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Faith Complete

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2:14
Faith/Works
continues the theme of testing of faith… proving it genuine. [ question answered is this: What is Genuine Faith??]
Point 1: God tests us though trials in life.
seek the Wisdom of God to respond to trials. [IN FAITH] else doubleminded, unstable.
James 1:12 ESV
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
seek the Wisdom of God [IN FAITH] else doubleminded, unstable.
produces steadfastness… perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
testing from God does not include temptations that come from within (our own desires)
receive with meekness (humility) the implanted word [ABLE to save your souls] 1:21
Hearing word and Doing word [else deceiving yourself] 1:22
James 1:22 ESV
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
idea is: change your heart; transform your mind… SPIRIT of God/Christ… we are different… a new creation in/under/about Christ… not under law.
Example - Using Partiality to make very explicit that no one can keep perfect the royal law “love neighbor as yourself”… Who can keep that perfectly all the time? Theology.
POINT is LIVE as one united with Christ. One who has been given Grace and Mercy. Christ is your righteousness… God showed you mercy; YOU show mercy. Obey Christ’s commands. This, James says, shows a heart made right by God.
James, in a sense, proposes for us a “test” by which we can see the genuineness of faith: deeds of obedience to the will of God.
James, in a sense, proposes for us in these verses a “test” by which we determine the genuineness of faith: deeds of obedience to the will of God.
James 2:12–13 ESV
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Returns to idea of tests to perfect/make faith complete.
this is an explicit test of faith...
our merciful attitude and actions will count as evidence of the presence of Christ within us. And it is on the basis of this union with the One who perfectly fulfilled the law for us that we can have confidence of vindication at the judgment.
topic:
James 2:14 ESV
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
“Says he has faith” [James not buying what the guy is selling] James is not arguing that works must be added to faith. His point, rather, is that genuine biblical faith [belief/trust] will inevitably be characterized by works.
Matthew 7:20 ESV
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Matthew 7:17–18 NIV
17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Ephesians
Good tree / Bad tree.
illustration:
illustration:
James 2:15–16 ESV
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Who has that benefitted? The brother or sister? You? God? What profit is it to anyone?
Where is compassion? loving-kindness? mercy?
Empty words. Inanimate. Without life. Useless. Fruitless Tree. (destructive in nature: consider ‘thoughts and prayers’)
[Maybe all-too-typical example]
conclusion [moral of the story]:
James 2:17 ESV
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Not admonishing us that works must accompany our faith.
Contrasting 2 faiths. One faith is inherently defective and thus produces no works. The other Genuine faith, does produce action.
diatribe… the “imaginary” objector / represents at least a known (if not prominent) argument:
“I disagree!”
James 2:18a ESV
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.
argument (in 18a) is that faith and works are separate… the crux of James trouble.
James answers in 18b-19:
2:18
James 2:18b–19 ESV
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 2:18b–20 ESV
18 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. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
James 2:18
James 2:20 ESV
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
19 identifies as an intellectual “belief” ; someone able/willing to recite schema. ( Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.) sSimilar to someone today saying “Jesus is Lord!” Good… you do well.
“It is a good thing to possess an accurate theology, but it is unsatisfactory unless that good theology also possesses us.”
2 Illustrations:
James 2:21–23 ESV
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 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.
“scripture was fulfilled” (/22) “Abraham justified by faith” NOT works. Works OF faith were prepared beforehand for us by God. [] Obedience to God/Christ
Heb 11:8
Paul&James looking at justification from different vantage points.
Romans 4:3 ESV
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
So “justify” in Paul refers to how a person gets into relationship with God, while in James it connotes what that relationship must ultimately look like to receive God’s final approval.
Vindicate/Demonstrate to be right. While not nearly as well attested as the former meaning, this sense of “justify” is often attributed to the verb in James. On this reading, James would be claiming that Abraham was “shown to be right” by his actions: his prior acceptance by God (), the “righteousness” that he had already attained by faith, was demonstrated in his deeds of obedience.
Hebrews 11:8 ESV
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
James 2:21-2
emphasis is on whole faith / complete faith / fulfilled-complete faith
James 2:
James 2:24–25 ESV
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
core argument in v24.
Hebrews 11:31 ESV
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
she made her confession of faith; gave up loyalty to Jericho (I do not know…) and sided with Israel and God ( - I know LORD has given you the land.) She had shown kindness.
James would say (in fact he did say “in the same way” v25): her faith was made complete in her “going all in” with the Israelites.
James 2:26 ESV
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
• faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (v. 17)
• faith without deeds is useless (v. 20)
• faith without deeds is dead (v. 26)
Luther, preface to Romans
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Letter of James D. Saving Faith Reveals Itself in Works (2:14–26)

O it is a living, busy active mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good things incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done this, and is constantly doing them. Whoever does not do such works, however, is an unbeliever. He gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Yet he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.

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