Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


Hi August Therse: Yes I sort of understood that. I just sort of wanted to be clear in what I was saying by adding a bit to what you posted as it makes sense what St. bede that you quoted. So far how do you like this new format on CAF?


Here is the entire paragraph. I’ll put in parenthesis which law I see it referring to"

12 For all who have sinned without the law(Mosaic) will also perish without the law(Mosaic), and all who have sinned under the law(Mosaic) will be judged by the law(Mosaic). 13 For it is not the hearers of the law (Mosaic)who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law(Mosaic) who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law(Mosaic), by nature do what the law(Mosaic) requires, they are a law(Moral) to themselves, even though they do not have the law(Mosaic). 15 They show that the work of the law(Mosaic) is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

It is important to note that the Mosaic law is also a moral law. It had a lot of works of the law (ceremonies and such) but it also had the 10 commandments and moral instruction that defines sin under the old law. So while the gentiles didn’t observe the works of the law they still, by nature, can observe the moral instructions (don’t kill, steal, commit adultery and so forth). In other words, they are what we in the south would call “good people”.

Paul was using the common belief by the Jews to prove his point. They still believed the keeping the law was required and that gentiles who believed in Christ also had to keep the mosaic law. Paul was pointing out that the gentiles where just a moral as the Jews and often more so. And that neither keeping the law or being moral justifies us before God.

Romans 3:9 says “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin”

Being a Jew and observing the Mosaic law and a Greek who observes a natural moral law are both under sin. Then is verse 20 Paul say " For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." I believe in verse 20 he is talking about both the Mosaic Law of the Jews and the fact the moral law that comes natural to Gentiles (being good people).

So in Chapter 2 and the first part of chapter 3 he sets up our problem. We can’t be justified by either keeping the mosaic law or the by being a good person (keeping the moral teachings of the mosaic law). Then in verse 21 of Chapter 3 and forward Paul tells us the solution to this dilemma.

That solution is that both Jews, who have the works of the law and are circumcised and the gentiles who don’t have the works of the law and aren’t circumcised, are justified by faith instead of the works of the law (Jews) or following a moral law (gentiles).


There are many, many contradictions when you implicate the law in Romans 2 to be the Mosaic Law. The most glaring contradiction would be in Romans 2:13, you write: “For it is not the hears of the law (Mosaic) who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law (Mosaic) who will be justified”. Notice the last bold part: this is exactly what Saint Paul is arguing against, he is saying the exact opposite throughout his epistles in that Jews (and Gentiles alike) are no longer justified by works of the Mosaic Law (e.g. circumcision), but through faith in Jesus Christ.

Regarding verse 12 you write: “For all who have sinned without the law(Mosaic) will also perish without the law(Mosaic), and all who have sinned under the law(Mosaic) will be judged by the law(Mosaic).” Notice, Saint Paul says ‘all’ meaning both Gentiles and Jews; first, how can Jews “have sinned without the law(Mosaic)” when they had the Mosaic Law? Second, how could Gentiles “have sinned under the law (Mosaic)” when they did not have the Mosaic Law? Finally, how can Gentiles “be judged by the law (Mosaic)” when they did not have the Mosaic Law?

Regarding verse 15 you write: “They [Gentiles] show that the work of the law(Mosaic) is written on their hearts”. The Gentiles had the moral law written on their heart, not the Mosaic Law. If they did have the Mosaic Law written on their heart, then Gentiles would have practices circumcision among other Mosaic rites.


Okay, I can answer these questions then go to rcwitness questions.

Actually these questions tie in with my discussion with rcwitness.

What is Sanctification? In my circle sanctification is seen in two ways: Positional, and conditional sanctification. In a positional sense God makes us holy and presentable strictly on the merit of Christ alone who died a sinner’s death.

In a conditional sense it is up to the believer to make the life-style change necessary to be holy. After all Peter quoted the O.T. and said, “be holy for I am holy.” To be set apart from sinful living unto a holy and righteous God. This change is a calling to be answered and is certainly a process that takes time and determination to live out.

  1. Does man participate in his own sanctification? When you say “man” I’m presuming you mean a believer in Christ. Yes he may choose to live holy, or, he may choose to NOT live holy.

As mentioned there is a call to live holy. This call should be answered. To not answer this call is to lose out on God’s rewards which are meritorious.

  1. Is sanctification related to salvation? I’m assuming again you mean eternal salvation, seeing that salvation is seen both temporally and eternally from scripture based on context.

Eternally, it DOES plays a role. If a believer lives holy unto God, his good works, his pure intentions, and his holy life will EARN him eternal rewards and the possibility to rule and reign in the Kingdom of God. If he chooses NOT to live for God, he forfeits his eternal possessions and will not rule. Position-ally he has been granted holiness as a gift, based on the finished work of Christ alone at the cross. This is why the writer to Hebrews can say we can “come boldly unto the thrown of grace…”

The Roman road to salvation may be appropriate here. We call it the Roman road because it has all the necessary points to eternal salvation. Ro 8:29, 30 says, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
v30, “Moreover whom he predestined, these He also called; whom he called, these he also justified, and whom he justified, these he also glorified.”

The Roman road or the golden chain looks like this: Those He foreknew, He predestined, those he predestined He called, and those He called He justified, and those He justified, he glorified. Five points.

What’s missing here is the call to sanctification. Paul left it out because sanctification is NOT a condition that one must meet in order to be eternally saved. Why not? Because eternal salvation is based strictly on belief, apart from good works and a holy life. The saving of the soul= life= temporal life.

But don’t get too upset with me. There are many protestants who disagree with me on this narrow point.


This is good stuff, lanman87, except perhaps when you say, “[B]ut it also had the 10 commandments”. It seems as though you are deliberately attempting not to distinguish the 10 commandments from the Mosaic Law. I completely agree, the Mosaic Law is a moral law inasmuch as it prescribes obedience to God. In fact, Saint James commanded the Christian community to still practice some of the works of the Mosaic Law immediately after Saint Peter rebuked the Judeans who still were holding onto circumcision for salvation: “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from unlawful marriage, and from what has been strangled, and from blood (all Mosaic works)” - Acts 15:19, 20. And, again: "For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unlawful marriage. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” - Acts 15:28,29

You said: “So while the gentiles didn’t observe the works of the law they still, by nature, can observe the moral instructions (don’t kill, steal, commit adultery and so forth).”

This is 100% accurate! The Gentiles didn’t observe the works of the law (circumcision, etc.), but, by nature, can observe the moral law because it has been written on their hearts. Bravo!


I totally agree that is what he is arguing against. That is why I get flustered at folks who quote Romans 2:13 like we have to keep the law to be justified. Paul is contrasting the teaching and belief of many of the Romans Christians “the doers of the Law will be justified” which is the way it if you are still under the old law, to a life in Christ in which we are justified by faith, apart from work of the law.

To me the key to understanding Romans 2 and 3 is versus 20-23 of Chapter 3.

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

Paul is telling them that all the law does is tell them what sin is, but the righteousness of God comes through faith in Christ. He isn’t contradicting Romans 2:13 he is saying it is no longer they way of righteousness.

You are correct, I was in a hurry and didn’t check my work. My third grade English teacher would be upset if she knew.:smiley:


Thanks rcwitness.
I appreciate you answering my questions. Okay… If you will allow me to address these scriptures you’ve mentioned in regard to progressive justification, I will. I wrote more than I intended. take your time.

I can see how you come to the conclusions you have. Actually you left out a bunch of very similar examples. The idea that one is “cut off” from Christ is to assume his justification is either cancelled or withdrawn, based on one’s lack of kindness, as Paul wrote in Romans 11. Justification for you is “pending” a final review of your life. I understand why you think this based on the scriptures you chose.

Certainly it is understandable to hear Paul’s words to the Church at Corinth talk about standing for Christ, “by which you are saved, if YOU HOLD FAST… implying that if you do not hold fast you will lose your justification.
The 1st. Tim 5 passage is, again,
understandable with its apostasy message. “. . . he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” By the way, the word disowned there is not disowned. Modern translations try to slip this in all the time. A better word for it’s Greek counterpart is DENY… HE HAS DENIED THE FAITH. (to disown is an entirely different Greek word.) We all know what Jesus said about denying the faith. If we do this, He will deny us …

I saved the Rom. 8 passage for last. It is the best way to make my point. In this particular passage we can separate the seeming fusion between justification and sanctification for Roman Catholics and many Protestants too. This passage will do that. Paul said,” The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Awesome! We’ve been justified and the holy Spirit bears witness to this wonderful fact. “And, if we are children, then we are also “heirs” of God.” again… good news…
He’s talking about an heir of eternal life itself based on the fact that we are Children of God.

We inherit eternal life because we became the recipients of His generosity and love. But Paul continues here, (ignore the punctuations. Editors try to interpret) … we are heirs of God AND FELLOW HEIRS. (a better word here is joint-heir)… this is one who co-inherits and co-reigns with Christ. But there is a big “IF” in the passage. … IF we suffer with Him (implying Christian persecution) in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

Under this reading of the text, there are two forms of heirship. One of these is based on being a child of God alone, while the other is based on suffering with Christ. This distinction is crucial on this subject. Paul is saying all of God’s children are heirs simply because they are children. They inherit eternal life itself and all that this in tales.

But those who suffer with Christ, on the other hand, have a special “joint heirship” with Christ. It is of great significance that later in this chapter Christ is actually described as the “firstborn among many brethren.” Naturally the firstborn Son receives a double portion of His Father’s inheritance.

The firstborn Son here invites His bride (The Church at Rome) to suffer with him which will result in a co-heirship, which in turn will result in a co-glory. This concept makes passages like 2nd. Tim. 2:12 make better sense. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” The implication is that if we DO NOT endure, OR we DENY and REFUSE Him, we will not reign with Him. He will deny us at the judgment seat.

But none of this suggests we will no longer be his children or that our justification is cancelled or rendered a final judgment. It suggests that there are various classes of authority in the Kingdom of God and we will not all be equal in the inheritance.
So (again) the Romans 8 passage is an example of a category of non-achieving children who joyfully inherit eternal life freely, coupled with those who if they will suffer for Christ, will gain a co-heirship and potentially include co-glory.
In a sense, this idea creates a category of winners and losers in God’s kingdom. God’s children who fail to answer the call to suffer for Christ, or who fail to take up their cross and follow, or who fail to leave houses and lands and brothers and sisters … will not inherit=take up ownership of the kingdom of God. Inheritance in Jewish custom was always meritorious.
But I think you go too far when you suggest the failing believer loses their justification. You have no choice but to do it by implication only. There is no overt or explicit teaching in the New Testament about losing justification. Why not? I would think such an important subject as losing your eternal salvation would be all over the New Testament. Now, Paul knew they could lose their salvation!.. but in what sense? Temporal?, or eternal?.. temporally of course. (see my grid at the end.)
The Galatian church was also told they were “cut off.” They were guilty to believe that keeping the Law was a means to justification. Paul said they were cut off. They fell from grace INTO the strict code of law-keeping.

But cut off in what sense? He addresses them as the Galatian Church which they were. Apparently they weren’t cut off eternally, otherwise Paul would have addressed them as the “used- to-be Galatian church, or the unsaved unbelieving Church. He did not. He treated them as if they were “in Christ” even with their deceptions concerning how one is justified.

They were cut off in terms of fellowship with God and God’s way of doing things. Why? because they insisted on relying on the rules of the law as a means to obtain justification, a Justification they already had. Paul used powerful language to rebuke them. Who has bewitched you? Who has corrupted you?
Consider this three-fold salvation grid. I’ve posted it here before.


It is the same idea James had when he set out to write his epistle. He said in James 1:21, “… receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS…” = YOUR literal, life! Many people when they see the word SAVED…. they automatically assume saved eternally. This is a mistake. When they see the word soul, they also think eternal salvation. It is not.

  1. You have been saved in SPIRIT, from the PENALTY of sin = Justification, or your POSITION in Christ.
  2. You are “being saved” in SOUL, from the POWER of sin= Sanctification, or your CONDITION in Christ
  3. You “will be” saved, in BODY, from the PRESENCE of sin=Glorification, or your AMBITION in Christ.

EXPLANATION: The outline is a theological depiction in a past, present, and future tense solution for the life of a believer.

  1. After believing in Christ, he receives Christ and is saved/delivered in his spirit from sin’s eternal penalty=hell itself. He is born of God and regenerate. (see 1st. Cor. 6:17) The gavel falls and the verdict is read. He’s innocent based on the payment of another. He’s justified. This is his entrance to eternal life (in spirit) much like the Israelites who after applying the blood on the doorpost of their house, the death angel saw it and passed over. This Passover was a one-time for all time deliverance from eternal death to eternal life. For them it was in type and shadow. For us it is reality.

  2. He (now) can be in the process of being saved, NOT in spirit, but in his SOUL, his temporal life, not from the penalty of sin, (that’s a finished work) but from sins’ Power. This is a process based on one’s obedience to specific variables of discipleship, not an Act like justification. (Of course you see Justification as a process.)

But much like Israel, who after the death angel passed over and they were SAVED from him, they were still not saved from Egypt’s power. They needed another salvation. They needed to follow Moses through the waters of deliverance. They were not to stop after the Red sea but to stay on the narrow path of discipleship until they reached God’s promise land flowing with milk and honey.

This land did not represent heaven, but success and blessing. The saving of the Soul is the premise for the epistle of James. Our temporal life and/or death is at stake based on our obedience in it. This kind of salvation is conditional for those who want success and blessing. Not everyone lives through the journey, some people moan and complain. And so (for it) God digs a hole and buries them in it. Other’s make golden caves and worship false gods. So the Lord tells Moses to climb a mountain receive for them, rules, lest they destroy themselves. The rules had no power to make them righteous, only to help them become introspective to their sinful state. They were sinners who needed humility and brokenness.


(I did not realize I had only so many characters when I post. So I had to cut and paste. I may have mixed up some of the message.)

Sanctification is Not a qualification to maintain justification. Our eternal salvation is totally a gift given by a gracious and good God to people who do not deserve it. And God gets the glory for it.

  1. The third kind of salvation has only to do with our physical bodies. We will be saved from the very presence of this natural and sinful world. This ambition is a joyous time when Christ will come and we will be changed in a moment and a twinkle of the eye.


I have stated that James concern begins with the saving of the soul. 1:21. This is his theme throughout the book. The saving of the soul is temporal not eternal. This is one of the reasons why you do not find the word eternal next to the word life in this book. He was not trying to overthrow Paul’s view. But simply showing how good works can justify too. His examples of how works justify are all temporal examples, not eternal. If James meant that works justified a believer before God, this book would not have been included.


May I ask where you get this from?


Get what part exactly.


Any of it. I just cannot fathom how you come up with all of that.


I study scripture like everyone else. I do not have a private interpretation. My view is a shared view in Christianity.


Again you miss represent me simply because you do not understand me. I have nullified nothing from God’s word. I have honored it.


I really appreciate your effort to convey your interpretation of James’ epistle. I do not believe he was referring to “temporal” salvation. The concern for our souls by the Lord and His Apostles is always for eternal life.

What happens to the soul will affect the body. If our soul is saved, so will our bodies will be raised to where our soul resides. God speaks to our souls, in order to compel our bodies to glorify Him. He promises eternal life to those who believe on Him, and keep His commandments.

You are introducing a notion which is claiming that James is concerned with temporal salvation of our soul! This is drastically different than what Jesus preached!

Matthew 10

“What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”


I respect your beliefs and comments, but I just do not understand where you get this from. Can you elaborate using Scripture alone without your personal commentary?


I have heard this interpretation before…is this in line with Dispensationalism? I only ask because the person who was explaining it was a dispensationalist.

You have to admit that in the world of Protestantism, scriptural opinions can vary greatly.


So do I understand correctly?

The believer is invited to seek holiness but he may decline to do so (free will)

If he declines he is still saved from an eternal point of view because he is justified, but will be given a lesser role/status in the Kingdom.

If I am incorrect, please address, if I am correct I guess I am unclear on the concept of temporal salvation if you can give me an example of that.

Second - would you describe sanctification as a process rather than a one time event?

Also if someone declines to walk in holiness, does that mean he is not sanctified and therefore cannot be glorified according to the Roman road formula?



Thanks but the only reason why I bring up how James is concerned with temporal salvation of our souls is because he brought it up in the beginning of his book. I certainly understand how this may be a new concept for you and others on this site but the saving of the soul is not a new concept at all.

Heb. 10:39 says, but we are not of those who draw back to perdition (destruction) but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

James 1:21 “receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your soul.” Who should receive the word which is able to save them? James’ readers, the justified ones.

James 5:20, Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

We are a triune being, 1st. Thess. 5:23, we must be able to discern between the soul and the spirit of man. Heb. 4:12.

It is the spirit of man that receives regeneration and eternal life, not the soul. If you will, the soul is the outer man- the personality and life of a person, but it is not the life-giving spirit. Saving the soul=life is in the here and now, not eternity. But that’s okay if you are not interested in this. It is not an essential doctrine for me.

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