Summary: Faith and Works – Two Sides of the Same Truth (Rom. 3:27-31)
Faith and Works – Two Sides of the Same Truth (Rom. 3:27-31)
Illustration:A young boy, on an errand for his mother, had just bought a dozen eggs. Walking out of the store, he tripped and dropped the sack. All the eggs broke, and the sidewalk was a mess. The boy tried not to cry. A few people gathered to see if he was OK and to tell him how sorry they were. In the midst of the works of pity, one man handed the boy a quarter. Then he turned to the group and said, "I care 25 cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?" James 2:16 points out that words don’t mean much if we have the ability to do more.
Stanley C. Brown.
1. Have you ever wondered how to reconcile Paul’s teaching on faith with James’ instruction on works? Many people would like to think that this shows that the Bible has contradictions, but Paul and James are simply presenting two sides of the same truth about justification through Jesus Christ.
By understanding the harmony of these two sides of truth we can produce a fruitful discussion on how these two sides of the same coin enhance our understanding of our responsibilities.
Inability to articulate how these two great aspects of truth work together leaves many vulnerable in their attempt to defend the truth of the scriptures.
Ask the Lord to help you grow more in your understanding of how faith and works combine to produce a synergistic movement toward personal and organizational maturity.
2. Be careful to look beyond the superficial meanings of scripture. Paul writes, "We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28) James wrote, "Faith by itself, if it is does not have works is dead…You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone." (James 2:17, 24)
Paul shows the Romans how useless works are without faith. James writes to his Jewish readers the uselessness of faith without works. Both men wrote true statements under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:20,21)
They agree that a person who is really born again will strive against sin and desire to produce good works in keeping with their faith.
Two great men of faith concur that only through Jesus Christ can a person find eternal life. Essentially, Paul and James are insisting that profession without practice is in vain. They are teaching that unless a person shows evidence of fruitful service it is likely that they are yet to exhibit saving faith.
Too many church-goers suppose that their intellectual, ritualistic or historical faith will get them into heaven, but they are wrong.
Both Paul and James are talking about a saving faith that trusts Christ to be the substitutionary payment for the forgiveness of their personal sins. Jesus said it best, "You will know a man by his fruit… Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance (Let your lives prove your change of heart." (Matt. 3:8; 7:16)
Ask the Lord to help you teach people how to get beyond superficial faith to a saving faith that produces fruitful results.
3. Both Paul and James instruction needs to be emphasized in our personal lives and church ministries.
Some individuals put too much emphasis on the justification of faith without giving much attention to admonishing those who forget what James said, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can faith save him?" (James 2:14) Both a personal faith in Christ that enhances godly devotion and an active life of service should be stressed. Too many churches or individuals have allowed their lifestyles to get out of balance.
They have failed to lay equal emphasis on both the teaching of Paul and James. Let us strongly exhort those who think that an intellectual faith is sufficient to gain a ticket into heaven.
Ask the Lord to help you balance the emphasis of your teaching.
4. Paul wanted to show that the best of good deeds is not enough for salvation and James wanted to show that the best of good intentioned intellectual faith is not enough to enjoy eternal life.
Our own deeds are insufficient to justify anyone to God.
Our own intellectual understanding is not enough to reason our way into heaven. Only through a saving faith in the righteousness of Christ can a person receive the free gift of salvation.
Ask the Lord to help you teach people about the insufficiency of their works and their intellectual faith in trying to make it to heaven.
Trust the Lord to help you use both Paul and James teaching to help people grow in ALL aspects of their personal, relational and ministry lifestyles.