Just as we read of a faith that is to the "saving of the soul" or a living faith, we also read of a dead faith. There is, in the religious world, the concept of salvation or justification by "faith only." The idea is that when one reaches the point of faith whereby he confesses that "Jesus Christ is the resurrected son of God," he is justified in God's sight or saved. Sometimes the doctrine concludes that "once your are saved you can never be lost.
But the Bible tells a different story. We read of "... among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42 ).These men "believed on him" but didn't have enough faith to confess him. Were they justified? I think not.
He tells of many who believe and numbers among them the devils, the demons. "And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God." (Luke 4:41). They were terrified but not justified.
James is explicit in his teaching. He says definitely that "... faith without works is dead ..." (James 2:26). Seemingly some then had the notion that some have today: that one is saved by faith only, so he makes it so simple that anyone can understand. "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith [only] save him?" (James 1:14).
Then James gives an illustration if they failed to understand him. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faithwithout thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:17-18). James was not teaching salvation by works only but a faith demonstrated by works.
Then the conclusion: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only"(James 2:24).
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