To get us started with this month’s topic the following verses from the New Testament books of James and Ephesians seem to contradict themselves. In James it is stated that works are a necessary step in the faith that gives salvation and therefore eternal life. Paul in his letter to the church in Ephesus states that saving grace is only through faith and not works.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. AV
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. AV
So which is it? Faith only or faith and works for salvation and eternal life? Is this a Biblical inconsistency that unbelievers try and show that the Bible has errors? Remember back to our first minute that the authority of Scripture is correct because all of scripture is God breathed thru the human authors by the Holy Spirit. (Please refer to the archives section on this websites home page for November 2017) So that fact shows us that any verses we read are true and not in error and not inconsistent. So how do we reconcile Paul and James?
When studying scripture, you must read the verses above and below the verse you are studying. You need to read the chapters above and below the verse you are studying. You need to read the whole book that the verse is in that you are studying. Scripture explains scripture so an answer to your study may be elsewhere in Scripture.
James describes in chapter 2 verses 14-23 what faith is without works and works that are the RESULT of faith! Paul tells us that you can’t do anything to merit God’s free gift of eternal life, period. James tells us that if you truly have that faith that Paul describes it follows that you will do works that help others for God’s glory.
Many unbelievers and even demons believe in an intellectual knowing of God. The born again believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling in them and will want with a zeal to do the works that help others and glorify God!
So no matter what your talents are you can help out at your local church and in your local community. There are many different ways to serve like teach Sunday School, help at a food drive, help at a soup kitchen, be a greeter. I can go on and on with works that you can do regardless of personal situation. Demonstrate your faith to one and all by the works that you do.
May God bless you,