Response to Craig Truglia said:April 13, 2015 at 12:52 am
But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

You ought to read the whole chapter. Its talking about suffering for and with Christ in order to be saved.

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

That is the Doctrine of the redemptive nature of suffering. It is a Catholic Doctrine. It is in Scripture. And Protestants reject it.

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

“I saw no sense is duplicating his work.”
I don’t think you have an exegesis to actually put forward,

You don’t know me very well, do you?

I don’t see where any of the points made in the article have been answered. 

I think the Restless Pilgrim was doing an excellent job of addressing all your points. Which one do you think he missed?

If you can show me I would be grateful, but I am honestly not seeing it.
“That is exactly the opposite of that which James 2:24 says…”
Again, that is why it is so important that if someone wishes to reply to the article, instead of just my replies to the article, that there be some attempt to rebut the specific exegesis of the article. 

Your word is my command.

You said:

Catholic apologists (as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, and other works-salvation groups) will use James 2 as evidence that we are saved by works, and not by faith alone.

The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox agree on this teaching. Salvation is by faith and works.

Now, being saved and not by faith alone should not be scandalous. After all, that is what James 2:24 says word-for-word.

Good. Then you agree with works salvation.

However, how do we square this with Rom 4:4, 5 which states, “Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness?”

Easily. Remember that St. Paul was not talking to Luther or Calvin. He was talking to former Jews and former gentiles at a time in Christian history when there were as yet, no cradle Christians.

Let’s break this down:

“Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.

This is a reference to the Old Testament Jew. Remember that God made a pact with them through Moses:

Exodus 19:4-6King James Version (KJV)

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

And they said to Moses:
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.

Therefore, the Jews expected their salvation as their wage.
But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness?

This is a reference to the Christian who is justified in Baptism. We, Catholics, are children of Abraham. We believe God and His promises. We request Baptism. God sees our faith and reckons us righteous. He then gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Are we justified by works, 

Yes.

yet made righteous by faith without works as Rom 4:5 says, at the same time? No. This would be a contradiction.

Its a contradiction to you. But not in Catholic Teaching.

We are justified by faith apart from works in Baptism.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We are justified by faith and works at the Bema Seat of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Now, there is a lot of Scripture that mitigates any understanding that man can contribute anything whatsoever to his own justification. Chief among them is John 14:6: “”I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus did not say “mostly Me and a little bit of you.” Christ’s work, and His work alone, on the cross, makes a man righteous, not his own attempts at righteousness.

As long as we’re arguing what Jesus didn’t say, Jesus also didn’t say: “I will carry them to the Father without any effort on their part.”

But John 14 also says:
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Notice the emphasis on works.

So, how do we deal with James 2? We will exegete the text while responding to a Catholic defense of Faith+Works salvation from the Shameless Popery blog.

The rest of James 2 has some pretty clear justification before God statements that don’t make sense if he just means justifying yourself to men.

Agreed.

And, as we shall see, a correct understanding of James 2 does not compel us to believe that works add to Christ’s work on the cross.

Interesting. We don’t believe that our works add to Christ’s work on the Cross. We believe that Jesus Christ came to give us an example to follow in order that we would walk in His steps. Therefore, our works are in obedience to Christ’s will:

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Jesus called us to good works and to imitate Him:

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Before responding point by point, the following is a synopsis of the “tough parts” of James 2:

Christian orthodoxy teaches that we are justified by faith alone,

False. Catholicism teaches Christian orthodoxy. Faith alone is a heresy which is taught by Protestants.

but we are judged by works. Judgement by works is explicit in the Scripture:

Correct. Justification is the forensic result of Judgment. There are two forensic results possible at the Judgment, justification and condemnation.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds (Rev 20:12-13).

Indeed, we are judged by works. Let’s read James 2. In verse 22, were his works ever divorced from his faith?

James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

No, and that is exactly James’ point. Abraham believed God. And then he lived according to his beliefs.

That is Catholic Teaching.

The belief occurred first. It is common sense. People don’t act a certain way, and then as a result believe because of their actions. Instead, people have a belief, and their actions are informed by their beliefs. Beliefs precede actions.

Very good. You are teaching in conformity with Catholic Doctrine.

Here’s a simple example: Let’s say we really like chocolate. So, when we see it we reach for it and then eat it. The desire for the chocolate preceded the eating of it.

Not so. The desire for chocolate does not precede one’s experience of its good taste. Unless we first taste, we won’t know that we like it.

But that is the same with faith in God. Until we perceive that God is good we will not have faith in Him. And until we have faith in Him, we won’t obey His commands.

Likewise, the faith of Abraham in God preceded doing the good works out of faith (by as much as 20 years in the case of Isaac). 

Uh-uh. You are contradicting Scripture. Abraham exhibited works of faith in God from the very first time that God spoke to him:

Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

James makes this point to show that we are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.

On the contrary, as you confirmed earlier, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”

Without works, Abraham’s faith would not have been a saving faith.

That is why he says in verse 18, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

And also why he says:
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

The fact that James speaks of works as something that shows faith instead of something that is needed in addition to faith speaks volumes. James is never saying we need something in addition to faith. He is saying that his faith is something you can actually see (i.e. it is not imaginary.)

He says that you can see his faith in his works. And he denies that you can claim to have faith by your words at the very same time. Something that Protestants boast about everytime they claim they are saved by their faith alone.

Does this interpretation hold up?

Your interpretation has a lot of holes in it.

We have James 2:21-23 where Abrhamam’s believing in Gen 15 is conflated with his near-sacrifice of Isaac, two events 20 years apart. Clearly, James’ point is NOT that Abraham was made righteous by faith 20 years previously and then lost it and regained/maintained it by doing the good work of listening to God’s request for sacrifice.

Protestantism conflates the two. The reason being that Protestantism equates faith and justification. Another reason being that Protestants believe in a one time justification.

However, if having faith alone justifies anyone, then Abraham would be justified in Gen 12. Listen to St. Paul:

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

When did that happen?

That happened in Gen 12.

Genesis 12 King James Version (KJV)

1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Furthermore, Protestants are confused by Moses’ narrative comment. Yes, Moses. It is Moses who wrote Gen 15:6 and James reveals that it was a narrative comment pertaining which was fulfilled in Gen 22.

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Don’t get it? In other words, when Moses said, “and Abraham believed God and it was imputed him as righteousness”, he meant that Abraham would live by faith, obeying God until God would justify him in Gen 22.

Finally, all of this agrees with Catholic Doctrine that justification is a process and not a one time event. Abraham’s justification, as you noted, took over 20 years.

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

James is merely reiterating what he said in verse 18: I’ll show you my faith by what I do. Isn’t it clear to all, even 20 years later, that when Abraham believed God that He really meant it? Of course! He was willing to offer up Isaac specifically because “when put to the test [Abraham] offered up Isaac” after he had “considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead” (Heb 11:17, 19). Did you catch that? Abraham did the good work, because he believed God’s promise that his descendants would be through Isaac (Heb 11:18), and he believed this so much that he figured even if he were to kill Isaac, God would have certainly raised Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His promise! Have you even seen such faith? I know I have not!

Nor have I. And this proves faith PLUS works. Because unless he had faith, he would not have done the works which God required.

Now let’s look at verse 25: “..was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?”

What do we know about Rahab? When she received the spies, she told them that she heard of the mighty works of Jehovah, how he humbled Egypt and the kings east of the Jordan, and she knew that no one can deliver her or her family from Israel’s hand because God was with Israel (Josh 2:8-11). She then asks that the Israelite spies “swear to me by Jehovah” that they will spare her family when they come to take the city of Jericho (Josh 2:12).

Clearly, her beliefs were behind her actions. She didn’t merely say she believed something, and did nothing about it like so many false Christians. She feared the Lord and lived in accordance with that Godly fear. See Heb 11:31: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.” Notice that? She received the messengers “by faith.” Her works, therefore, are synonymous with her faith and not some additional criteria she had to bring to bear for her own salvation with God.

That proves faith and works. Ask yourself, what if she had not done any works but simply said, “I believe in your God, but your on your own.” What then?

With this in mind, let’s respond to Shameless Popery’s rebuttal to one reformed thinker’s take on James 2.

[A] claimed faith, without works, doesn’t exist. That is, that it’s not faith. James clearly disagrees, calling it “that faith.” This is reinforced by James 2:20 and 2:26.

You need to put quotation marks on the things you ascribe to Shameless Popery. Are you saying that the statement labeled [A] above, is from Shameless Popery?

If that is true, then you missed what else James calls it. He calls it a “dead faith”.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

So what’s the point. A faith without works can’t save and is therefore dead. Why call it faith at all?

It has been ascribed to Luther the quote, “‘We are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” So, whether or not he really said it is besides the point. The idea is repeated by Reformed Theologians such as R.C Sproul, and it is a pretty good explanation as to what James is really talking about in James 2:24.

On the contrary, it is gibberish.

To say that you are saved by faith alone but the faith by which you are saved is not alone is a self contradiction. Both statements can’t be true at the same time.

I do not believe James’ calling it “that faith” means he is equating it with saving faith,

Nor does any Catholic. So, with whom are you debating?

a faith that actually exists in the mind of someone and affects every facet of that person’s life. Obviously, Abraham and Rahab were two good examples of this.

Obviously. But that proves faith and works.

While the Reformed claim that a saving faith results in works, the Catholic (and Biblical) view is more nuanced: we view faith and works as interconnected…[This is] why James says that Abraham’s “faith was active along with his works” – because the works he was doing were works of love done out of faith.

Correct.

So far, such a differentiation would literally be nominal. So, the problem is not terminology (nor’s James’ terminology) but our application of what he taught. How does Shameless Popery interpret what it means to do works of love out of faith?

So rather than a simple causality, like in science, this is more relational: we must believe in God to obey Him, but obeying Him proves to us that He’s trustworthy, and we begin to trust Him more; this, in turn emboldens us to obey Him about things which might have seemed unrealistic before.

Is it just me, or does this read like nonsense? 

Its just you.

How does obeying God prove that God is trustworthy?

Because God rewards obedience.

Doesn’t it prove that our faith is trustworthy?

God judges our faith by our works.

What does God’s trustworthiness have to do with our works? 

If you don’t trust God, you won’t obey Him.

This is simply not a sensible application, it does not make sense.

To you.

The notion that James is becoming image-obsessed, and wants to make sure everybody looks good publicly by playing good Christians just isn’t supported either by the text or basic New Testament doctrine. Thus, it is quite evident how James 2:24 is understood by Protestants.

Does Shameless Popery really believe this? Has my pretty run-of-the-mill defense of Sola Fide resorted to such argumentation? Perhaps “Shameless” is the name of the website for a reason.

You aren’t the only Protestant, are you? There are many Protestants who claim that St. James teaches that works are for justification before men and not God.

Here’s an example.

“Paul is speaking about justification before God, while James is talking about justification before humans.”

That is a direct quote from that link. It is a very common Protestant argument against faith and works.

Calvinists claim that justification refers only to the initial act of being justified (forensic justification), and that everything after that is sanctification and not justification…Yet both James (as seen here) and Paul (as seen in 1 Corinthians 6:11, e.g.) seem to think of them as co-occurring….the Calvinist notion that justification is merely forensic, and precedes sanctification, lacks obvious Biblical support.

While 1 Cor 6:11 may be grounds for Calvinists to perhaps change the terminology of what we call the “sanctification process,” it hardly proves his point. Justification is not an ongoing process. Paul uses the past tense to refer to it. In fact, Rom 4:9-10 makes it abundantly clear:

We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

Unless you claim that Scripture contradicts itself, you need to handle two things.

1. Paul says that Abraham exhibited faith in Gen 12.
2. St. James says that the statement “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness” was fulfilled in Gen 22.

Did you catch that? Before Abraham was circumcised and before he was obedient to God’s command to sacrifice Isaac, he was justified. How much more clear can Paul be? The only consistent way to read the Scriptures on this point is that Abraham was already justified before the Isaac episode and therefore, we are compelled to interpret James 2:24 as consistent with this fact. James is making a point about how nominal faith is not faith at all, not how works are needed on top of nominal faith because both have salvific qualities.

On the contrary, James is saying that without works, Abraham’s faith was not a saving faith.

Shameless Popery claims any distinctions made about justification is “making a mountain out of a mole hill.” However, simply put, the question is whether good works are the basis of our salvation.

On the contrary, all Catholics admit that faith is necessary for salvation. But, we also admit that works are necessary for one to exhibit faith in God. Therefore, both elements are necessary for salvation and God reveals that He will judge our faith based upon our works. As you have admitted above.

The answer is yes, good works ARE the basis of our salvation: Christ’s good works, specifically His sacrifice and resurrection! Our good works cannot possibly add anything in the least to our justification in light of what Christ has done for us.

On the contrary, our good works are absolutely necessary for our salvation. Without them, God will not save us. See Matt 25:31-46.

God demands perfection from His people (Deut 18:13). If your good works are in anyway imperfect, they are no good, and they are filthy rags to Him (Is 64:6).

On the contrary. Look at the context of Isaiah’s verse. It is the works of unbelievers which are filthy rags to God. But God looks at our works and takes them into account. Listen to St. Paul:

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hence, if I am saved upon belief in Christ, then God gets all the glory and no longer do I work for my own salvation. If I need to maintain a saved state, as Catholicism teaches, then Christ’s works was only good enough to get me in the game and I have to now exert myself to win it.

Let’s see what Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Yep. Scripture says that He died for us in order that we might turn and live for Him.

Let’s see another verse:

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Yep. He died for us in order that we would also die for our brethren.

This is no molehill. The very Gospel is at stake in this issue. So yes, true faith will result in good works. And works, the proof of real faith save and not faith in name only alone. But, in the grand scheme of things faith alone justifies, faith alone results in good works, and faith alone saves, to Christ’s glory. Amen.

Faith which results in good works is not faith alone:
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Faith which saves is not alone. Because faith alone, is dead.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works make faith perfect.

James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

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