Week 11 in Review

Hello Bible readers! We are nearing the end of our Bible Reading Challenge together, just a bit less then 2 weeks are left. I hope you have all grown in your love of God’s word during this time! This past week we got the opportunity to read through the book of James together, I love James, it is full of clear conviction and truth. It’s a wonderful book for us to revisit regularly.

This week I want to touch on the subject of Faith and Works.

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. - James 2:26

This subject has been a touchy matter within the church for a long long time. There has been much debate, disagreement and confusion over this matter and I’d like to help bring a bit of clarity to it from what I’ve learned through scripture and faithful teachers of the word.

First and foremost, we need to be familiar with and stand on the foundation of how we are saved. The 5 Solas are a wonderful reminder to us of that truth.

Sola Gratia = Grace Alone

Sola Fide = Faith Alone

Solus Christus = Christ Alone

Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone

Soli Deo Gloria = Glory of God Alone

We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.

Great! So we’re saved through faith, no mention of works in there, so why does James speak so strongly about the need for it? Does this in fact mean that we actually do need works to be saved?

Absolutely not! So how does works fit in? I watched a movie recently called American Gospel (highly recommend it!), and they did a great job of explaining this, so I’ll try and copy that here.

A common mistake that people have made when thinking about salvation is that it works like this:

Faith + good works = Salvation

This is the belief of the Roman Catholic church, and unfortunately far too many protestant churches get this confused as well. Normally they don’t openly say that we’re saved by works, but they may suggest that if you’d just do more good works God might answer your prayers in the way you want.

So what does the true formula look like? It looks like this:

Faith = Salvation & Good works

Living and active faith results in our salvation AND doing good works! Good works are the evidence/fruit of our faith!

So what if we reflect on ourselves and see no good works? James says that faith without works is dead, so if we’re not bearing the fruit of good works our faith is dead! And what good can dead faith bring to anyone or anything? Nothing, its useless, that’s scary!

But that is why this is in scripture and why we need to read it! Reading this should lead us to consider ourselves compared to it, and when we fall short to bring us conviction about it, and that conviction to send us to the Father to repent and ask that He would produce in us true faith that results in good works!

So church, let’s seek the Lord that we would be faith filled Christians who are doing good works to bring glory to God.

Have a great week!

Greg FriesenComment