham that needed to be shown?


Yes, but we dont’ understand this in the same way. We believe that the only “work” that avails us of initial justification is faith. But Catholics understand that being in right relationship with God is not something that happens once in time, for all time. Staying in right relationship is an ongoing matter of working out our salvation in fear and trembling. This is why we use use the phrase “state of grace”. When one is in a state of grace, being sanctified by grace, through faith, then the good works we do that God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them sanctify us.

But no, we are not declared righteous “because of our works”. We are only saved by grace, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast. The works themselves emanate from the same place as the grace that justifies us. We engage in them by faith, and are empowered to do them by grace. And finally, they are not “our works” they are His, for we have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God.

Yeah, there was such a large crowd on hand at the top of that mountain with Abraham. :roll_eyes:


Well it is what Jesus was talking about…that is to be born again…not sure what you mean of Calvin…did he describe ot rebirth or just nt birth?..yes th HS has different role in testaments, but both testaments had rebirth, spiritual quickening


My words exactly.


This is so close to my understanding. The difference is that not only is our initial salvation by grace, through faith, not of works (justification)… but that ongoing salvation (sanctification) is also by grace, through faith, not of works, and out ultimate salvation (Glorification) is by grace, through faith, not of works.

The Jews to whom the story was told and who read it in the Scriptures was the crowd on top of that hill. We, who hold Abraham as an example of faith are the crowd that was on top of that hill. We are the ones who marvel at his great trust in and commitment to God. You need not to be at the event to understand the testimony and significance of the event.


Calvin’s concept of being regenerated is different from what we have received from the Apostles.

I think you are saying that people were “born again” prior to Jesus talking about it.

I think not a different role, per se, but a different way of acting upon the persons under the OT.

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John 14:17
17 even the Spirit of truth… you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

In that case, there is no difference. Sanctification is wrought by doing His works, not ours. Working out our salvation through fear and trembling is a work of grace, by faith.


You do realize that I was giving you the definition of “Faith Alone”?


That is, sort of, the Lutheran teaching of faith vs works.

And the Vatican & the LWF sort of ageees. Tomahto-tomayto


So, Abraham was never justified by works until the story was told and was written?! That is absurd! No one but God tested Abraham! Abraham sacrificed Isaac to God in front of God only! Abraham’s justification by works does not depend on other men who listen to a story or who read it on parchment hundreds of years later!

This is James 2:14-26:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

This is James 2:14-26 with a Protestant twist:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works [before men] when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar [before those who will read this]? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of [men, not God]. You see that a person is justified by works [only before men] and by faith alone [before God].


That depends upon whose definition you are using. But in any case, Catholics recognize that faith is NEVER alone. It is always accompanied by the good deeds it produces.

13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Cor.

The Apostle is saying that the 'greatest" is love. Love is evident in character and good works. It is never separated from faith.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Catholics do not espouse these “solas” because they are not “alone”. Faith is always working through love, so the good works it produces cannot be separated from it.

The other difference may be that Catholics are not monergic. We do not believe God does all the work without our participation.

James 2:22
22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works…

συνεργός = “working together” (synergy)

we participate and are completed through the works that we are moved to do by grace, through faith. They do not occur without our willing participation.


Then how do you explain James using the same verse Paul used to make his point?


Nothing Paul wrote about Abraham contradicts what I’ve said. As a matter of fact it affirms what I’ve said.

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 _
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
_ and whose sins are covered;

_8 _
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:1-8

10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. Romans 4:10-11

20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Romans 4:20-24

4 Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Galatians 3: 4-6

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