Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


True, Paul and James aren’t disagreeing with each other. The distinction is made between “good works” and “works of law”

Did converts need to be circumcised and follow the 613 mosaic laws or not?

The answer to the Judaizers who wanted circumcision and works of law to be the practice was… no.

Good works NOT works of law, is the prescription


Also, could Jews eat with Gentiles… Eucharist implications


Good work, fellas!

Be it known therefore to you, men, brethren, that through him forgiveness of sins is preached to you: and from all the things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38


How is it in Matthew 25:31-46 talks about what people did when they are judged by Christ. Some did works like feeding the hungry, etc. and others did not . It would seem to me it takes more than just faith to be saved; it takes doing something with faith not just saying one has faith. its like saying I’m a cook but does not cook what good is saying that if one does not do any cooking? I see faith in the same way its all good and well to say one has faith but if one does nothing with it its just a bunch of words that has nothing behind it.

Of course words do not save by itself just as faith by itself does not save. it takes both faith and works since if one really has faith they are open to Christ so that he can do His works through one. Did not Jesus say let your works shine so others might see and give Glory to God? Seems to me it takes more than faith it also takes words along with faith, but in the end it is Christ who decides who is saved and who is not.


After reading reading pretty much this entire thread and other threads on the same topic I’ve come to the conclusion that the Protestant/Evangelical definition of faith is different than the Catholic definition. And that when you flesh out the Protestant definition it is much closer to the Catholic understand than most of us realize.

I will just tell you what I was taught. That faith is surrendering your life to Christ. That is someone truly surrenders their life to Christ then they will be obedient to Christ, they will Love the Lord and Love their neighbor, they will help the poor and the sick and so on. So in a sense faith produces or gives birth to works. And that if someone claims to have faith but it doesn’t give birth to works and obedience then it isn’t faith. It is a counterfeit or illegitimate claim of faith.

So from what I can tell, Catholics believe you can have a real genuine faith and it not result in works. Basically, that someone can genuinely surrender their life to Christ and yet not strive to be obedient. To an Evangelical that concept is an oxymoron. The idea that someone can give their heart and life to Christ in faith and it not produce obedience and works doesn’t make sense.

Maybe it is because I was taught conversion theology instead of covenant theology. Conversion theology basically says we aren’t Christians because we were born into a Christian family and was baptized into the Church. It is that even those of us born into a Christian family must, at some point, respond to call of God through the Holy Spirit and surrender or heart and life to Christ. We aren’t Christians until we personally respond to the Gospel and are converted to Christianity. So the idea that someone can respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and surrender their heart and life to Christ and not have a change in how they live their life to produce obedience and works just isn’t possible.


Hi Ianman87, I have to say Catholic’s who have been taught their religious beliefs would say one can have genuine faith and not result in works, nor have faith but not strive to be obedient. I’m not sure where you go that idea about Catholic’s. i will say not every Catholic has been taught the religious beliefs of the Church for what ever reason. I will agree with you statement that at some point one has to respond to the call of God through the Holy Spirit to do whatever work God prompts one, and that is a choice to accept or not. God does not stop prompting one to do His will. Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, works do I believe go along with faith since faith is an action word that is in English a verb denoting action. So if anyone says they have faith but do nothing with it as James pointed out is a useless faith and has no meaning. its not enough to say one has faith if they are not willing to do anything with it, as anyone can say the words. its like telling someone you love them but never show that you love them you just say the words; it means nothing then. Yes, if we believe in Christ and the Good News he gave us then there is a change in a person. I agree that someone can respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not change to produce obedience and works is not possible.




That faith is surrendering your life to Christ. That is someone truly surrenders their life to Christ then they will be obedient to Christ, they will Love the Lord and Love their neighbor, they will help the poor and the sick and so on. So in a sense faith produces or gives birth to works.


The problem with this theory, is that it’s unbiblical.

You can have faith to move mountains, but if you have not also charity, you gain nothing according to St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 13 (by the way, please notice you can have faith without charity).


Beautiful, absolutely beautiful, Cathoholic! That is exactly the whole point of Saint James’ exhortation. Not only can you have faith without works, i.e. faith not working through love, but Christians were in fact demonstrating their faith without works; that is exactly why he wrote his letter. If faith automatically produced works, then there would have been no point for Saint James writing his letter admonishing those who claimed to have faith, but no works. Hence, can such faith save him?


It is very biblical, it actually takes the context of James into account instead of just picking a single verse out of context, using the wrong meaning of a word, and developing an doctrine around it.


This is the context of Saint James’ admonishment:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14 ESV

You are presupposing that if someone has faith, then they will automatically have works. That is not biblical, as the Scripture I just referenced clearly states the possibility of having faith, but not having works. If your claim were true, there would be no point of Saint James’ exhortation.


Saying you have faith and actually having faith are not the same thing. That is the whole point of what James is saying. He is refuting easy believism.


"But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!"
James 2:18-19

Your presupposition is refuted if you read on. Having faith alone is the whole admonishment. If there is no faith, why write the exhortation? He’s not writing to faithless pagans, he’s writing to Christians with faith that are lacking works.


But I didn’t appeal to “James” Ianman87.

I cited St. Paul (who is saying the same thing you are denying from St. James).


Certainly you will not say that keeping the Law of God has power to save? Have you not read Paul’s writings to the Galatians where he said "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added (to Israel) because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made;

That seed was Christ. But the Law acted as a restrainer to prick the conscience’s of the law breaker.

Paul, in the context of one who supposedly keeps the law, said, "there is none righteous, no not one; v11 there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. Ro. 3:10,11
"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become GUILTY before God. Ro. 3:19
The Law can produce only one thing: GUILT. to which the law breaker may have remorse and repentance. This response would usher in mercy and grace. The law can do nothing more than show people their guilt as it was designed to do.


By what interpretation? Where did this come from?


I would like to jump in here. “if someone says he has faith but does not have works…” should not automatically mean that his faith is not real or a faith that God cannot see. God saw Abrahams faith and declared him righteous years before Abraham had works.

It is only because he has no works that we human beings cannot literally see his faith. This is why James concluded that it was a dead faith. A dead faith is a faith that does not work in practical ways, as illustrated in verse 15.

But the fact that it is dead is evidence that it was once alive. A dead faith cannot deliver or save anyone from anything. This is why the answer to the question is: NO! a dead faith does not profit. … anyone in Christ!


The Law does not produce guilt, sin produces guilt. The Law is holy and is given to us for our happiness.

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means!..So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Romans 7:7,12

“Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:33

What we could not do on our own without grace, we can now fulfill with the empowerment Christ bestows to us through His Spirit of sanctifying grace.

“By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4

By being given the Holy Spirit and walking according to Him living in us, we can now remain alive by obeying the commandments of God:

“keep my commandments and live.” - Proverbs 7:2 ESV

“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live." Deuteronomy 4:1 ESV

"And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” - Luke 18:18-20 ESV


This is spot-on, tgGodsway! I commend your words here. Many like to claim that those that have faith without works, really have no faith at all. That is incorrect; just because something is dead does not mean it does not exist. And, you are correct, it means that their faith was once alive and now has died due to a lack of producing works. Now, see how a person IS justified by works, and NOT by faith alone.



“if someone says he has faith but does not have works…” should not automatically mean that his faith is not real or a faith that God cannot see.

No. It should not automatically mean that this guy’s faith is “not real”. Maybe this guy’s faith is “real”, maybe it is not.

Just affirm what St. Paul said tgGodsway.

You can have faith to move mountains and still gain “nothing”. It’s a dead (“not lively”) faith to be sure because it is not coupled to charity and hope, but it is still a REAL faith that we are told contextually to “abide” in. (We just need to “abide” in MORE than merely faith)

But it still MAY be a REAL faith.

Just affirm the Bible tgGodsway. All of it.


Trent on a Dead Faith yet still REAL FAITH



That, by every mortal sin, grace is lost, but not faith.

In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be NOT LOST; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.


COUNCIL OF TRENT CANON XXVIII - If any one saith, that, grace being lost through sin, faith also is always lost with it; or, that the faith which remains, though it be not a lively faith, is not a true faith; or, that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian; let him be anathema.



Can you commit on this article.

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