Really, James? MUST faith be accompanied by works?

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)

No, sorry. He got that part wrong. Faith is it. Sola fide. We are justified by faith alone.

(Am I the only one who just gets pissed off when they read the book of James?)

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 it illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Click here for a Bible Study by Living God Ministries on that topic.)

Sure James makes some good points, such as “if you stumble at one part of the Law of Moses, you are guilty of the entire thing.”  But, mainly, when I read the book of James, I think, “Man, he’s a raging legalist!”

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.

. . . I’m also thankful that I had the self control to NOT title this blog, “You know, James really pisses me off!!!” (And that, instead, all you got was an angry cat photo.)

November 6, 2019  9:58 AM

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Growing up Roman Catholic (video)

Forgive me for making light of a serious subject, but in this YouTube video (link below) I attempt to make you laugh while letting you know about the ridiculous religious rituals of the Roman Catholic Church, and finally, how I found new life in Jesus Christ through the gospel.  (video is 10 minutes long.)

 

 

May 21, 2018

 

 

 

 

Do Roman Catholics know the truth?      

Maybe.  It depends on the person.

In my case, the answer would have been no.  I did not come to know the truth of the gospel, the truth of Jesus Christ, until I left the Catholic church.

I think I could have been saved during my 20 years as a Catholic; not because of what was taught, but because of what was SUNG.  This story illustrates what I mean . . .

After I became a believer, I moved to Southern California to attend Bible College.  One of the students was an adorable blonde surfer-type-girl who had a Volkswagen van with flowers and Bible verses painted all over.  What stood out the most to me were the words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Those words are from John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.'”

Those words — I am the resurrection and the life — were the most prominent; they took up an entire side of her van and were painted in huge colorful letters.

I wondered why she made that choice.  Why did she choose those words?  What did they mean, anyway?

I had no idea.

Of course, I knew that Jesus had resurrected from the dead, but still . . . that sentence that Jesus spoke – I am the resurrection and the life – I didn’t really understand it.

At this time in my life, I had been saved two years.  And although I never once read the Bible growing up (like most Roman Catholic families, our Bible was not for reading, it was displayed on a special table on a special stand in the formal living room), the funny thing was, I knew the words well.

Though Catholics hold the Bible at arm’s length, the songs they sing at Mass are often direct quotes of Bible verses.  Growing up, I often sang these words, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will never die.  I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live a new life.”

Singing that song every Sunday offered me the opportunity to know the truth.  If I had cared, I could have searched and discovered the truth.

That song preaches the gospel! 

So that is why my answer is maybe.  A Roman Catholic MAY know the truth if they are a person who cares to know the truth.  God can reveal the truth to anyone.

And, by the way, I understand the importance of that Bible verse now (John 11:25).  I understand why that girl painted those words on her VW van.  The resurrection is everything to a Christian.  Without the resurrection we are still in our sins.  If Jesus Christ had only died on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins, well, we would be forgiven dead people.  It is the resurrection that gives us life, that saves us.

He had to take care of the sin problem first, but once that was accomplished, He could then rise from the dead, ascend to heaven, and make the restoration of LIFE available to all who will believe and receive Him.  The Holy Spirit of God is now available to anyone who will receive the message of truth . . . even to Roman Catholics.  🙂

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10)

 

March 18, 2017