I am sorry I have not been blogging. I have just had the most wonderful time telling people how wonderful Jesus is to the grace believers in Philippines. I marvel at how Jesus can use a simple blogspot like this to allow me to preach to more than 4000 people. Thank you Jesus for favour.
I want to address a myth in Scripture today. We have often told that faith is not enough to save you. Most Christians believe that we need to obey the Law of Moses too. They argue that even Satan believes in God and thus faith is not enough.
I was reading this short note in challenge to some of the things I am writing about: “The false grace theology teaches that our eternity and our relationship with Christ is already settled so we can sit back, relax and enjoy God. According to it’s teachings, whether or not we are obedient to God doesn’t matter as it won’t affect our eternal destiny. In other words, those who have been taught the false-grace doctrine believe that they play no part in salvation other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God. Even Satan believes that! This “easy faith” is perfect for those who don’t want to invest their lives in serving God, or who don’t want to feel guilty when they mess up. Anything else would scream of works and the leaders of this movement have convinced their followers that if it feels like human effort then it is wrong.”
Such is the sentiments of those who quote James and say that even the demons believe in God and tremble.
I want to share with you Billy Graham’s answer before I share my views on this.
“ I can assure you that the devil is not going to heaven, nor are his followers. Jesus said that at the final judgment God will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
It is true that the devil “believes” in God—that is, he believes God exists. But this is a far cry from the kind of faith we are called to have. To truly believe in God means to trust Him—in other words, we not only believe He exists, but we actually commit our lives to Him and trust Him to save us through Jesus Christ.
Yes, the devil believes God exists—in fact, he has no doubts about it. But he doesn’t trust God to save him; instead, he has set himself up in opposition to God and wants nothing to do with him. He also knows that some day the final battle will be fought and that God alone will be victorious. That is why the Bible says, “Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). Satan will not win!
The Bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Don’t be content with a shallow belief, but by faith commit your life to Christ and trust Him alone for your salvation.”
I have a different way of looking at it.
After reading James again I realized the primary concern of James was that the Hebrews keep their faith in Christ and that faith preserve over their former faith in the law of Moses.
Check this out. Primarily it was written to Jews and not Gentiles. Where we have gone wrong in reading this is that we have read this with the Gentile mindset. Listen to this:
“ James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”
Also look at this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”
So the main aim here to encourage the Jews to keep faith in Jesus. James says here a person must not be double minded. What exactly is double-mindedness?
I believe this admonishment has to do with Law and Grace. Here is how the Lord revealed it to me.
He actually says there are two kinds of law. One is the law of liberty. The perfect law. The word perfect here means “finished”. The completed law. James 1:25. In Chapter 2 he speaks about the “royal law” which is the Law of Moses i.e. “Love your neigbour as yourselves”. He ask u to obey the law of liberty not the law of Moses.
The perfect law or the law of freedom
Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect [finished] law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Notice if you read in context the words “Be a doer of the Word” actually means “obeying the perfect law”.
Now check this out.
The royal law
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Two different Laws.
The Perfect Law and the Royal Law. What then is the Perfect Law?
Check this out in the Amplified Bible. James 1:25
Amplified Bible (AMP)
25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
I have always wondered why James uses the word “faultless law” when he wrote this. He encourages one to be faithful and perseveres in looking into it.
22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].
Isn’t it interesting that the original meaning for “doers of the Word” in James 1:22 is obeying the message and not working towards something. It speaks of the word “poet”, a person who just flows with the Word.
But why the “faultless law”? We already know the Law of Moses is faultless but why a double emphasis? James tells us that when we look into the faultless law we find liberty. Yet Paul tells us the Law of Moses makes us slaves.
I asked God to show me why the contradiction. This is what He showed me. The word for “faultless” there means “utterly completed” or “of full age” or “perfected”. In other words, “finished”. James is referring to the “completed law”, the Law which is fully fulfilled. He was referring to the finished work of Jesus, the Law of Christ not the Law of Moses.
Dear friends, I believe James was referring to the Law that has been fully fulfilled in us when Jesus died for us.
Paul tells us that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4).
In the Amplified Romans 10:4 is translated this way: For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him.
James is therefore not making reference to “keeping the Law of Moses” but rather “trusting in the completion of the Law” His Messiah.
Listen to the shift of emphasis here in James 1 right after he asks you to obey the Perfect Law of Christ.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
This my dear friends here is about the Law of Moses.
He actually says when you obey part of the law of Moses, you are bound to obey the whole part of it.
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”
Does James ask you to obey this Law? No rather he is saying you are unable to obey this Law. This is because you break one you break all!
What then is the Law he asks you to obey? Let me tell you it is the Law of Liberty. The Perfect Law.
See James 2: “12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
I guess you would agree with me that “the law that gives freedom” is the same as “the Law of liberty”?
Please follow me closely here. This is where it really matters. When James says faith without works is dead, he is actually referring to the original faith of the Hebrews, the Jews. The Law of Moses. That faith is not faith in Christ but FAITH IN THE LAW OF MOSES!
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
“25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
That is the reason why he quotes Abraham and Rahab. Abraham existed before the Law. Rahab was a Gentile who was never under the Law. Both were creatures of the Law of liberty and not Law of Moses. Hence their kind of faith produce works. If your faith is based on the Law of Moses you produce no works, at least not the works that God desires.
Paul says it this way:
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10
New International Version (NIV)
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
So you can see here Paul and James are speaking about the same thing. Faith in the Law of Moses is nothing. You must believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you have done that you have obeyed the Gospel. You have obeyed the Law of Liberty.
Jesus obeyed that law for you. He kept the law for you. What he is saying is this “the law of liberty” is the finished work for you. That is why he says faith without works is dead. It is not your work under the law. It is Jesus’s work. The work that comes by faith not faith the obedience of the Law of Moses.
Now look at this passage.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith (the Law of Moses); I have deeds (the Law of Liberty).”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Hence when James say even the demons believed in one God, he is NOT saying the demons believe in God, but the demons believe in the 1st commandment, here O Isreal the Lord your God is one. That quotation “Believed in One God” in its Jewish context means the demons knows the Law.
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
The demons do not believe in the law of liberty, the completed law. John says in 1 John 3:23, that law is the belief in Jesus.
The demons do not believe in that law. You see, John says when you believe in Jesus, he lives in God and God lives in him.
1 John 3:23-24
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us: by the Spirit which He hath given us.
Therefore his faith will produce works. This is because now he is God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. It is God who will produce the deeds. Hebrews tells us the Law only produces dead works.
New International Version (NIV)
6 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God.
However, we are now the workmanship of God in Christ.
New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God’s handiwork means it is God who produces the works in you. Not you. So faith without works means “Faith in Moses, without the works produced by God!”
Remember James was writing to Jews. Their original trust was in the Law of Moses. That was their faith. The faith that was without works.
Hope that blesses you.
May that answers your questions about what “faith without works” mean.