Is Faith Without Works Dead?

Is faith without works dead? Are we justified by faith alone or by a mixture of faith and works? And if there is a mixture, what's the right mixture? When do I know when I've arrived or when I'm outputting enough? In James 2:24, James said, "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." But in Romans 3:28 Paul said, "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. This much is certain: one of these is not like the other. If we let the text say what it's saying without trying to make them agree, James and Paul are saying two completely different things. James: We're justified by faith + works. Paul: We're justified by faith apart from works. 

If you're like me (and I wouldn't wish that on anyone) you may have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile these two divergent statements of James and Paul and come up with clever ways to convince yourself and others that they're saying the same thing but in different ways. I did that all the time. I would reword what James said and put a spin on it to make James sound more like Paul. But an honest look at the whole of what James and Paul believed concerning justification reveals that one of these is not like the other. If we let the text say what it says without manipulating it we're forced to consider the possibility that James and Paul believed something different regarding how a person is justified. That scares some of us. It might scare you. It scared me for years and years which is why I would put words in James' mouth in a noble attempt to make him say something he didn't say. After all, we can't have two New Testament writers disagreeing. Or can we?

Paul, James, and their views on justification is the topic of discussion in the latest episode of The UnSunday Show podcast as I'm joined by Mike Kapler and Joel Brueseke from The Growing in Grace podcast. Listen in as we take a candid look at the New Testament passages surrounding this controversy.

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