Friday, April 20, 2018

Scripture explains “faith vs. works”

Someone recently posed a question about “faith and works” which caused me to do some research. Here is just one passage, with some great footnote explanations!

James 2: 14. What is the use, my Brothers, if a man say, I have faith; and he has no works? Can his faith resurrect him? 15. Or if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. and one of you say to them, “Go in peace, warm yourselves, and be full;” and you do not give them the necessities of the body, what is the use? 17. So also faith alone, without works, is dead.

18. For a man may say, you have faith and I have works; show to me your faith that is without works and I will show to you my faith by my works. 19. You believe that there is one Elohim; you do well; the demons also believe and tremble. 20. Would you know, O weak man, that faith without works is dead?

21. Awraham our father, was not he justified by works[1] in offering his son Yitz’chak upon the altar? 22. Do you realize that his faith aided his works, and that by the works his faith was rendered complete? 23. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says: Awraham believed in Elohim, and it was credited to him for righteousness and he was called the Friend of Elohim.

24. You see that by works a man is justified[2] and not by faith alone. 25. So also Rahab the harlot, was she not justified by works when she entertained the spies and sent them forth by another way? 26. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (AENT)

[1] Some theologians allege this teaching to be opposite of the Pauline Epistles, such as Galatians. The reality is that Paul was grossly misquoted whereas Ya’akov was not. Rav Shaul did not accept empty ritual devoid of proper spiritual focus.

He was Torah Observant; he kept the Moedim (feast days), the Shabbat, and took one or more Nazirite vows; he fasted on Yom Kippur, ate “clean” food and lived a Set Apart life in Mashiyach Y’shua. The fact is that Romans 7:12 totally harmonizes Galatians with, and complements, Galatians and Ya’akov.

[2] The Hebrew word for a righteous soul = tsadiq; righteousness = tsedeq; justified = tsadaq; notice they are the same word. A soul without righteousness can never be “justified” regardless of what theologians claim. The original root word for justified relates to righteous action. However, mainstream Christianity teaches that a person is “justified” solely on the merits of belief in Y’shua, and that observing Torah is impossible.

Even in Ya’akov’s day, some individuals wanted cerebral belief to “justify” themselves, which is impossible. Y’shua’s person (example) and Spirit is meant to literally be imparted into us; this must be evidenced by our actions, otherwise we do not belong to him. Theological, or cerebral “belief” without works, is dead religion; but active literal Faith comes to life in Mashiyach. Torah Observance/obedience is clear evidence that we have passed from death to life. See John 5:29, Matthew 7:23.

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