I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I want to share two passages, that many claim contradict each other.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28 NKJV
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:24 NKJV
When I run into apparentcontradictions in the Bible, I eventually realize I was reading something into one of the passages that wasn’t there, or was missing something that was there. Verse 22 of James 2 offers something that may have been missed.
Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? James 2:22 NKJV
Did you catch it? It is not man that is working in James 2:22. Faith is working! This idea goes along with Galatians 5:6 which tells us faith works by love. Again it is faith that is working.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul tells us that it is not him working but Christ who is working in him. While He lives by faith Christ lives and works in him.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NKJV
James tells us,
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? James 2:21 NKJV
James says Abraham was justified by works, but he does not say it was Abraham who was working. James 2:22 says it was faith that was working.
The faith the justified Abraham was not faith in his own works, but a faith that God would perform His own works through him.
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He [God] had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:20-21 NKJV
So when Abraham had Isaac it was God working through him and performing His own work through faith. It was God who worked through Abraham taking Isaac to the altar. Abraham’s works did not take Isaac to the altar, it was God’s faith working through Abraham that took Isaac to the altar. Remember Galatians 2:20 “Not I, but Christ.”
James and Paul do not contradict each other. They both realize it is faith doing all the work. Neither James or Paul preached faith and works. They both preached a faith that works by love.
For the love of Christ compels us…2 Corinthians 5:14 NKJV
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson at ssnet.org.