by works…” Now listen to what Paul says in Romans, chapter 4, verse 1: “What shall we say, then, that Abraham, our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counter for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” Do you see what is happening here? Do you see the seeming contradiction? Do you see the seeming confusion? It’s like James is saying one thing and Paul is saying another. Now Paul, the mighty apostle, makes it plain that works, a little or a lot, do not save and they do not help save. And another passage of Scripture is Romans 11, and verse 6. Paul, after saying we’re saved by grace, says this: “And if by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, it is no longer, it is no more grace, and otherwise work is no more work.” Paul is saying, “Make up your mind. You can’t be saved by grace and works. If it’s by grace, works don’t have anything to do with it. If it’s by work, grace has nothing to do with it.” That’s Romans 11, and verse 6.
Now, we are saved, I want to say emphatically, clearly, without stutter, stammer, apology, and fear of contradiction, salvation is by grace alone. (Amen from congregation) Now, listen. Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Our faith is the only faith in the world that has the message of grace. God has cornered the market on grace. You are saved by the grace of God. It is the sheer gift of God. You could no more save yourself by works than this young man could do what I’m going to ask him to do. Greg, come over here just a minute. You’re an athlete. He doesn’t know I’m going to do this. But you’re an athlete. He is. He’s a great athlete, so I want you to do this. I want you to reach down and put your hands underneath your shoes (Laughter from congregation). Just go ahead. You can bend, you bend your knees. Now, lift yourself off the ground. (Laughter from congregation) Impossible. Thank you. All right. He can’t do that. He, You could not save yourself by works anymore that he could lift himself off the ground by putting it, or if a drowning man is drowning could reach up and grab himself by the hair and pull himself out of the water. That is absolutely, totally impossible. You’re not saved by works.

As a matter of fact, we had something called the Protestant Reformation that is based on this entire truth that salvation is by grace. There was a Roman Catholic, monk,
James certainly gives pause to the "faith alone" theology. Grace alone has solid unchallenged standing. Faith is still a human response to a Divine invitation, and is empty apart from grace. Paul says, "By the grace of God I am what I am: and this grace upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."