Faith and Works

It has been some time since I have written on this blog for that I apologise.

The Reverend Martin Luther King civil rights leader in America gave a speech in which he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character".

I have always tried to live my life not by judging people by outward appearances but by the content of their character. When I was a police officer I could always tell the good from the bad and that hasn’t changed since I retired. Good is good and bad is bad. Is it possible for the bad to become good, yes it is, through the redemptive nature of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, does it work on everyone well I’m trying still to work out the answer one side of me says yes and the other side of me says no.

I know that there are individuals who are predicated to committing evil deeds whereas there are those who are probably in the majority who do not commit evil deeds but rather commit good deeds. But are good deeds enough without faith or do these things work in tandem with each other or is it that works are seen acting through our faith.

In Romans 4: 1-25 Paul lays out his case on being justified by faith. And then he adds this in chapter 5: 1-2

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

No so whilst Paul is saying that we are justified by faith James on the other hand you cannot have faith without work and you cannot have work without faith. What is it that is written in James 2: 14- 26

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[e] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead”.

So we have Paul saying that we are Justified by Faith alone and we have James saying no because we have to be justified not only through our faith but through our works which arise out of our faith. So we see the contradiction between Paul and James. The question now to be answered is who is right and who is wrong. Well I leave that one there for you to work out and a very good night to you and may God bless you wherever you are.

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