Justified by Works….
We take a second look at “faith without works” by looking at what it means to be justified by works:
Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works… Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works… See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone… For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. -James 2:18,20-22,24,26, NAB
Anyone can say that they have faith. We hear it all the time. We all know people that claim to be Christian, or say that they believe in God, but there is absolutely no evidence of it whatsoever. Their actions do not back up their claims.
As St. James continues to speak about faith and works, he uses the term justified. He tells us that we are justified by works. What does it mean to be justified? TheFreeDictionary.com tells us that it means to demonstrate or prove something is valid.
With this definition in mind, we get a better idea of St. James’s meaning. To be justified by works means that we are demonstrating or proving that our faith is real. It is evidence that faith is a central part of our lives.
Let’s look at the example of Abraham. God had made a promise to Abraham, but it required faith on Abraham’s part. Abraham faltered, at first, but he eventually proved his faith by offering his son, Isaac. Would we know that Abraham’s faith was real if he was not willing to follow God’s will?
We are saved by faith alone. Nowhere have we discussed works as a way of earning our salvation. What we see, then, is that our works are the evidence necessary to show that we have faith. They prove to God, and the world around us, that our faith is real.
Our faith is justified by works, which serve as evidence that our faith is real. We are saved by faith alone, but like Abraham who offered up his son, Isaac, to God, our works prove that we will follow God’s will – regardless of the cost. Do your works justify your faith?