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Paul and James Reconciled

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  • Paul and James Reconciled

    Hello. I have written an essay and would like to know what you think about the summary of it below. Thanks!

    James teaches in his Epistle of James that (1) Christians are “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21, 25) and not “justified . . . by faith only” (Jas. 2:24) (as James uses those terms), and (2) Jewish Christians must comply with the law of Moses (the law).

    On the other hand, Paul teaches four things. First, Christians are not “justified by works” (Rom. 4:2) but are “justified by faith” (Rom. 3:28; 5:1) (as Paul uses those terms). Second, Christians are free to live a Scriptural lifestyle that excludes complying with the law. Third, Christians are free to live a lifestyle that includes a nonobligatory compliance with the law in accord with their preferences or the dictates of their consciences. Finally, when Christians interact with people who comply with the law as a way of life (e.g., devout Jews), Christians are free to engage in a nonobligatory compliance with the law to avoid offending such people.

    Galatians 1 and 2, and other Scriptures, teach the following. Paul received a “revelation from Jesus Christ,” a “gospel” that included not only truths that the other apostles knew but truths that the apostles did not know, including Paul’s teachings in the above paragraph. (This “revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12) that Paul received was just as much a revelation to him as the “revelation from Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1) and the Book of Revelations were to the apostle John.) Moreover, Paul shared this revelation, this “gospel,” with the other apostles. Three— James, Peter, and John—agreed at the “right hands of fellowship” (Gal. 2:9) that Paul and Barnabas would take this “gospel,” revealed to Paul, to the Gentiles, and James, Peter, and John would take this “gospel,” revealed to Paul, to the circumcision (generally, Jews who emphasized compliance with the law as a way of life). In other words, James also agreed that his doctrines on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian as taught in James’s epistle were transitional (like the law itself (Gal. 3:24-25)), and were no longer to be taught after the agreement of the right hands of fellowship. This is true even though James’s doctrines on those issues were and are inspired Scripture (like the law) and were correct at the time that he taught them in his epistle.

  • #2
    I would also take into account to whom the epistles were written. Paul was writing to such churches as in Galatia and Colossae, where there were pre-gnostics and essenes who stressed dependence on the works of the Law, so Paul would place less emphasis on that part. James, however, was writing to the Jews, who oft stated their dependence on their ancestry rather than works, "We have Abraham as our father!"

    And welcome to TWeb.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, that is correct. (The above is only a summary.) As you point out, Paul wrote to a church(es) and he wrote to individual Christians. James wrote to the "twelve tribes." (Jas. 1:1.) The essay discusses that James thus wrote to the Jewish people, some of whom were Christians, and some of whom were not.

      And thank you for the welcome!
      Last edited by Kenneth Roberson; 11-08-2020, 10:27 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kenneth Roberson View Post
        James teaches in his Epistle of James that (1) Christians are “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21, 25) and not “justified . . . by faith only” (Jas. 2:24) (as James uses those terms), and (2) Jewish Christians must comply with the law of Moses (the law).

        Actually, James wants believers to state and prove their position about the proposal made by Jesus in His New Covenant, the offer of receiving reward that doesn't perish, by being blessings to the world, requiring real trust in God. In other words they must say they trust God to help them from danger, and then prove that trust by accepting the challenge to face danger and depending on God to save them. Abraham said he trusted God, and when tested, he succeeded in passing the test. James says his trust was perfected, proved, when tested.


        James 2:22You see that his faith was working with his actions, and his faith was perfected by what he did.


        No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant. Jesus said those who did not drive out the son of the slave woman were not saved from their sins.


        John 8:34Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


        Paul said the same thing.


        Galatians 4:30But what does the Scripture say?

        “CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON,

        FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”


        As did the writer of Hebrews:


        Hebrews 3:5Now Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,b testifying to what would be spoken later. 6But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if we hold firmlyc to our confidence and the hope of which we boast.


        On the other hand, Paul teaches four things. First, Christians are not “justified by works” (Rom. 4:2) but are “justified by faith” (Rom. 3:28; 5:1) (as Paul uses those terms).

        Actually Paul wants those who are justified by faith to be perfected by obedience.


        Galatians 3:3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?


        Second, Christians are free to live a Scriptural lifestyle that excludes complying with the law.

        Again, Christians should first receive the Holy Spirit, be justified, and then enter Rest, be sanctified. These could not happen if they turned to the Old Covenant, called Law, but could happen if they held to the New Covenant, called Grace,


        Galatians 2:21“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

        ….


        Galatians 3:2This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?


        Third, Christians are free to live a lifestyle that includes a nonobligatory compliance with the law in accord with their preferences or the dictates of their consciences.

        Again, Christians must live a life that will not lead to a bad outcome:


        Matthew 7:23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’


        Finally, when Christians interact with people who comply with the law as a way of life (e.g., devout Jews), Christians are free to engage in a nonobligatory compliance with the law to avoid offending such people.

        Christians are free to live in any way they see is amenable to gathering. We are either gathering or scattering. That is the differentiator, there is no in-between state, it is a binary value.


        Matthew 12:30The person who isn't with me is against me, and the person

        who isn't gathering with me is scattering.


        ​​​​​​

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know why we need an entire "essay" to reconcile Paul and James. I don't know why we "need" cultural background info, since this seems to be a case where it is sometimes used to make the texts say something different from their actual contextual words.

          Paul said works do not save, yet faith results in works -- Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 2:5-8.

          Paul said that these are explicitly works of "love" -- Gal. 5:6.

          Paul repeatedly (Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14) says that love of neighbor fulfills the whole Law; this is especially noteworthy in the Galatians context.

          Jas. 2:18 shows that works *demonstrate* faith. So the faith comes first, and the works show it.

          The entire context at least from 1:27 onward is about acts of mercy and kindness, with 2:8 explicitly citing the "Royal Law" of love of neighbor. The "works" and "faith" verses occur in that context. Acts of mercy and kindness fulfill the Royal Law and demonstrate one has faith.

          There is no contradiction between Paul and James. There is barely even any inconsistency.
          Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

          Beige Nationalist.

          "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

          Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm thanking God for all of the above comments and I intend to reply to them all. I am presently responding to other comments on this topic in a conversation that I am engaged in outside this website, but I will respond to all of the above too. Thank you for your replies!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Footwasher! Thank you for your comments. I agree with much of what you have said. I also have a number of comments and/or questions about other portions. My Scriptural quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

              1. I said, “James teaches in his Epistle of James that (1) Christians are “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21, 25) and not “justified . . . by faith only” (Jas. 2:24) (as James uses those terms), and (2) Jewish Christians must comply with the law of Moses (the law).”

              You replied:
              “Actually, James wants believers to state and prove their position about the proposal made by Jesus in His New Covenant, the offer of receiving reward that doesn't perish, by being blessings to the world, requiring real trust in God. In other words they must say they trust God to help them from danger, and then prove that trust by accepting the challenge to face danger and depending on God to save them. Abraham said he trusted God, and when tested, he succeeded in passing the test. James says his trust was perfected, proved, when tested.”

              James uses the word “faith,” and forms of the word “believe,” (instead of “trust”) in his discussion of justification by works at Jas. 2:14-26, so for consistency’s sake I’ll use the term “faith” or a form of “believe” in my comments. I will also use the KJV unless otherwise noted.

              I agree that James wants believers to “prove their position” and “prove that faith [trust]” if the proof is “works.” Accordingly, you mentioned that James says Abraham’s “faith was perfected”; I note James taught at Jas. 2:22 that “as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (NASB, italics added).

              However, I also have a question. As background, I note that you indicate that (1) James wants believers “to state” and prove their position, (2) believers must “say” they have faith and prove it, and (3) James requires “real” faith (trust) in God. You also indicate that Abraham “said” he believed God, and his belief was proved when tested. It appears you are indicating Abraham’s belief was proved when he did the “work[]” of offering Isaac. James says Abraham’s “faith wrought with his works” (NASB: “faith was working with his works”) (Jas. 2:22) in contrast to a “faith without works” (Jas. 2:26).

              My question is, is James presenting two alternatives: either (1) a person “says” that the person has “faith” but has no “works,” which is not “faith” at all or (2) a person “says” that the person has “faith” and it is working with works, and that “faith” is real “faith”?

              2. You mention that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant.” However, consider the following excerpt from my essay; the excerpt deals with the issue of whether James wants Jewish Christians to comply with the law of Moses (the law):
              VIII. JAMES AND THE ROLES OF LAW AND WORKS OF THE LAW
              Below we discuss the roles of the law of Moses and works of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian according to James. In order to do so, it is necessary to consider James’s various references to the law in his epistle.

              A. THE “WORD” INCLUDES THE “PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY,” I.E., THE LAW OF MOSES

              At
              James 1:22-25, James states,

              “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”​
              (Italics added.)


              Here, James says that his readers are to be doers of the “word,” and “not hearers only.” He later insists that his reader is to continue in the “perfect law of liberty,” “being not a forgetful hearer.” The parallel of “word/not hearers only” and “perfect law of liberty/not a forgetful hearer” is evidence that the “word” at least includes the “perfect law of liberty.”

              Moreover, to the Jews to whom James was writing, the “word” would consist at least of the Old Testament, including the law of Moses. This too is evidence that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses. Further, Jews reading about a “law” of liberty would naturally think of the “law” of Moses. Further still, if the phrase “perfect law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase found nowhere else in the Bible to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses.

              The above facts indicate that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses and, if so, imply that James wants Jewish Christians to “continu[e]” in the “perfect law of liberty” and be a “doer of the work.” (Italics added.) That is, James wants Jewish Christians to do works of the law of Moses.

              B. THE “ROYAL LAW,” THE “LAW,” AND THE “LAW OF LIBERTY” ARE THE LAW OF MOSES

              At Jas. 2:1-7, James denounces having faith with “respect of persons,” i.e., preferring the rich over the poor. He then states at Jas. 2:8-13:

              “8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [NASB and NIV: “convicted”] of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”​

              (Italics added.)

              These verses are divisible as follows. Verses 8 and 9 contrast (1) fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” Verses 10 and 11 explain why those having respect of persons are convicted of the law as transgressors. Verse 12 is an admonition of future judgment. Verse 13 explains, discussing the relationship between, on the one hand, that future judgment and, on the other, the presence or absence of mercy. As discussed below, these verses demonstrate that James is telling the Jews to whom he is writing that they are under obligation to the law of Moses and must comply with it.

              First, at
              James 2:8-9, James contrasts fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is unmistakably a commandment of the law of Moses found at Lev. 19:18. That shows that the “royal law” to be fulfilled according to Lev. 19:18 is the law of Moses. Moreover, the Jewish reader would understand being convicted of the “law” as transgressors as being convicted of the law of Moses as transgressors or breakers of the law of Moses. That in turn, again, shows that the “royal law” is the law of Moses. Further, James says that if you fulfill the “royal law,” “ye do well.” (Italics added.) He clearly wants his Jewish reader to comply with the “royal law,” i.e., law of Moses.

              Indeed, if “the royal law” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—“the royal law”—found nowhere else in the Bible, to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, as discussed below.

              Second,
              James 2:10-11 explain verse 9. Verse 10 teaches that whoever will keep “the whole law” (italics added)—an undeniable reference to the law of Moses—and offend “in one point”—an obvious reference to a single point in the law of Moses—is guilty of all—a clear reference to being “guilty” of all points in the law of Moses. Verse 11 further explains, referring to two of the Ten Commandments of the law of Moses, “Thou shall not kill [murder]” (Ex. 20:13) and “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). One who breaks one commandment of the law of Moses but not another is nonetheless a transgressor of the law of Moses. Thus, having respect of persons makes one a transgressor of the law. James implicitly teaches his Jewish readers that their sin of having respect of persons makes the readers transgressors of the law, which presupposes they are under obligation to it.

              Third, Jas. 2:12 implicitly admonishes the Jewish readers to not have respect of persons and to “do” as people who will be judged by the law of liberty. In the context of Jas. 2:8-11 and its multiple references to the law of Moses discussed above, James at Jas. 2:12 is warning his readers that what they “do” will be judged by “the law of liberty,” which is the law of Moses.

              If the “law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—the “law of liberty”—found nowhere else in the Bible (except at Jas. 1:25, which we have discussed) to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, of which Jas. 2:12 is a part. And James, telling them to “do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (italics added) is telling them to do works of the law of Moses.

              Finally, James is teaching at Jas. 2:13 as follows. All Jews—Christian or not—will be judged by the law of liberty, i.e., the law of Moses. All Jews (certainly having offended at least in one point) will be guilty under the law. The Jewish unbeliever, having shown no mercy (e.g., having respect of persons), will be judged guilty and shown no mercy by God. Indeed, such a judgment is consistent with the harsh provisions of punishment under the law of Moses. Thus,
              Hebrews 10:28, referring to Jewish unbelievers, says, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses[.]” (See also Heb. 2:2-3.) However, the Jewish Christian, having shown mercy, will be judged guilty but will be shown mercy by God. The teaching of James that his Jewish readers will be judged guilty under the law of Moses presupposes that they are subject to it.

              C. A “DOER OF THE LAW” IS A DOER OF THE LAW OF MOSES

              At Jas. 4:11, James admonishes,

              “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”​

              Again, the Jewish reader would understand James’s references to “law” in this verse to be references to the law of Moses. The reader would also understand James to be enjoining him or her to be a “doer of the law” (italics added)—a doer of the law of Moses—and not a judge of the law. This reflects that James wanted his Jewish reader to do works of the law.”

              In light of the excerpt, is it clear that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant”?

              3. I said, “On the other hand, Paul teaches four things. First, Christians are not “justified by works” (Rom. 4:2) but are “justified by faith” (Rom. 3:28; 5:1) (as Paul uses those terms).” You replied:
              “Actually Paul wants those who are justified by faith to be perfected by obedience. [] Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

              First, it appears from your comment above that you agree that Paul is teaching that Christians are “justified by faith.” Paul also uses the phrase “justified by works” at Rom. 4:2. Just to be clear concerning your comment, isn’t Paul teaching at Rom. 4:1-5 that Christians are not “justified by works” as he uses that phrase?

              Second, Paul is clearly teaching at Gal. 3:3 that Christians, justified by faith, are not made perfect “by the flesh.” You understand him to be teaching there that he wants Christians, justified by faith, to be perfected by “obedience.” But Paul does not expressly state at that verse how a Christian isperfected or even that a Christian is “perfected.” Instead, Paul is clearly implying there that a Christian is not “perfected” “by the flesh.”

              Third, Paul does not use the word “obedience” in Gal. 3:3. Nor does he claim there that Christians are perfected by obedience. He does not, for example, ask there, “having begun in the Spirit, are ye not now made perfect by obedience”?

              Finally, it should be noted that Paul does not state at Gal. 3:3 that “obedience” is “works.” James teaches at Jas. 2:22 that, “by works was faith made perfect,” but Paul does not ask at Gal. 3:3, “are ye not now made perfect by obedience by works”?

              As mentioned, I agree with much of what you have written but I thought I would note the above. God bless you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you NorrinRadd for your comments. Like the case with Footwasher, I agree with much of what you have said. I also have a number of comments and/or questions about other portions. My Scriptural quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

                1. You mention, “Paul said works do not save, yet faith results in works -- Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 2:5-8.”

                I agree that Paul teaches that works do not save. I also agree that Eph. 2:8-10 teach that, among other things, Christians are “saved through faith” (italics added) and “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (italics added). But those verses do not use the phrase “faith results in works.” Similarly, I agree that Titus 2:5-8 teach that, among other things, Titus was to show “a pattern of good works.” But those verses neither expressly refer to “faith” nor say that “faith results in works.”

                I point this out for two reasons. First, the phrase “faith results in works” suggests a causal connection between “faith” and “works.” Eph 2:8-10 and Titus 2:5-8 do not state there is a causal connection. Eph. 2:8-10 teach Christians are “saved through faith” and “created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” but the verses do not assert that the “faith” causes, or results in, “good works.”

                Second, the phrase “faith results in works” is vague because it does not address the issue of how frequently “works” are supposedly caused by “faith.” Does “faith results in works” mean that “works” must be simultaneous or nearly simultaneous with “faith,” otherwise there is no “faith” at all? If so, that could suggest that Christians have to work almost constantly. At Titus 3:8, Paul states, “I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works.” His statement is arguably unnecessary if “faith” necessarily causes simultaneous, or nearly simultaneous, “works.” Paul told Titus at Titus 2:7 that Paul wanted Titus to exhibit a “pattern” (NASB: “example”) of good works. This implies a discernible frequency of “works,” but otherwise nothing about how frequent the “works” are.

                2. You comment that “Paul said that these are explicitly works of ‘love’ -- Gal. 5:6.” (Italics added.) It appears that you are saying, “these [works] are explicitly works of ‘love’.”

                However, first, at Gal. 5:6, Paul uses the phrase, “faith which worketh by love.” (Italics added; NASB: “faith working through love,” italics added.) That verse does not explicitly use the phrase “works of love.”

                Second, “works” is a noun; “worketh” (NASB: “working”) is a verb. Paul does not explicitly use “works,” the noun, in that verse.

                Third, “works,” the noun, can imply outward conduct. But it is not clear that “worketh,” the verb, at Gal. 5:6 is action involving outward conduct. The word “worketh” at Gal. 5:6 is a translation of a form of the Greek word “energoumen.” (Barbara and Timothy Friberg, Analytical Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), p. 584.) “Energoumen” is a verb (ibid.), not a noun. “Energoumen” is a form of the Greek word “energeo.” (George V. Wigram and Ralph D. Winter, The Word Study Concordance (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1978), p. 261.) “Energeo” means “work, be at work, operate, be effective.” (Walter Bauer, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd ed. (William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich; revised & augmtd. by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 265.) “Energeo” is derived from two Greek words, “ergon,” which means “work,” and “en,” which means “in” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 17th prtg., 1966), IV, p. 232), literally together: “work in.” Interestingly, our word “energy” is also derived from “energeo.” (“Energy” too is derived from “ergon” and “en.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1986), p. 412.)

                “Energoumen” is found nine times in the New Testament, including at Gal. 5:6. (Rom. 7:5; 2 Cor. 1:6; 2 Cor. 4:12; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 3:20; Col. 1:29; 1 Th. 2:13; 2 Th. 2:7; and Jas. 5:16; Wigram and Winter, p. 261; Friberg & Friberg at those verses.) The citations show that Paul uses it eight of those nine times. On six of the eight times that Paul uses “energoumen,” it is accompanied by the Greek word “en,” translated “in.” Those six times are found at Rom. 7:5; 2 Cor. 1:6; 2 Cor. 4:12; Eph. 3:20; Col. 1:29; and 1 Th. 2:13. (“In” is not used at Gal. 5:6 or 1 Th. 2:13.) For example, at Rom. 7:5, Paul says, “the motions of sins, . . . did work in (“energoumen”) our members[.]” (Italics added.) Paul speaks at 2 Cor. 1:6 of consolation and salvation “effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings.” At 2 Cor. 4:12, Paul wrote, “So then death worketh in (“energoumen”) us, but life in you.” (Italics added.)

                Thus, when Paul at Gal. 5:6 refers to “faith which worketh by love”: (1) “worketh” is a translation of “energoumen,” a word related to our word “energy” and derived from two words meaning “work” and “in,” and (2) “energoumen” is frequently and separately accompanied by “in” (though not here) to convey the action of working in something. Moreover, “energoumen” can be translated “operate,” a word that does not necessarily imply outward conduct. Thus, Gal. 5:6 reasonably may be viewed as referring to faith which operates inside the person by love. It is therefore unclear whether “worketh” at this verse means outward conduct.

                3. I agree that love fulfills the law, as taught at Rom. 13:8-10 and Gal. 5:14.

                4. You mention, “Jas. 2:18 shows that works *demonstrate* faith. So the faith comes first, and the works show it.” (Italics added.)

                I agree that Jas. 2:18 is teaching that “works” demonstrate or show “faith.” But James does not say that “faith comes first, and the works show it.” (Italics added.) He does not refer to a time continuum in which “faith” is first and “works” are later. At James 2:22, James says that “faith wrought with his works,” or “faith was working with his works” (NASB), or “his faith and his actions were working together” (NIV). These phrases do not indicate sequence. In these phrases, “faith” no more comes before “works” than “works” comes before “faith.” They simply indicate that “faith” and “works” existed concurrently and that “faith” was working with “works.” Abraham’s “faith” is working with “works” when James first discusses Abraham’s “faith.” James does not state that Abraham had a faith, or “faith without works,” that became a “faith with works.” Nor does James state that “faith comes first, and the works show it.” (Italics added.)

                5. You also say that Jas. 2:8 is “explicitly citing the ‘Royal Law’ of love of neighbor.”

                However, it is not clear that the “royal law” of Jas. 2:8 is equal to the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” At Jas. 2:8, James expressly distinguishes law and Scripture. He says, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well[.]” (Italics added.) The Scripture, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” is in turn a commandment of the law of Moses found at Lev. 19:18. Lev. 19:18 is not the law of Moses but a commandment included in the law of Moses. In other words, the “royal law” is the law of Moses. The Scripture, the commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is a commandment of that law. See my comments to Footwasher about the royal law as the law of Moses.

                6. Finally, you observe, “There is no contradiction between Paul and James.” Here are some thoughts.

                Take Paul and James on the meaning of “faith.” When Paul says we are “justified by faith,” his essential meaning of “faith” is that part of the fruit of the Spirit which is the belief inside the Christian, and with the heart, that what God says is true. I say this because Paul says that “faith” is: (1) part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22); belief (Rom. 4:3, 9); inside a person (2 Tim. 1:5); that of a Christian (“your” faith; Rom. 1:8; 2 Th. 1:3); and “with the heart” (Rom. 10:10); that what God says is true (Gen. 15:5-6; Rom. 4:3). In this sense, “faith” is a spiritual, technical term for Paul.

                Like Paul, for James, in Jas. 2:14-26, “faith” involves belief that what God says is true. But a major key to understanding what “faith” is for James is to recognize that he teaches that just as a body without a spirit is dead, so “faith without works” is dead. (Jas. 2:26.) James’s body metaphor implies that just as a body with a spirit is living, so “faith with works” (my shorthand for “faith . . . wrought with . . . works” (Jas. 2:22)) is living; otherwise “faith with works” is dead too and there is no point in James distinguishing between “faith without works” and “faith with works.” That means that, for James, just as a body can be dead or living and in that sense there are two kinds of bodies—a dead body and a living body—“faith” can be dead or living and in that sense there are two kinds of “faith” for James—dead “faith” and living “faith.” I will refer to James’s “faith without works” as his first kind of “faith” and his “faith with works” as his second kind of “faith.”

                In fact, duality concerning “faith” is implicit throughout Jas. 2:14-26. James’s first kind of “faith”—“faith without works”—does not save (Jas. 2:14), and it is profitless (2:14), dead (2:17), alone (2:17), unshown (2:18), the kind that a demon has (2:19), and the “faith” of a vain or foolish man (2:20). Further, James’s discussion of Abraham shows that James’s first kind of “faith” does not work with “works” (2:22), is not perfected by works (2:22), does not fulfill Gen. 15:6 and is not counted for righteousness (2:23), is not the “faith” of a friend of God (2:23), and therefore is not the “faith” of a Christian. On the other hand, James’s second kind of “faith”—“faith with works”—saves and is profitable, living, not alone, and shown, and it is not the kind that a demon has and is not the “faith” of a vain or foolish man. Moreover, James’s discussion of Abraham shows that James’s second kind of “faith” works with “works,” is perfected, fulfills Gen. 15:6 and is counted for righteousness, and is the “faith” of a friend of God and therefore the “faith” of a Christian. (Nonetheless, James never says that this second kind of “faith” is part of the “fruit of the Spirit” or “belief with the heart.”)

                James thus leaves us to deduce his essential meaning of “faith” from his two kinds. His essential meaning of “faith” (in the context of humans, not demons) is: belief inside a person that what God says is true. (And unlike Paul, James never teaches that “faith” in its essential meaning is part of the “fruit of the Spirit” or belief “with the heart.”) The essential meaning of “faith” for James is spiritually neutral and there are only two possibilities for such “faith”; it is either (1) the first kind and not the “faith” of a Christian or (2) the second kind, the “faith” of a Christian. “Faith” in its essential meaning for James does not tell you which kind it is. Which kind it is depends on an additional fact: whether the “faith” is without “works” or whether the “faith” is with “works.” When “faith” is without “works,” that “faith” is James’s first kind. When “faith” is with “works,” that “faith” is his second kind. In the context of justification, “faith” in its essential meaning for James is thus not the technical term that “faith” is in its essential meaning for Paul.

                It is important to remember that sometimes the same words have different meanings in the New Testament. Sometimes they have an ordinary meaning and other times a spiritual or technical meaning. For example,
                Luke 18:18-19 record that a ruler once asked Jesus, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Italics added.) Jesus replied, “Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.” (Italics added.) The ruler was using the word “good” with its ordinary meaning among the Jews; Jesus was using it with a technical meaning making “good” an exclusive attribute of Deity. Jesus was trying to teach the ruler not to call Him good unless he acknowledged, correctly, that He was God. When James refers to “faith” with its essential meaning, he is using the term with its ordinary meaning among the Jews, while Paul invests the term with a spiritual, technical meaning.

                Or take Paul and James on the phrase “justified by works.” For Paul, that phrase (Rom. 4:2) refers to two processes that a person engages in pursuant to a contract: (1) a person engages in “works” and (2) in return God “pays” that person with righteousness as a debt God owes for the “works.” (Rom. 4:4.) For Paul, “works” in this context means outward conduct done with the expectation of receiving righteousness from God in return as payment of a debt owed by Him. And Paul teaches that Abraham was not “justified by works” as Paul uses that phrase (Rom. 4:2). (As you point out, Paul clearly teaches that Christians are to do “works”—in another context, i.e., “good works”—but they have no place in Paul’s concept of justification by “faith,” which is simply “faith counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5)).

                On the other hand, when James uses the phrase “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21), James is referring to four processes. According to Jas. 2:22-23, those processes are (1) “faith” works with “works,” (2) by “works” “faith” is perfected, (3) the person’s “faith” is counted for righteousness, and (4) the person is called the friend of God. (This does not involve a contract “obligating” God.) And this “faith” is James’s second kind. “Works” are outward conduct that show “faith.” Finally, James teaches that Abraham was “justified by works” as James uses that phrase. (Jas. 2:21.) Indeed, James, writing to Jews (1:1) teaches that even Gentiles are “justified by works,” because he teaches Rahab was “likewise” (2:25) “justified by works.”

                So, although Paul and James use the terms, for example, “faith” and “justified by works,” they have different meanings for those terms, although they are all inspired Scripture.

                The fact that, e.g., Paul teaches that Abraham was not “justified by works” and James teaches that Abraham was “justified by works” is not contradictory. Those teachings would be contradictory only if they were taught concurrently and the two apostles meant the same thing by the phrase “justified by works.” But the apostles do not mean the same thing by that phrase.

                However, if the doctrines of Paul and James on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian must be taught today, the contradiction is more fundamental. For example, Paul has one essential meaning for “faith,” James has another, and each apostle received his respective meaning from Jesus Christ. Yet Paul, declaring that his essential meaning for “faith” is that part of the fruit of the Spirit consisting of the belief inside the Christian, and with the heart, that what God says is true, would deny James’s teaching that the essential meaning of “faith” is simply belief inside a person that what God says is true. James, declaring that his essential meaning of “faith” is simply belief inside a person that what God says is true, would deny Paul’s teaching that the essential meaning of “faith” is part of the fruit of the Spirit consisting of the belief inside the Christian, and with the heart, that what God says is true.

                Similarly, Paul has one meaning for “justified by works,” James has another, and each apostle received his respective meaning from Jesus Christ. However, Paul, maintaining that “justified by works” means his two contract processes, would deny that that phrase means James’s four processes. James, maintaining that “justified by works” means his four processes, would deny that that phrase means Paul’s two contract processes. If the doctrines of Paul and James on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian must be taught today to Christians, the resulting purported Biblical teaching is contradictory.

                However, “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33). There is no conflict in these doctrines as reflected in the apostles’ respective epistles because when Paul introduced his “revelation” to James, James, giving the right hand of fellowship, accepted Paul’s revelation, agreed James would teach it in the future, and abandoned James’s previous teachings on, e.g., the essential meanings of “faith” and “justified by works.” In other words, the reconciliation is to view James’s doctrines on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian as transitional. It should be no surprise, then, that Paul’s doctrines on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Christian are taught in various New Testament books, but the only New Testament book containing James’s doctrines on justification and the role of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian is the Epistle of James. (As the essay discusses, James wrote his Epistle of James before, and Paul wrote his Galatian letter after, the “right hands of fellowship” (Gal. 2:9)). God bless you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kenneth Roberson View Post
                  Hi Footwasher! Thank you for your comments. I agree with much of what you have said. I also have a number of comments and/or questions about other portions. My Scriptural quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.
                  It's useful to set out the different premises:


                  Your view:

                  Scripture teaches

                  1. Jewish Christians must have faith and obey Torah
                  2. Gentile Christians must have faith and obey their conscience


                  My view:

                  Scripture teaches

                  1. All Christians must have faith and prove their faith

                  My view can be best explained by seeing the principle taught throughout the Bible.

                  Abraham was made aware that humanity was in an unsatisfactory state and turned to God for deliverance.

                  Acts 17:26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ b As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

                  Hebrews 11:13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


                  God taught Abraham he could receive this new state if he trusted Him and obeyed all he was asked to do. Abraham agreed he trusted God and stated he would indeed obey. When he agreed, God gave him revelations to strengthen his trust: He put Abraham in dangerous situations and rescued him (from King Abhimelech). Abraham strengthened his trust through these revelations. When God checked to see if his trust was real, Abraham’s strengthened faith allowed him to prove his trust was real.

                  Genesis 22:11Just then the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12“Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him,” said the angel, “for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.


                  Similarly, God taught Caleb he could receive this new state if he trusted Him and obeyed all he was asked to do. Caleb agreed he trusted God and stated he would indeed obey. When he agreed, God gave him revelations to strengthen his trust: He put Caleb in dangerous situations and rescued him (from thirst and hunger). Caleb strengthened his trust through these revelations. When God checked to see if his trust was real, Caleb’s strengthened faith allowed him to prove his trust was real.

                  Numbers 14:24"But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.


                  While Abraham, Caleb and Jesus learned obedience from suffering, Israel did not:

                  Deuteronomy 8:2Remember that these forty years the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments. 3He humbled you, and in your hunger He gave you manna to eat, which neither you nor your fathers had known, so that you might understand that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

                  Psalms 106:21They forgot God their Savior,
                  who did great things in Egypt,
                  22wondrous works in the land of Ham,
                  and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.


                  Today, if we hear God’s voice on the day of testing, we should not be like Israel:

                  Hebrew 4:1Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be deemed to have fallen short of it. 2For we also received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, since they did not share the faith of those who comprehended it.

                  1 Corinthians 10:1I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.



                  In other words, just as you were justified by faithfulness, though lip service, you must continue to be sanctified, though faithfulness, in deeds. Then you will also receive faith strenghtening revelations. This is assuming you have been baptised properly, upon making the correct confession, that you believe Jesus, trust Him:

                  Acts 19:1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the interiora and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”

                  “No,” they answered, “we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

                  3“Into what, then, were you baptized?” Paul asked.

                  “The baptism of John,” they replied.

                  4Paul explained: “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

                  5On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.



                  Last edited by footwasher; 11-26-2020, 10:37 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kenneth Roberson View Post
                    Hi Footwasher! Thank you for your comments. I agree with much of what you have said. I also have a number of comments and/or questions about other portions. My Scriptural quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

                    1. I said, “James teaches in his Epistle of James that (1) Christians are “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21, 25) and not “justified . . . by faith only” (Jas. 2:24) (as James uses those terms), and (2) Jewish Christians must comply with the law of Moses (the law).”

                    You replied:
                    “Actually, James wants believers to state and prove their position about the proposal made by Jesus in His New Covenant, the offer of receiving reward that doesn't perish, by being blessings to the world, requiring real trust in God. In other words they must say they trust God to help them from danger, and then prove that trust by accepting the challenge to face danger and depending on God to save them. Abraham said he trusted God, and when tested, he succeeded in passing the test. James says his trust was perfected, proved, when tested.”




                    James uses the word “faith,” and forms of the word “believe,” (instead of “trust”) in his discussion of justification by works at Jas. 2:14-26, so for consistency’s sake I’ll use the term “faith” or a form of “believe” in my comments. I will also use the KJV unless otherwise noted.

                    I agree that James wants believers to “prove their position” and “prove that faith [trust]” if the proof is “works.” Accordingly, you mentioned that James says Abraham’s “faith was perfected”; I note James taught at Jas. 2:22 that “as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (NASB, italics added).

                    However, I also have a question. As background, I note that you indicate that (1) James wants believers “to state” and prove their position, (2) believers must “say” they have faith and prove it, and (3) James requires “real” faith (trust) in God. You also indicate that Abraham “said” he believed God, and his belief was proved when tested. It appears you are indicating Abraham’s belief was proved when he did the “work[]” of offering Isaac. James says Abraham’s “faith wrought with his works” (NASB: “faith was working with his works”) (Jas. 2:22) in contrast to a “faith without works” (Jas. 2:26).

                    My question is, is James presenting two alternatives: either (1) a person “says” that the person has “faith” but has no “works,” which is not “faith” at all or (2) a person “says” that the person has “faith” and it is working with works, and that “faith” is real “faith”?

                    2. You mention that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant.” However, consider the following excerpt from my essay; the excerpt deals with the issue of whether James wants Jewish Christians to comply with the law of Moses (the law):
                    VIII. JAMES AND THE ROLES OF LAW AND WORKS OF THE LAW
                    Below we discuss the roles of the law of Moses and works of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian according to James. In order to do so, it is necessary to consider James’s various references to the law in his epistle.

                    A. THE “WORD” INCLUDES THE “PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY,” I.E., THE LAW OF MOSES

                    At
                    James 1:22-25, James states,
                    “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”​
                    (Italics added.)


                    Here, James says that his readers are to be doers of the “word,” and “not hearers only.” He later insists that his reader is to continue in the “perfect law of liberty,” “being not a forgetful hearer.” The parallel of “word/not hearers only” and “perfect law of liberty/not a forgetful hearer” is evidence that the “word” at least includes the “perfect law of liberty.”

                    Moreover, to the Jews to whom James was writing, the “word” would consist at least of the Old Testament, including the law of Moses. This too is evidence that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses. Further, Jews reading about a “law” of liberty would naturally think of the “law” of Moses. Further still, if the phrase “perfect law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase found nowhere else in the Bible to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses.

                    The above facts indicate that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses and, if so, imply that James wants Jewish Christians to “continu[e]” in the “perfect law of liberty” and be a “doer of the work.” (Italics added.) That is, James wants Jewish Christians to do works of the law of Moses.

                    B. THE “ROYAL LAW,” THE “LAW,” AND THE “LAW OF LIBERTY” ARE THE LAW OF MOSES

                    At Jas. 2:1-7, James denounces having faith with “respect of persons,” i.e., preferring the rich over the poor. He then states at Jas. 2:8-13:
                    “8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [NASB and NIV: “convicted”] of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”​

                    (Italics added.)

                    These verses are divisible as follows. Verses 8 and 9 contrast (1) fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” Verses 10 and 11 explain why those having respect of persons are convicted of the law as transgressors. Verse 12 is an admonition of future judgment. Verse 13 explains, discussing the relationship between, on the one hand, that future judgment and, on the other, the presence or absence of mercy. As discussed below, these verses demonstrate that James is telling the Jews to whom he is writing that they are under obligation to the law of Moses and must comply with it.

                    First, at
                    James 2:8-9, James contrasts fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is unmistakably a commandment of the law of Moses found at Lev. 19:18. That shows that the “royal law” to be fulfilled according to Lev. 19:18 is the law of Moses. Moreover, the Jewish reader would understand being convicted of the “law” as transgressors as being convicted of the law of Moses as transgressors or breakers of the law of Moses. That in turn, again, shows that the “royal law” is the law of Moses. Further, James says that if you fulfill the “royal law,” “ye do well.” (Italics added.) He clearly wants his Jewish reader to comply with the “royal law,” i.e., law of Moses.

                    Indeed, if “the royal law” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—“the royal law”—found nowhere else in the Bible, to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, as discussed below.

                    Second,
                    James 2:10-11 explain verse 9. Verse 10 teaches that whoever will keep “the whole law” (italics added)—an undeniable reference to the law of Moses—and offend “in one point”—an obvious reference to a single point in the law of Moses—is guilty of all—a clear reference to being “guilty” of all points in the law of Moses. Verse 11 further explains, referring to two of the Ten Commandments of the law of Moses, “Thou shall not kill [murder]” (Ex. 20:13) and “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). One who breaks one commandment of the law of Moses but not another is nonetheless a transgressor of the law of Moses. Thus, having respect of persons makes one a transgressor of the law. James implicitly teaches his Jewish readers that their sin of having respect of persons makes the readers transgressors of the law, which presupposes they are under obligation to it.

                    Third, Jas. 2:12 implicitly admonishes the Jewish readers to not have respect of persons and to “do” as people who will be judged by the law of liberty. In the context of Jas. 2:8-11 and its multiple references to the law of Moses discussed above, James at Jas. 2:12 is warning his readers that what they “do” will be judged by “the law of liberty,” which is the law of Moses.

                    If the “law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—the “law of liberty”—found nowhere else in the Bible (except at Jas. 1:25, which we have discussed) to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, of which Jas. 2:12 is a part. And James, telling them to “do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (italics added) is telling them to do works of the law of Moses.

                    Finally, James is teaching at Jas. 2:13 as follows. All Jews—Christian or not—will be judged by the law of liberty, i.e., the law of Moses. All Jews (certainly having offended at least in one point) will be guilty under the law. The Jewish unbeliever, having shown no mercy (e.g., having respect of persons), will be judged guilty and shown no mercy by God. Indeed, such a judgment is consistent with the harsh provisions of punishment under the law of Moses. Thus,
                    Hebrews 10:28, referring to Jewish unbelievers, says, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses[.]” (See also Heb. 2:2-3.) However, the Jewish Christian, having shown mercy, will be judged guilty but will be shown mercy by God. The teaching of James that his Jewish readers will be judged guilty under the law of Moses presupposes that they are subject to it.

                    C. A “DOER OF THE LAW” IS A DOER OF THE LAW OF MOSES

                    At Jas. 4:11, James admonishes,
                    “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”​

                    Again, the Jewish reader would understand James’s references to “law” in this verse to be references to the law of Moses. The reader would also understand James to be enjoining him or her to be a “doer of the law” (italics added)—a doer of the law of Moses—and not a judge of the law. This reflects that James wanted his Jewish reader to do works of the law.”




                    In light of the excerpt, is it clear that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant”?

                    3. I said, “On the other hand, Paul teaches four things. First, Christians are not “justified by works” (Rom. 4:2) but are “justified by faith” (Rom. 3:28; 5:1) (as Paul uses those terms).” You replied:
                    “Actually Paul wants those who are justified by faith to be perfected by obedience. [] Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”




                    First, it appears from your comment above that you agree that Paul is teaching that Christians are “justified by faith.” Paul also uses the phrase “justified by works” at Rom. 4:2. Just to be clear concerning your comment, isn’t Paul teaching at Rom. 4:1-5 that Christians are not “justified by works” as he uses that phrase?

                    Second, Paul is clearly teaching at Gal. 3:3 that Christians, justified by faith, are not made perfect “by the flesh.” You understand him to be teaching there that he wants Christians, justified by faith, to be perfected by “obedience.” But Paul does not expressly state at that verse how a Christian isperfected or even that a Christian is “perfected.” Instead, Paul is clearly implying there that a Christian is not “perfected” “by the flesh.”

                    Third, Paul does not use the word “obedience” in Gal. 3:3. Nor does he claim there that Christians are perfected by obedience. He does not, for example, ask there, “having begun in the Spirit, are ye not now made perfect by obedience”?

                    Finally, it should be noted that Paul does not state at Gal. 3:3 that “obedience” is “works.” James teaches at Jas. 2:22 that, “by works was faith made perfect,” but Paul does not ask at Gal. 3:3, “are ye not now made perfect by obedience by works”?

                    As mentioned, I agree with much of what you have written but I thought I would note the above. God bless you.
                    Note

                    I could not shorten your posts, in view of the effort you put in conveying your interpretations. I did not want to avoid addressing your points, in order to not being seen as trying to deflect. Also, I began by using capitalisation, to differentiate between your posts and mine, but switched to normal text. Please excuse the existing capitals.


                    Further to my post, in addressing your reply to my first post, it should be noted that most of your questions can be answered if we understand that t the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, refers to a new set of laws, which are more important, and are superior, considering they are given by Christ and can save from sin. In other words, to interpret the teachings of James properly requires a pre-understanding, that he has already taught what the Royal Law is: the new set of laws given by Christ:


                    Matthew 1:21"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."


                    Matthew 5:43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor i and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.


                    Originally posted by Kenneth Roberson View Post
                    Thank you for your comments. I agree with much of what you have said. I also have a number of comments and/or questions about other portions. My Scriptural quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.


                    1. I said, “James teaches in his Epistle of James that (1) Christians are “justified by works” (Jas. 2:21, 25) and not “justified . . . by faith only” (Jas. 2:24) (as James uses those terms), and (2) Jewish Christians must comply with the law of Moses (the law).”


                    You replied:

                    “Actually, James wants believers to state and prove their position about the proposal made by Jesus in His New Covenant, the offer of receiving reward that doesn't perish, by being blessings to the world, requiring real trust in God. In other words they must say they trust God to help them from danger, and then prove that trust by accepting the challenge to face danger and depending on God to save them. Abraham said he trusted God, and when tested, he succeeded in passing the test. James says his trust was perfected, proved, when tested.”


                    James uses the word “faith,” and forms of the word “believe,” (instead of “trust”) in his discussion of justification by works at Jas. 2:14-26, so for consistency’s sake I’ll use the term “faith” or a form of “believe” in my comments. I will also use the KJV unless otherwise noted.


                    I agree that James wants believers to “prove their position” and “prove that faith [trust]” if the proof is “works.” Accordingly, you mentioned that James says Abraham’s “faith was perfected”; I note James taught at Jas. 2:22 that “as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (NASB, italics added).


                    However, I also have a question. As background, I note that you indicate that (1) James wants believers “to state” and prove their position, (2) believers must “say” they have faith and prove it, and (3) James requires “real” faith (trust) in God. You also indicate that Abraham “said” he believed God, and his belief was proved when tested. It appears you are indicating Abraham’s belief was proved when he did the “work[]” of offering Isaac. James says Abraham’s “faith wrought with his works” (NASB: “faith was working with his works”) (Jas. 2:22) in contrast to a “faith without works” (Jas. 2:26).


                    My question is, is James presenting two alternatives: either (1) a person “says” that the person has “faith” but has no “works,” which is not “faith” at all or (2) a person “says” that the person has “faith” and it is working with works, and that “faith” is real “faith”?

                    Yes.



                    2. You mention that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant.” However, consider the following excerpt from my essay; the excerpt deals with the issue of whether James wants Jewish Christians to comply with the law of Moses (the law):

                    “VIII. JAMES AND THE ROLES OF LAW AND WORKS OF THE LAW

                    Below we discuss the roles of the law of Moses and works of the law in the life of the Jewish Christian according to James. In order to do so, it is necessary to consider James’s various references to the law in his epistle.


                    A. THE “WORD” INCLUDES THE “PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY,” I.E., THE LAW OF MOSES


                    At James 1:22-25, James states,

                    “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”​

                    (Italics added.)



                    Here, James says that his readers are to be doers of the “word,” and “not hearers only.” He later insists that his reader is to continue in the “perfect law of liberty,” “being not a forgetful hearer.” The parallel of “word/not hearers only” and “perfect law of liberty/not a forgetful hearer” is evidence that the “word” at least includes the “perfect law of liberty.”


                    Moreover, to the Jews to whom James was writing, the “word” would consist at least of the Old Testament, including the law of Moses. This too is evidence that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses. Further, Jews reading about a “law” of liberty would naturally think of the “law” of Moses. Further still, if the phrase “perfect law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase found nowhere else in the Bible to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses.


                    The above facts indicate that the “perfect law of liberty” is the law of Moses and, if so, imply that James wants Jewish Christians to “continu[e]” in the “perfect law of liberty” and be a “doer of the work.” (Italics added.) That is, James wants Jewish Christians to do works of the law of Moses.


                    B. THE “ROYAL LAW,” THE “LAW,” AND THE “LAW OF LIBERTY” ARE THE LAW OF MOSES


                    At Jas. 2:1-7, James denounces having faith with “respect of persons,” i.e., preferring the rich over the poor. He then states at Jas. 2:8-13:

                    “8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [NASB and NIV: “convicted”] of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”​


                    (Italics added.)


                    These verses are divisible as follows. Verses 8 and 9 contrast (1) fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” Verses 10 and 11 explain why those having respect of persons are convicted of the law as transgressors. Verse 12 is an admonition of future judgment. Verse 13 explains, discussing the relationship between, on the one hand, that future judgment and, on the other, the presence or absence of mercy. As discussed below, these verses demonstrate that James is telling the Jews to whom he is writing that they are under obligation to the law of Moses and must comply with it.


                    First, at James 2:8-9, James contrasts fulfilling the “royal law” according to “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and (2) having respect of persons and being convicted of the “the law as transgressors.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is unmistakably a commandment of the law of Moses found at Lev. 19:18. That shows that the “royal law” to be fulfilled according to Lev. 19:18 is the law of Moses. Moreover, the Jewish reader would understand being convicted of the “law” as transgressors as being convicted of the law of Moses as transgressors or breakers of the law of Moses. That in turn, again, shows that the “royal law” is the law of Moses. Further, James says that if you fulfill the “royal law,” “ye do well.” (Italics added.) He clearly wants his Jewish reader to comply with the “royal law,” i.e., law of Moses.


                    Indeed, if “the royal law” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—“the royal law”—found nowhere else in the Bible, to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, as discussed below.


                    Second, James 2:10-11 explain verse 9. Verse 10 teaches that whoever will keep “the whole law” (italics added)—an undeniable reference to the law of Moses—and offend “in one point”—an obvious reference to a single point in the law of Moses—is guilty of all—a clear reference to being “guilty” of all points in the law of Moses. Verse 11 further explains, referring to two of the Ten Commandments of the law of Moses, “Thou shall not kill [murder]” (Ex. 20:13) and “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). One who breaks one commandment of the law of Moses but not another is nonetheless a transgressor of the law of Moses. Thus, having respect of persons makes one a transgressor of the law. James implicitly teaches his Jewish readers that their sin of having respect of persons makes the readers transgressors of the law, which presupposes they are under obligation to it.


                    Third, Jas. 2:12 implicitly admonishes the Jewish readers to not have respect of persons and to “do” as people who will be judged by the law of liberty. In the context of Jas. 2:8-11 and its multiple references to the law of Moses discussed above, James at Jas. 2:12 is warning his readers that what they “do” will be judged by “the law of liberty,” which is the law of Moses.


                    If the “law of liberty” is not the law of Moses, then James has introduced a phrase—the “law of liberty”—found nowhere else in the Bible (except at Jas. 1:25, which we have discussed) to refer to an important concept without clearly explaining what it is or how it differs from the law of Moses referred to multiple times in Jas. 2:9-13, of which Jas. 2:12 is a part. And James, telling them to “do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (italics added) is telling them to do works of the law of Moses.


                    Finally, James is teaching at Jas. 2:13 as follows. All Jews—Christian or not—will be judged by the law of liberty, i.e., the law of Moses. All Jews (certainly having offended at least in one point) will be guilty under the law. The Jewish unbeliever, having shown no mercy (e.g., having respect of persons), will be judged guilty and shown no mercy by God. Indeed, such a judgment is consistent with the harsh provisions of punishment under the law of Moses. Thus, Hebrews 10:28, referring to Jewish unbelievers, says, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses[.]” (See also Heb. 2:2-3.) However, the Jewish Christian, having shown mercy, will be judged guilty but will be shown mercy by God. The teaching of James that his Jewish readers will be judged guilty under the law of Moses presupposes that they are subject to it.

                    NOTE

                    IN HEBREWS 10:28,29, THE LAW OF MOSES IS PRESENTED AS ONE WHICH MUST BE RESPECTED CONSIDERING IT WAS GIVEN BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD(Heb 2:2, Gal 3:19). IF SO, HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD THE ROYAL LAW BE RESPECTED, SEEING IT WAS GIVEN BY GOD HIMSELF. THIS SHOWS THAT THAT TWO SETS OF LAWS ARE RECOGNISED.



                    C. A “DOER OF THE LAW” IS A DOER OF THE LAW OF MOSES


                    At Jas. 4:11, James admonishes,

                    “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”​


                    Again, the Jewish reader would understand James’s references to “law” in this verse to be references to the law of Moses. The reader would also understand James to be enjoining him or her to be a “doer of the law” (italics added)—a doer of the law of Moses—and not a judge of the law. This reflects that James wanted his Jewish reader to do works of the law.”


                    In light of the excerpt, is it clear that “No writer of the New Testament taught that Jewish Christians needed to follow the Mosaic Covenant”?

                    Yes. See above.


                    3. I said, “On the other hand, Paul teaches four things. First, Christians are not “justified by works” (Rom. 4:2) but are “justified by faith” (Rom. 3:28; 5:1) (as Paul uses those terms).” You replied:

                    “Actually Paul wants those who are justified by faith to be perfected by obedience. [] Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”


                    First, it appears from your comment above that you agree that Paul is teaching that Christians are “justified by faith.” Paul also uses the phrase “justified by works” at Rom. 4:2. Just to be clear concerning your comment, isn’t Paul teaching at Rom. 4:1-5 that Christians are not “justified by works” as he uses that phrase?

                    AGAIN, WE SHOULD INTERPRET ROMANS 4:1-5 AS A TEACHING WHICH BUILDS ON A PRE-UNDERSTANDING, THAT PAUL IS REBUTTING A TEACHING THAT GENTILES NEEDED TO BECOME JEWS, BE CIRCUMCISED, IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE BENEFITS OF A COVENANT WITH GOD.


                    Second, Paul is clearly teaching at Gal. 3:3 that Christians, justified by faith, are not made perfect “by the flesh.” You understand him to be teaching there that he wants Christians, justified by faith, to be perfected by “obedience.” But Paul does not expressly state at that verse how a Christian is perfected or even that a Christian is “perfected.” Instead, Paul is clearly implying there that a Christian is not “perfected” “by the flesh.”

                    Paul is using the words "faith" and "flesh" to contrast the Sinaitic Covenant with the New Covenant, which made the first obsolete:


                    Galatians 3:12However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


                    Third, Paul does not use the word “obedience” in Gal. 3:3. Nor does he claim there that Christians are perfected by obedience. He does not, for example, ask there, “having begun in the Spirit, are ye not now made perfect by obedience”?

                    Paul is using the word "faith" to mean loyalty, which can either be expressed with lip service leading to real justification (as expressed in the receiving of the Holy Spirit) or with deeds, leading to sanctification, perfection (as manifested in the receiving of gifts). So he is contrasting loyalty with employment, works of the law, referring to those under the Sinaitic Covenant as "hired hands" (Jn 10:12), slaves, those who work for wages, rather than "sons", who are entitled to "inheritance", "gifts" (Gal 4:30) .


                    Galatians 3:2This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?


                    Finally, it should be noted that Paul does not state at Gal. 3:3 that “obedience” is “works.” James teaches at Jas. 2:22 that, “by works was faith made perfect,” but Paul does not ask at Gal. 3:3, “are ye not now made perfect by obedience by works”?

                    As mentioned, Paul wants the Gentiles in Galatia to be perfected by continuing in hearing with faith, expressed in obedience through loyalty, rather than through being hired hands.


                    As mentioned, I agree with much of what you have written but I thought I would note the above. God bless you.

                    And also with you. Good job, doing business with the text, as opposed to peddling tradition, dogma.
                    Last edited by footwasher; 11-26-2020, 08:38 PM.

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