Lucia's Blog: JUSTIFIED BY WORKS?
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, January 3, 2020

JUSTIFIED BY WORKS?

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”  
James 2:24


In James 2:24, we learn that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. But what kind of works would justify a man? Let's consider them:
  1. Works of the Law of Moses? Absolutely not! Paul clarifies explicitly this when he states that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified through Christ, and not by the works of the Law. No flesh can be justified through the works of the Law, Galatians 2:16. To be justified by the Old Covenant required animal sacrifices. Otherwise, one would have to keep every law without ever committing sin. Romans 3:10, 23. There is none righteous. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  2. Works of the flesh? Absolutely not! No one can claim justification by the works of the flesh such as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, .... those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
  3. Unauthorized, unscriptural religious works? Of course not!  Many do compassionate works of charity building hospitals and such and then place the obligation on the church to pay for them in the name of Christ, even though He never authorized this as a work of the church. Many other delightful works such as festivals and sports, camps, and retreats are family fun and popular among the masses but lack any Scriptural basis for charging the Sacred Treasury, which has been given only three specific charges: evangelism, edification, and benevolence toward the needy saints. The Lord said that not everyone who says to Him, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of the Father who is in heaven ..... I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23).
  4. Works of Obedience? Absolutely YES! What other works can he be talking about? James makes an excellent point when he asks if a man says he has faith, but he has no works. Can that faith alone save him? Even so, "faith" if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. We can see in Galatians 5:6 that in Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything but "faith" working through love. Faith without works is useless, James 2:20. Was not Abraham justified by works? V. 21. Faith was working with his works of obedience. And as a result of these works of obedience, faith was being perfected, v.22. Abraham believed God, and his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness, v.23. He was called the friend of God. We are heirs of Abraham when we walk in the steps of the faith of this great patriarch, Romans 4:12, the righteousness he had even before he performed the work of circumcision (in which the unbelieving Jews were boasting). A man is justified by works such as God ordains, and not by faith alone, v. 24. Faith without works of obedience is dead. We see a parallel here with Hebrews 11 with those who engaged in these works of obedience. For example: By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice. By faith, Noah prepared the ark for the salvation of his household. By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise. By faith, when he was tested offered up his son Isaac. By faith, by faith, and so on! The list is extensive. You see, faith led them to obedience, to do the works that do the will of our LORD. Obedience is the key here!   Let’s put it into practice lest Jesus say to us depart from me you who practice lawlessness!

May the Lord help us to walk with a faith that can save us, such as Abraham, our example and patriarch, demonstrated.

Luci





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