Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


Hi spina1953 I like what you said here. But you may be avoiding the elephant to make your point. I agree. good works are necessary for the Christian and Catholic alike. Good works are promoted throughout the New Testament. Jesus spoke about them. The Apostles spoke about them. We are encouraged to have good works.

But the more narrow question is: Do your good works save you eternally? The Apostle Paul said NO! in Ephesians 2:8. I don’t know why for so many people on this site, Paul’s answer is unacceptable. Paul called eternal life a GIFT. This verbiage is used in many New Testament places. This means that it is simply to be received by faith, when you believe Jesus is the Christ. 1st. Jn. 4:2.

Can you imagine sitting around the Christmas tree in December opening gifts and having family members do the same to which you would say, “oh by the way, that new watch you opened up will cost you 500 dollars. Go ahead and pay for it before you leave today.” They retort back. “I thought it was a gift!” well, yes and no. You receive it as a gift, but you must maintain ownership of it by paying me back!..

That is crazy and no one would accept that. Why do we not accept the concept of eternal life as a free Gift with no strings attached? Our God and King knows we do not have the means to pay the high price of eternal life. We don’t even have a down payment. Who would want to diminish the perception of heaven by thinking we can earn our part?


Hello Cathoholic,

I can’t do your work for you. This subject matter is worn out and I have justified my answer many times over. Let scripture interpret scripture. We know there is a justification by works, because James said so … Paul agreed. There is no tension between the book of Romans and James. But Paul said more than that. You go study it.



“Let Scripture interpret Scripture”

That’s what I did (here) tgGodsway. I pointed out that St. James talks about “faith”, “justification”, “works” and being “saved”.

He does all this explicitly.

Your interpretation?

When St. James talks about “faith” here he doesn’t really mean “faith”. At least not in a Salvific sense. (Yet St. James explicitly says “faith”).

When St. James talks about “works” here he doesn’t really mean “in the sense of justification” concerning salvation. (Yet that is exactly how St. James uses it.)

When St. James talks about being “saved” here he doesn’t really mean being “saved” concerning salvation. (Yet St. James rhetorically asks “Will his faith SAVE him?”)

When St. James talks about “justification” here he doesn’t really mean “justification”. At least not in a Salvific sense. (Yet St. James explicitly says “justification”). You insist St. James is urging us on to “justification BEFORE MEN.” Even though the text never says that and the Gospels refer to “justification before men” as an “abomination”).

These are just some of the issues you bring upon yourself tgGodsway following after traditions of men that nullify the word of God.

Why not let “Scripture interpret Scripture” tgGodsway?



There is no tension between the book of Romans and James.

I’ve never said there is any “tension” between these writings of St. James and St. Paul tgGodsway.

You are “projecting” that upon me.

As a matter-of-fact, I’ve done a study lining them (Sts. Paul and James) up side by side and they are amazingly similar.

Both affirm the NEED for WORKS by the way (after you are initially saved).

This idea of “tension” between St. Paul and St. James writings is not from me tgGodsway.

It is from the person YOU follow after.

You follow after his traditions over following the Bible.


In the first place it (the Epistle of James) is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works [2:24]. It (again, the Epistle of James) says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac [2:21]; though in Romans 4[:2-22] St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15[:6].

  • Luther’s Works, Vol. 35, pages 395 – 396



.How do you conclude the Presence of God, when you insist that Jesus body and blood is a symbol or memorial to remember what Jesus did in a past event.

How do you define “HIS PRESENCE IS MANIFEST”. Do you actually believe that God’s presence manifest itself in a feeling or emotion by a believer? What you mistakenly define as CATHOLIC IS NEVER CATHOLIC and should not imply your interpretation of the “Presence” as “A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE” WHEN IT NEVER IS CATHOLIC.


LOL…wow, I just gave a historical, biblical, uncontested scholarly short summary from word Jesus used “to do this in memory of me”. And you make it my own bias opinion? Thank you, but you give me too much credit here, when I confess It is not my biblical scholarly work.


When I celebrate the Lord’s supper I can see and taste the Lord is good.
But you confess, Jesus is not there, only a memory or a symbol. How can you see the Son in a memorial or symbol and believe?

Can you help me understand your contradiction of terms in “SEES THE SON”, in a symbol or from a past event celebrated in your memorial?

Peace be with you


Hi tgGodsway: Thanks for your reply to my post. I’m not sure that I am avoiding the elephant but we will see if that is so. Good question does good works save you eternally? You say Paul says no; However I tend to think Paul was referring to the Jewish rituals and Laws that every Jew had to do. if one read Acts one sees that the very early Christians were helping each other, what they were doing it really does not say other than Peter thought that they needed others to wait tables so they could continue their teaching and preaching the Good News.

When one is Baptized one then becomes Justified becoming an adopted son or daughter of God the Father and brother or sister to Jesus the Christ. So since Baptism removes all sin if one died immediately heaven bound they go, yet, as one lives one can be tempted to sin of one kind or another throughout life so then Penance becomes necessary to be restored again in Christ.

Faith as been said many times here does not in and of itself save nor good works or deeds, but a combination of faith and good works or deeds. But this when one does have the faith they profess they allow God to do His work of goodness though the one.Otherwise faith is dead as it does nothing in and of itself. Look to the parable of the talents where jesus talked about those the mater gave talents to, one had 5 or 10 depending, another had 3 or 5 and one had 1. Now the two who had more talents doubled them for the master while one who had one buried it not even allowing it to gain interest on it. So to is haw faith works one takes it and uses it to gain the richness and glory to God while doing nothing with faith leads to it being buried gaining nothing for God.

Life is a free gift there is nothing we can do to earn, merit or deserve it. Nor do we have anything of our own selves that can pay for life eternal Grace i believe is love and a very powerful one indeed but without it we can do nothing as Jesus said many times. it is a free gift. Love or grace from God i also think is to be shared as love if not shared is not love but selfishness since one can’t keep love all to themselves and not share it at all.
So all that we do have has been given to us by God. Faith is a free gift and its up to us to use it to bring glory and honor to God the Father through Christ and the Holy Spirit.

One thing to think about during the time of Christ the ancient world at large thought only the gods could be in heaven, everyone else went to schol or the river stix. While Jews believed in one God, they did not think one went to heaven as the Sadducess and the Sanhadren did not believe in any resurrection or that one would go to a heaven where God resided. Pharricess did believe in a ressurection But i am not to sure if they actually thought that one went to heaven and be with God. So what I’m saying ressurection after death that one might enter the Kingdom of heaven was a very new concept to nearly everyone. and so how did one enter the Kingdom of heaven? Faith and good works done out of love for God. I think we now days take it for granted but in those days it was surely something new a concept that gave hope to those believing in Jesus the Christ.



So when Paul told his gentile audience "for by grace are you saved through
faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God NOT of WORKS lest any
man should boast. Eph. 2:8,9 … What does this mean?


Thanks original gabrielof12. God’s manifest presence is for all to enjoy.
See 1st Cor.12:7. His presence comes from where He dwells. He dwells
within our hearts, not bread or wine. It is true God is everywhere at all
times, but He is manifest through His people not physical objects. Christ
physical body is in heaven at the right hand of majesty soon to come again.


Really tgGodsway, who ever dupped you or misinformed you into thinking God’s presence dwells in bread and wine? I don’t know where you got this from, but it is never from the Catholic faith. So your objection to God not being present in bread in wine is concurred here.

You side tracked my question. So let me put to you in another way, in hopes I don’t draw any more negative falsehood about my Catholic faith.

If you claim only by Faith God is present to you and no need for (work) a Eucharist or Last Supper. How is it that your faith only is measured that invokes God’s presence to be in your heart, without any works. Such as baptism, a Liturgy of the last supper, confirmation in the Holy Spirit to name a few works.

By works, I repeat from my earlier post, by the works of Jesus instituting His Eucharist as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of world, this is a work wrought about by God, that gives and parts to the believer not only grace but FAITH FROM THE WORKS OF GOD. From this gift of faith from God, we can show our faith from our works. You want proof of a faith revealed from works. look to Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta and the thousands of Saints and Martyrs who preceded her in death.

We cant’ have the gift of faith, if it were not for the work’s of the Son =Jesus Christ. And we are not in the son, unless we eat the lamb’s flesh and drink the lamb of God’s blood. This faith revealed by works is not an ordinance of men, it is a commandment by God.

Peace be with you



So when Paul told his gentile audience "for by grace are you saved through
faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God NOT of WORKS lest any
man should boast. Eph. 2:8,9 … What does this mean?


It means when we were enemies with God or “dead” through our trespasses we were graced undeservedly so.

EPHESIANS 2:5 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

God makes the first move and gives us “faith”.

Then we are to SERVE Him. (That’s WHY we were created tgGodsway–for good works–see Ephesians 2:10 which you forgot to include in your question).

Satan said “NON serviam”.

And he wasn’t merely getting “justified before angels” with the service satan was called into.

Christians on the other hand say . . . “SEVIAM”.

That’s what the parable of the talents are all about tgGodsway.

Jesus is the MASTER.

And Jesus the Master gifts His SERVANTS with “talents” (grace including from their “moment” of salvation.).

But now that they HAVE talents (from the Master) tgGodsway, they NEED to DO things in accordance with their state in life (“to each according to his ability” as Matthew 25:15 says).

And they need to DO them not merely to be “justified before other servants”.

And if they choose NOT to DO things these people who had a relationship with Christ, these people who were “servants” of the “Master” will get thrown out into the outer darkness (again, if they choose NOT to serve with the UNEARNED TALENTS [That’d be “GRACE” tgGodsway] that they have been GIVEN, then they die spiritually.

You asked:

Can you imagine sitting around the Christmas tree in December opening gifts and having family members do the same to which you would say, “oh by the way, that new watch you opened up will cost you 500 dollars. Go ahead and pay for it before you leave today.”

No. I can’t imagine that.

But I CAN imagine sitting around and receiving gifts (“talents”) from the Master who then expects me (in UNION WITH HIM) to make “interest”.

In UNION with Him or by “to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (from Ephesians 3:20 which you also seemed to forget about).

You don’t “believe” that tgGodsway (odd for someone who says he is saved by his belief ALONE).

I DO believe that.

Let’s go to Matthew 25:13-30 (formatting mine for emphasis) . . .

(And incidentally. Notice being “faithful” is using “faith” in the sense of “fidelity” not mere intellectual “belief”)

MATTHEW 25:13-30 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. 14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey
called his servants
and entrusted to them his property;
15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one,
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more.
17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more.
18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and
faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.'
23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much;
enter into the joy of your master.'
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow;
25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.
Here you have what is yours.'
26 But his master answered him,
'You wicked and slothful servant!
You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.
29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’


I want especially Catholics here to look closely at tgGodsway, post 1180.

tgGodsway said:

I agree. good works are necessary for the Christian and Catholic alike.

A couple of things.

tgGodsway will DENY good works are “necessary” for salvation (right tgGodsway?).

TgGodsway reduces this “necessity” down to “justification before men”.

So don’t be fooled by the language.

Also look carefully at the post I quoted.

It is implied that Catholics are not even Christians (when in fact Catholics are the ORIGINAL Christians.

And johnny-come-lately Bible ONLY traditions weren’t even invented until about 1500 years later).

Now there are so many of them it makes your head swim. And as Luther even said. They all think they have the Holy Spirit to interpret properly. Luther said they think they “swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all”.

Perhaps tgGodsway SHOULD have said . . . .

I agree. good works are necessary for the Catholics (Christians) and Bible-only adherent alike.


COUNCIL OF TRENT: “We are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God. . . we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.”


This passage is a direct reference to Holy Baptism (the sacrament of faith), i.e. being regenerated and born anew. Notice the parallelism in T.itus 3:5: “[H]e saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit [i.e. Holy Baptism]”. In other words, being conceived and born in original sin, there is absolutely nothing we can do, viz. “works done by us” to merit justification before God. We need God’s grace and mercy to save us through the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”.

Council of Trent, Canon 1, Decree Concerning Justification: “If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”

“It is furthermore declared that in adults the beginning of that justification must proceed from the predisposing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits on their part, they are called” - Chapter V, Decree Concerning Justification

Moreover: “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith [cf. Eph 2:8]. 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”. - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1992

Does this make sense to you, tgGodsway?


“for by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God NOT of WORKS lest any man should boast.”


Just to add to what AugustTherese said, Paul, in context is speaking to pagan converts. He is saying that the gift of grace they received is just that - a gift - and not because of anything they have done or earned. Now where we differ is you would consider this to be the completion of justification where Catholics see this as the beginning (initial) of justification. Free gift, unmerited, unearned. But note in the same breath - verse 10 - Paul also says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So we are created FOR GOOD WORKS… said another way, it is God’s will that we walk in the good works he has prepared for us. Now I’m sure you would agree that this refers to our sanctification. But you don’t regard sanctification as being a part of our justification whereas Catholics do. And this is one of the reasons we talk past each other on this.

So performing good works helps us to grow in holiness and do God’s will. But its not like wages where we are owed something for doing the works because we are doing the works as a response to the grace we receive.


Hi tgGodsway: Under the law of Moses Jews were required to do the rituals associated with the law of Moses which Paul calls works under the law. Jews thought that they needed to do this in order to be righteous. Converted Pharisees were teaching converted Gentiles that they had to be circumcised under the law of Moses in order to be saved. Paul spoke out against that teaching. When one is Baptized one then becomes justified by God who by His grace freely given; a gift of Faith one becomes sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Christ… Because of this faith freely given we become instruments of God whereby he can do His works through a person, in a sense we become partners with God. if one says they have faith but say they have no need to do any works how then does God do His work with one who does nothing with it? its just a gift that is not used.

In the Gospels we see where many of the Pharisees and Scribes showing how righteous their were by their actions in front of others in public. by praying etc. Judging others for not following the Laws of Moses to the letter claiming they are blessed by God because of the rituals they perform. Yet, they themselves did not do anything for others they did not help anyone nor feed anyone etc. While Pharisees did believe in an afterlife they believed that the rituals they preformed would get them there. Paul is saying that works along without faith is useless and of no account and will not save anyone man can not do any good of his ownself but only by God’s grace in the faith given to him. Remember in the Temple where the Pharisee was praying to God saying how bless ed he was because he was doing all that the law of Moses required of him and how much he had material wise and that he gave to the temple etc. and was not like the publican behind him because the Pharisee believed himself righteous before God. That Pharisee was boasting of the ritual works he was doing. This is what Paul is talking about. if one has faith they do good works not because of their ownself but out of love for God because they have allowed God to do His works through them. Did not jesus say no servant gets credit for what the master asks him to do? So to do we take credit for what God does through us? No! God gets the credit. Did not Jesus also say store up treasures in heaven. Are not those treasures good works and deeds done out of love of God not for gain but for love of God and one’s fellow man.

So if one does works for gain and boasts of it not giving God credit they are not saved by it because they either have no faith or do nothing with the gift of the faith freely given to him…


Hi ajcstr. thanks for the reply. yes I know Roman Catholics believe justification is a process instead of an act. But what I haven’t had answered yet is, why? Why do Catholics believe this way? on what scriptural basis?

I agree that Christians should have good works just as the Ephesian Church was encouraged to have. But Paul was clear as to WHY they should have good works. To be justified was definitely not his reason. But I’d like to hear your reason why justification is treated as a process, a journey… etc.


Thank you August Therese,

Just so that I’m clear on this. Justification is received at new birth, but it is an on-going process for the believer. Is that right?.. If so, on what scriptural basis do we treat justification as a process, rather than an act? … Can you give me a scriptural example of this? seeing that the word is a judiciary word. In a courtroom where a judge rules on a case and decides to slam his gavel and say, NOT GUILTY!.. but then says, my ruling is “pending” based on future potential crimes. That would be insane. But even if there is another person to take the punishment for the crimes of the guilty, does not the second person pay for all the crimes committed not just those committed up to date? On what bases can our justification be cancelled?


For me, the clearest example is that of Abraham. Romans 4:3 implies that Abraham was justified when he trusted God in Gen 15:6, yet James implies that Abraham was justified when he offered Isaac in Gen 22. So these are 2 separate events that were encompassed in the justification or Abraham. I don’t buy the explanation that Abraham was justifying himself before men in Gen 22.

Back to my other post … Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Would you say that the person who does NOT walk in the good works that God prepared for him is saved?


Where do I begin?.. my my… I have heard from Roman Catholics on this site that the holy eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. The host offered at mass is called the “presence,” of Christ. But you tell me. I’m not Roman Catholic. I’m a Catholic Christian.

Let me take a shot at your third paragraph and see if I understand you. Are you asking me how I can know I have faith, unless it is expressed through baptism, Liturgy of the last supper, confirmation … just to name a few?.. is that right?

The Apostle Paul instructed Rome on how to get faith. He said “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom. 10:17 But that faith does not stand alone. It has a witness. Paul went on to say to that same Church, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

There is no mention here of the Eucharist as a means to obtaining the presence of God. Actually there is no mention anywhere in scripture. To the contrary. Practicing the Eucharist is done in faith not to RECEIVE HIM, but BECAUSE we have already received Him. We practice it not to gain faith, but because we have faith. He said “do this in memory of Me…” So we do it for that reason. Did he give us any other reason found in the passage? Christ is not taking away our sins, He has taken them away. He died a sinner’s death once for all. At the end of His life hanging on the cross His last words were “It is finished.” What was finished, in your view?


ajcstr. I’d like to comment on your last comments about Abraham. I never said Abraham justified himself by offering his son. Abraham’s work’s by offering his son on the altar to kill him, according to James, was justified! But Paul says, he can agree, but his justification was not before God… Ro. 4:2. The key to understanding James is found in 2:24 where he says, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith ONLY.” The word ONLY changes everything. James acknowledges Paul’s teaching about justification apart from the Law BEFORE GOD. But his point was that the kind he is talking about is not that one. It is a justification before men. Thus there is no contradiction between these two Apostles. They are not talking about the same thing. It doesn’t really matter anyway if Justification is treated as a “pending matter.” This is a colossal departure from scripture in my view.

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