By Larry Pasley
There is a scripture in which people deliberately leave out the word “not.”
In James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and “not” by faith only.” Many in the religious world today want to leave out that little word and make James say that we are saved by faith alone. Some people not only leave out a “not” but they move it to another place in the sentence and make the statement just the opposite. “you see that a man is “not” justified by works and by faith only.”
When we read the context of James 2:14-26 it is very clear that works are involved in our salvation.
Notice James 2:14, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? The obvious answer to James’ question is “no, faith cannot save you without works.”
James removes all doubt in verse 17, 20 and 26, by clearly stating that “faith without works is dead.”
In verse 18 he indicates that the only way you can see a person’s faith is by their works.
If faith alone would save then the demons would be saved since they believe and tremble James says in verse 19.
James even gives the examples of Abraham and Rahab and states that they were both justified by their works.
All of the scriptures which talk about judgment, say we will be judged by what we have done in the physical body: Mat 16:27; Mat 25:34-46; Romans 2:4-11; 2 Cor 5:10; Gal 6:7: Rev 20:12. It would be terribly unfair for God to tell us we are saved by our faith alone and then judge us by our works. But God has never told us we are saved by “faith alone.”
In order to have a correct understanding of God’s word, we must put it all together and get the whole picture.
We must not remove or untie the “nots” that God has placed in His Word to us.
- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.JacksonStAlex.com