My title did not suggest a question, but I am wondering if the following makes sense. Please tell me if there are errors to it, or what a non-Catholic Christian would say.
James 2 says:
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. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 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? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
[INDENT][INDENT]Often non-Catholics will say that this passage is not talking about justification before God; rather it is a kind of justification before man. Good works proceed from a true faith as good fruit.
However, does not the simple statement in verse 24 - **You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone - **manifestly express that this is justification before God? In this way: Faith is not something, in itself, expressed to man. Faith is directly connected to God. “We are not justified [before God] …by faith alone.” Works are actions that may demonstrate to others that we are justified before God. But faith cannot demonstrate anything in this regard.
Therefore, since faith cannot be in reference to justification before man, then it follows that works is not being treated this way here, either.
There are other arguments, too, of course. Such as how can Abraham’s sacrifice be a justification before men when the whole story of that was about Abraham’s obedience to God. (Unless one wants to make the argument that this sacrifice was meant to show the single other character* Isaac* that Abraham was truly right before God. I don’t think that’s very strong.)
Anyway, do you think that one sentence in verse 24 is enough to highlight that yes, indeed, James is speaking of justification just like Paul: Justification before God, and we are justified not only justified by faith but also by our good works.[/INDENT][/INDENT]