Forgive me, Father, I have sinned; it has been four months since my last blog post.
Just kidding! . . . About the asking for forgiveness part. Not kidding that it’s been four months since I’ve written anything here. My personal life has been overwhelming and consuming and causing much anxiety — a ‘down-cast heart.’ I have simply not had the energy to blog.
But God is active and living and He is ever-present, dwelling in my innermost being, as I live through the storms of life. Though the world may slay me, yet will I praise Him.
So, getting to the point, must faith be accompanied by works? . . . Of course not! We are saved by grace through faith, and we are sustained each and every day by His grace through our faith; through our trust in Him; our resting in the work He has already accomplished.
But what about the book of James?
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (James 2:20, NASB)
Gee, thanks for the encouragement, brother James.
No, sorry. He is wrong. Faith is IT. Sola fide. We are justified by faith alone.
The five chapters of the book of James are filled with things we must do. There is not one mention of the death or resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. No mention of the divinity of Jesus. No mention of our forgiveness or justification by faith. James believes we are justified by works.
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, NASB)
Did you know that the book of James was ABSENT from the first list of New Testament books known as the Muratorian Fragment. James’ epistle was not confirmed as a book of the Bible, included in the canon of the New Testament, until the fourth century A.D.! James was added to the Bible in AD 367, after the creation of Roman Catholicism!
Yet there is an excellent argument to be made concerning the fact that including the book of James in the Bible is important because is illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Check out Pastor Aaron Budjen’s audio messages on that topic.)
I’m thankful that I have been set free from a life of works. I am thankful to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus; a life where I am free to walk in the Spirit, and live each day according to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and not according to the Law of Sin and death.