Paul had a life of struggling against the <works of the law>.  Some
teachers do not understand what <works of the law> are.  Do we?  The
works of the law are the works necessary for the temple worship of the
Jews and other works such as circumcision.

Paul made statements to combat the works of the law, which
exemplified a <faith> that was dead.  Those kinds of works we don't
need, and should not be done.  But because of Paul's teaching, we see
that by the time that James wrote his epistle, the “faith without works”
doctrine was already established by those who didn't understand the
truth.  James uses strong language against this doctrine in order to
bring back to a balance what obviously had gone astray.

We saw much of that in one of the previous parts.  In this part I wanted
to show the works side of the equation.  But as a reminder, let me put in
just a little of James' comments.  Faith without works is <dead>.  
Justification must include faith and works.

James 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. {alone: Gr.
by itself}
18  Yea, 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.
19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe,
and tremble.
20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his
son upon the altar?
22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made
perfect? {Seest...: or, Thou seest}
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.
24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

There is nothing strange in all this.  As we have seen, works are a
manifestation of a person's faith.  Works show us what a person
believes.  In other words, if a man believes that it is OK to live with a
woman unmarried as partners, then he does not have faith in the
commandment which says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."  He is
telling the world that either he is an exception, or he does not
understand what the command is saying, or the command is wrong.  The
bottom line is that his faith is in his own judgment, not in the Word of
God.  He has faith, but his faith is based on a misjudgment of his own
reasoning.

Notice the contrast of those who have evil works because their faith is
based on the god of this world, and those who have good works because
their faith is based on the way of God.

1Jo 3:12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And
wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's
righteous.

There is a contrast in one who is evil and one who is righteous because
they believe in, have faith in, a different set of rules.  One wants to do
as he pleases, adhering to no rules, being rewarded in spite of his lack
of merit, and the other joys in living according to right principles.  Rules
are for our good.  They keep us from evil results in our lives.

So many times when we have something go wrong in our lives, we can't
think of any reason why we should be so cursed.  Cursing doesn’t come
because we are so good that we have to have our lives dampened with
evil.  Even Job, who was perfect before God had some lessons to learn.  
God does not want to break a person to the point that he cannot
function.  But, if we are an unknown quantity before God, sometimes
He will have to hold death over us to get our attention.  

This is a good reason to learn to be dogmatic in our lives.  If one is
dogmatic, then those around him and God know where he stands.  But,
if every time a hard question comes alone we shy away, or “mums the
word,” then we are an unknown quantity.  God will not have anyone in
His kingdom that is an unknown quantity.  

The reason some people will never venture an opinion is because they
are afraid that it might not meet with approval by those around them.  
But, we are all human beings before God.  We need to learn to speak
our thoughts so that if we are wrong and someone points it out, we will
be corrected and be a better person for it because we will have just
come a little further in becoming a known quantity to ourselves and to
God.

Or, do we want to be like Job, questioning God’s will in our lives?  Yes,
I will trust in Him even if He slays me, but I will maintain my own way.  
My way is perfect, and I will not change, and even if God kills me, I will
trust in Him.  If God is on the verge of killing us, we need to have a look
at our lives and see if we are indeed a known quantity to Him.

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine
own ways before him. {maintain: Heb. prove, or, argue}    

The following verse does not come through clearly in the KJV
translation.  I am typing in the Jewish New Testament translation,
which I believe is clearer.

KJV:

Ac 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from
the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and
inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

JNT:

"To open their eyes; so that they will turn from darkness to light, from the power
of the Adversary to God, and thus receive forgiveness of sins and a place among
those who have been separated for holiness by putting their trust in me."

The KJV phrase, "faith that is in me" is faith in The Messiah to justify
us from our sins.  Those who are separated for <holiness> have this
faith.  The JNT translation makes this verse much clearer.  We believe
that The Messiah died for our sins.  We read the Word of God and live
a life of <holiness> for that is what we have been set apart from the
rest of the world to do!
Part 5
Paul's discussion in Romans 3 creates “fertile ground” for those who
want a faith without works doctrine.  We are left with no doubt that
faith without works is dead as James told us.  James tells us that we
are justified by faith with our works.  What is the answer to Paul's
seemingly difference of opinion to James.

The riddle is rather easily solved, if we notice the context of what is
being said in each passage of scripture.  Paul is speaking of the
remission of sins.  James is speaking of how one is to live his life.

Once a sin has been committed, the law is no longer of any help.  Our
faith at that time has to be in the sacrifice of The Messiah for
remission of sins.  But, this has nothing to do with whether a follower of
The Messiah should have works in his daily walk with God.  The object
is to have less sin in our lives, as we go along, not more.  Paul himself
makes that clear in the scripture where he says,

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may
abound?
2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  

The law is necessary to show us what is right and what is wrong.  But
for the remission of sins our justification must be by faith in the
sacrifice of The Messiah.  The law is there to give us the knowledge of
what sin is.  But, righteousness cannot be attained once we have
sinned, without the shed blood of The Messiah.  As everyone has sinned
and come short of the glory of God, grace or redemption must be
through faith in The Messiah.  He must justify us!

We need to understand what this word redemption means.  The
definition below says that it is "a releasing effected by payment of
ransom, deliverance, liberation procured by the payment of a ransom.

A person is in bondage to sin, once the sin has been incurred.  To obtain
the release of the person so bound, a ransom price must be paid.  The
Messiah covered that price through His sacrifice.  If we are cleansed
from our sins and we sin once again, we have again come into bondage.  
If we break one point of the law, we are guilty of all and a price must
be paid for our release.  God has not issued us a blank check to sin as
much as we wish once we have accepted The Messiah's sacrifice for
the ransom of our past sins.

The whole idea is to bring us into perfection.  As Messiah said,
"Become (a process) you therefore perfect as your Father which is in
heaven."  Therefore, we are aided with an aim to get us off the
addiction of sin.  As long as we are willing to put forth some effort on
our part, and show that we are interested in arriving at the same point
that God wants us to arrive at, He will help us.

So, as sins that are <past> are forgiven by faith in The Messiah’s
sacrifice, there is no reason for anyone to boast about his works.  Here
again, Paul is making reference to the works of the law which the
Pharisees and devout Jews practiced.  It was all too easy for a Jew to
feel proud of what he had done in order to reconcile his sins before
God.  There was a physical <doing> that took place in the Old
Covenant that caused that to be a side effect of becoming reconciled.  

But, under the new covenant, that had all passed away.  Now they had
come face to face with the fact that all those works for justification,
for righteousness - for the remission of sins that were past- were really
bound up in the blood of Messiah.  He did the only works that were of
any account when He gave His life a ransom for many, so far as
justification is concerned.

To put it another way, there are specific works for redemption.  The
Messiah accomplished these works by giving Himself a ransom for
many.  And there are works that manifest we have faith in the <way>
of righteousness, these works are set apart for us to do.  The work of
redemption is done for us because we are not capable of doing that
work.  But the work of living a righteous life is laid upon our shoulders
and happy is the man who rejoices in carrying that load.  That is what
we have been called to do.

2Ti 2:21  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto
honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good
work.   

***********************************************************
629 apolutrwsij apolutrosis ap-ol-oo'-tro-sis

from a compound of 575 and 3083; TDNT - 4:351,*; n f

AV - redemption 9, deliverance 1; 10

1) a releasing effected by payment of ransom
1a) redemption, deliverance

1b) liberation procured by the payment of a ransom  
***********************************************************

Rom 3:19  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them
who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may
become guilty before God.
20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:
for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being
witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and
upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23  For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;
24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus:
25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to
declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the
forbearance of God; {set forth: or, foreordained} {remission: or, passing over}
26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and
the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by
the law of faith.
28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of
the law.

Now the big problem for some teachers and those who believe in a no
works faith is how can a person continually go back and ask
forgiveness of sins.  Once the blood of The Messiah is applied, He
would have to come back to the earth and die all over again in order to
cover any future sins - if we were required to ask forgiveness for them.

But, this does not by any means exempt us from asking forgiveness of
our sins.  John shows clearly that we should not sin.  However, if we do
sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1Jo 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
in us.
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in
us.
1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any
man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the
sins of the whole world.

An advocate is one who pleads in another's behalf.  In other words, If
we confess our sins, The Messiah will plead our case to the Father and
we will be forgiven.  

But, why go through all this on the subject of faith.  Because this
discussion is at the heart of the misunderstanding of what faith is, and
why faith, and what faith is for.

Faith without works is dead.  The part we need to get clear is who does
the work for what.  The Messiah did the work necessary for our faith
in Him to be a living faith when it comes to being forgiven for our past
sins.  We are not forgiven for something that we have not done.  A sin
cannot be forgiven until it is committed.  Our works are not done for
the reconciliation of our sins.   

But faith for living our lives according to the word of God has some
works in it for us if we are to have a living faith.  We are quite able to
do works of righteousness according to our faith in the Word of God.  
If the Bible says, You shall not steal, then we hear that, we refrain
from stealing which manifests that we have faith in the word of God.  If
we slip up and don't do it quite right the first time, or the 100th time,
we turn to God through our High Priest The Messiah asking
forgiveness and are forgiven.  The next time we may get a little closer
to the goal of a sinless life.

But, if we are blasé about the whole affair, leaving everything to The
Messiah, not wanting to do anything at all to reach the goal of
perfection, then we are unprofitable servants.

Mat 25:30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall
be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

So, faith is hearing God and believing what He says.  If God says that
our sins must be forgiven by the (loving kindness) grace of The
Messiah we believe that.  If God says that we are not to commit
adultery, we believe that.  The works of these two examples fall on
different persons.  The responsibility for the work of the first falls on
The Messiah.  The responsibility for the work of the second falls on us.  
In either case, faith without works is dead.

Faith is the foundation for things hoped for.  The word substance comes
from the Latin, sub stans (standing under).  We read the word of God
and we believe what it says, that is our faith and our foundation.  

Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. {substance: or, ground, or, confidence}   

If there is no God, then our faith is vain.  Only if we are correct in
believing that God exists and has had His Word written with promises
and commands and rules of the covenant is there any substance -
foundation for what we believe.  

There is nothing beyond the physical senses that we can produce to
show the validity of our faith.  We are human and have not been given
that power.  We have the holy spirit, by faith in the promise that it
would be given to us.  

This is different to the spirit of Satan.  His spirit has manifestations
that can be seen with the eye.  Therefore, humans feel that his spirit is
more real than the holy spirit.  That is a key to whether a person is
following after the spirit of God or the spirit of Satan.

Faith is the conviction of what we have heard but do not see.  
Therefore, faith is the opposite of sight.  Faith is the demonstration to
us of what we do not see.  It is by our works that we manifest that we
have faith.

2Cor 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  

Continue ...
Faith !
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