Abraham Justified by Works?

We all know that we are “Grace” people. People that believe in the understanding of “Grace” and see the model of Grace being drawn out by Jesus in our hearts as perfectly as Jesus is drawing it out for us.

There is a place in the bible that confuses some people when they are walking in the Pure, undiluted Grace of God and not trying to input works into their salvation journey with Jesus. And that is the place in the bible where it says

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? _James 2:21 KJV

now compare this with what Paul is saying here

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. _Romans 4:2 KJV

So, what the heck is going on here. Are Paul and James contradicting themselves? How are we to understand these places? Well, this is where “contextual scope” must be seen clearly. If we only looked at the letter, rather than the spirit/ heart of accurate scopes being espoused here, we would be failing in basic common communication. As I said earlier in my former blog, there are two doctrine kinds of faith

  1. Heaven Bound Faith
  2. Earth Bound Faith

Some people call heaven bound faith “saving faith”. But I believe that my distinction makes more sense because if you call what I term as “earth bound faith” the way other theologians call it “non-saving faith” … then you poetically and linguistically miss a much more deeper understanding of faith and only keep faith in the “saving” category so that you see other kinds of faith as “non-saving”. While this is true, its just a matter of artistic preference that I go this route of calling it “Earth Bound Faith”. Think about it.

The context of Faith that James is talking about is an “Earth Bound Faith” and the context of faith that Paul is talking about is a “Heaven Bound Faith”. When James is sounding like he is contradicting Paul and he is saying

14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? _James 2:14 KJV

Now reading this at the first verse makes your mind go “what!?” … but you have to read further to understand the context by which James is saying this

15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? _James 2:15-16 KJV

So now, we now start to see this “Earth Bound Faith” begin to contextually show itself. Its says, that faith without works does not profit us in the context of profiting brothers and sisters who have “earth bound issues” and want to see it solved. To believe without doing “earth bound actions” that can lead you to the solution of such issues, well, that (earth bound) belief is dead.

Now, it goes on to show us something in that same context when it speaks of Abraham as though it was trying to confuse us. Because we see Abraham in this context interacting with God. This might look like “Heaven Bound Faith” just in the mere picture but we have to look in deeper to see what is actually being said there in this context. But let us not forget that the analogy of Rahab was likewise equated in this same context to the obedience of Abraham. Now, Abraham heard from God, while the bible is silent if Rahab heard directly from God on how to treat the spies that came over and the fact that she even lied to help them escape. Does God incorporate telling of lies into His faith-scheme? I do not believe so. So, this is talking about something else.

What some Christians do not do is that they forget too quickly the verse above it that covers this analogies given and hence, the confusion comes as to if our “Heaven bound Faith” must have works or not. This is what that bible passage says:

18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. _James 2:18 KJV

Do you see the word “shew me”. This is a earth-bound profit that this bible context is talking about. If you have faith and you want to “show me” a normal human being, then you have to show me by your works. But that bible passage did not say “show God” your faith by your works. God does not need your external works – that is secondary to Him and far less important than your heart-work, your internal-work. Just believe, genuinely, in God’s sight, and it shall be credited to you as righteousness.

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. _1 Samuel 16:7 KJV

Today you have sinned, yesterday you have sinned, tomorrow you will sin. Oh wretched man you are, who will deliver you from your “outward demonstrations” of filthy rags. But let your heart be pure and sincere towards God and that will overflow into the outside.

It is out of the fullness of the heart that the mouth speaks. So people confuse heart-fulness and heart. God concentrates on your heart and it is out of the heart-fulness of your heart that your actions correspond. If you find your earth-bound profit not showing in actions yet, please, do not doubt your heaven-bound profit. If you are still struggling with pornography and lust, keep on looking on to Jesus and not to yourself. Because it is out of the fullness of your heart that your actions will correspond.

Don’t confuse “faithfulness” with “faith”. God does not need your faithfulness or your faithful action. He only demands of your faith. Do not be like Eve in the bible and start adding sugar, spice and everything nice to the word of God. Take God exactly at His word. Faith is all He needs from your and the rest will take care of itself.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. _2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV

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