The Bible teaches that believing in God alone is not enough “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). James adds, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Satan believes God exists yet, he will not be saved (Revelation chapter 20: 10). No one doubts that demons believe in the existence of God (Mark 3:11; 5:7) but their belief is only intellectually correct, but they remain evil nevertheless. True faith transforms the life of the believers. Living faith produces good works by God’s grace.
James speaks of the importance of works in salvation, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:21-24). Abraham’s works by faith were made manifest, that is, they gave evidence to his faith. In other words, his works proved he was justified!
Paul speaks of the importance of faith in salvation, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). We receive justification through faith. The same is true with all the other faith heroes honored in Hebrews 11. By faith they all obeyed God and did His will.
It may appear on the surface that the two definitions of faith by James and Paul contradict each other. But if we consider the two different perspectives, this contradiction can be simply cleared up. According to Paul, from God’s perspective, the faith that saves is a faith apart from works. But according to James and from man’s perspective, the right kind of faith results in good works which people can see. True faith will prove its profession by good works. Thus, we can see that Paul and James are in full agreement.
In His service,
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