Sunday Sermon: Justified by Works? (James 2:14-26)

Redeemer Presbyterian Church - Traverse City, MI

Oct 29 2023 • 42 mins

This Lord’s Day we will be considering James 2:14-26. This is the famous passage in James that is often pitted against the teaching of Paul in Romans 4. Paul says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. As to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:3-5).” James says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works; and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that said, ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness - and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction? God willing, this Lord’s Day we will see that there is no contradiction in these two teachings. Rather, they agree and cohere together. Just as Paul was not teaching “easy-believeism,”, so James was not teaching legalism. Both men were teaching the gospel of Christ.

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