Wednesday Recap: Paul vs James

Last night we studied James 2:14-26 and talked about what on the surface looks like a conflict between Paul (in Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians) and James.

Paul says we are justified by faith, not works (Romans 4:1-5).

James says “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

They both use Abraham for example and cite Genesis 15:6 in proving their point!

Someone said, “Paul and James do not stand face to face, fighting against each other, but they stand back to back, fighting opposite foes.” I like that. They are both defending the gospel, but addressing different issues and misunderstandings.

I believe Paul is talking about LEGALISM (as defined in Galatians 5:4) – attempting to be saved by law keeping which is practically impossible because it would require total conformity to law (Galatians 3:10, 5:3) and which would entitle one to boast (Ephesians 2:9, Romans 4:1-5) because they have done it themselves.

James is talking about….well, as the paragraph begins, “What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:24).  The answer is of course is no.

But Paul helps us understand that its not the works that save….so we can never boast and this is also where our security comes in – our salvation isn’t dependent on having perfect works.

Anyone else like to share their thoughts on Paul vs James?

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