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Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.1
Table of Contents
Foreword Synopsis Paul versus James The Bout The Question Faith is a Gift Use the Gift Example Gift of Choice Source and Application Psalms vs Job What Knowledge Biblical Examples Declaration of Faith Show Your Faith How to Know God as Love Turning Point Final Analysis Test All Things Who Won The Punch Line Unchanging Lov It's All About Love
Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.2
I am captivated by the account given in Matthew 16:13-17 [AMP] – Jesus asked: “What do you (yourself) say that I am?” It shows the importance of getting to know Jesus the Christ personally and not basing my knowledge of Him on what other people are saying about Him. This is done ONLY through the Word. Against this backdrop, I began to comb the Word. But in so doing, I find my thoughts running wild. Putting my thoughts in writing serves to rein in the wild horse, so to speak. Apart from that, I find writing down my thoughts to be beneficial in the following ways: 1. It serves to fan the embers of faith [2 Timothy 1:6-8]; 2. It helps to take captive every thought into the obedience of Christ [2 Corinthians 10:5]; 3. It leads to thinking on things that are wholesome [Philippians 4:8]; 4. It fosters spiritual growth [1 Corinthians 2:15]; and 5. It enables the rendering of assistance to fellow believers [Galatians 6:1]. I do not profess to have it altogether. But I am better now than I was before. If your spirit bears witness with what is written, I give thanks to my Abba Father through my Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah; God’s Anointed One. If I have offended anyone in the process, please accept my most sincere apologies. None of the perceived offence (s) is/(are) intended.
Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.3
Watch the bout between Paul and James. Paul says faith is without works. James says faith without works is dead. See who shall emerge winner as the pages unfold.
Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.4
Paul versus James?
In the blue corner is Paul. In the red corner is James. Ting..ting. Fight!
Paul says faith is without works [Ephesians 2:8]. James says faith without works is dead [James 2:14]. Huh???
To work or not to work? That is the question.
Faith is a Gift
Paul says faith is a gift. It cannot be earned.
Use the Gift
James says what do we do with that gift? Our actions should be a demonstration of our faith.
Electricity is wired to our homes. If we don't switch it on, it is as good as not having it.
Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.5
Gift of Choice
The gift of free will or choice is needed to switch it on. It is a choice to put to use the gift.
Source and Application
Paul is talking about the source. James is talking about the application. The gift of faith is manifested in the action; the application. The action backs up the confession of faith. Paul says we can never be justified by our good works. James says the truly justified are sure to produce good works. Paul focus on a right relationship with God. James focus on right conduct. A right relationship with God will inevitably produce right conduct. An analogy: How can one be in a pool of water and not get wet?!? As Charles Spurgeon puts it: "Right believing leads to right living". Essentially, right believing [Paul] leads to right being [James]. Jesus Himself illustrated this in the account given in Luke 7:36-50 which culminated in Him saying: Those who believe they are forgiven much [belief and perception], love much [action]. (Luke 7:47). For those interested in the debate of whether the woman mentioned in Luke 7 is Mary Magdalene can refer to the reference notes.
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A living and genuine faith can only come about with a good attitude and perception of God. Hence the emphasis on repentance; change the way we think of God. The focus is therefore not on having a living and genuine faith. The focus is on having a good attitude and perception of God, which will always lead to a living and genuine faith.
Psalms vs Job
The Book of Psalms represents the good opinion of God. The Book of Job portrays a bad opinion of God which culminated in God asking: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? [Job 38:2].
Well, it is but of course the knowledge of God as a loving God. Jesus Himself said in John 17:3: And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. When I read John 17:3 with 1 John 4:8, I find myself reading John 17:3 as such: “..to know God as the only true and real love”. In other words, God is my only true and real lover; only God truly and really loves me!
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All others who came before were misrepresentations; just thieves and robbers [John 10:8]. Jesus is the exact likeness of the unseen God [Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3]. In John 14:9, Jesus said those who have seen Him have seen the Father. Hence, when I know Jesus the Man as the Son of God Who was sent to be the Christ, the Messiah; God’s Anointed One, I see the love of God. And when I see the love of God, I see God as the only true and real love.
Abraham Abraham backed up his conviction of faith as follows: He was willing to sacrifice Isaac whom he waited for 25 years because He believed God would raise him from the dead [Hebrews 11:19]. James James gave an example in James 2:16: And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
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Jesus Jesus Himself gave a similar example in Luke 10:29-37:
And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? 30 Jesus, taking him up, replied, A certain man was going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and belongings and beat him and went their way, [unconcernedly] leaving him half dead, as it happened.
Now by coincidence a certain priest was going down along that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 A 33
Levite likewise came down to the place and saw him, and passed by on the other side [of the road]. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled along, came down to where he was; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity and sympathy [for him],
And went to him and dressed his wounds, pouring on [them] oil and wine. Then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii [two day's wages] and gave [them] to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I [myself] will repay you when I return.
36 Which 37
of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers? He answered, The one who showed pity and mercy to him. And Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.
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Declaration of Faith
I believe in Jesus! I will do anything for Jesus! I will die for Jesus! Put your faith into action: And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. [Matthew 25:34-46]. And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward. [Matthew 10:42].
Show Your Faith
We all have our own ideas as to how and when a believer must produce good works. And when that does not measure up to our expectations, we pronounce judgment: OUT! Yet Psalm 1:3 says it is according to God's time table for every individual believer. Jesus says" "Do not judge" [Matthew 7:1-5]. Is it necessary to run down on another believer's walk with God so as to elevate our own? [Luke 18:10-14]. Who shall bring a charge against God's elect, for it is God Who justifies. [Romans 8:33].
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James says: "Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you [yourselves] may not be judged. Look! The Judge is [already] standing at the very door. [James 5:9]. Paul says: "Remind [the people] of these facts and [solemnly] charge them in the presence of the Lord to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good but upsets and undermines the faith of the hearers." [2 Timothy 2:14]
How To Know God as Love
John 17:3 tells us what is Eternal Life: to know God as the only true and real love and Jesus the Man as the Christ. John 6:54-55 tells us how to possess Eternal Life:He who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood. Therefore, partaking of the Holy Communion will cause us to know God as the only true and real love and Jesus the Man as the Christ.
In all likelihood, we will begin to rely on God's love when we have nothing at all to rely on. The prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 had nothing to his name and was eating pig's food. When he turned to his father for help, he was relying on the mercy and love of the father.
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Like Abraham, he had to completely rely on God to give him Isaac because he was impotent at 100 years old [Genesis 21:1-3].
In the final analysis, partake of the Holy Communion as often as we want. We shall know God as love. Jesus says:"Do this in remembrance of Me". [Luke 22:19-20, Matthew 26:26-28]. Jesus came in the exact likeness of God [Colossians 1:15]. God is love [1 John 4:8]. Remembering Jesus is to remember love. Focus on delighting in the Word of God [Paul]. We are sure to produce good works [James].[2 Corinthians 3:18, Psalms 1:1-3].
Test All Things
You don't have to agree with what has been written here. What is important is this: Who is Jesus to you personally? Jesus asked: "Who do you yourselves say that I am". [Luke 9:18] Paul teaches us to test and prove all things [1 Thessalonians 5:2021].
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So who won the bout? There isn't any bout to start with! Paul and James are the two sides of a same coin.
The Punch Line
And this is the punch line that should hamonize what Paul and James said [1 John 3:16-18]: 16. By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand) the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. 17. But if anyone has this world's goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? 18. Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). Verse 16 is what we believe. Recall Luke 7:47 :“Those who believe they are forgiven much [belief and perception], love much [action]. “ This love of God for us which secured our justification is not by any good works; it is a gift. This is Paul's focus. Verse 17 is a call to action based on that belief. Verse 18 is echoed by James: Faith without works is dead.
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The Son of God manifested as the Man Jesus is God's love personified. The Son of God nailed to the Cross as Jesus the Man tells us that God's love for us is fixed. His love for us cannot and shall not be moved. Circumstances change. People change. But his love for us shall never change. Fix our eyes on His unchanging love and we shall not be spiritually nauseous.
It’s All About Love
In this is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. [1 John 4:10]. See The Father's Love Good Things Happen To People Who Believe God Loves Them The Love Revolution Reduce Me to Love: Unlocking the Secret to Lasting Joy Love Your Life
Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.14
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Paul versus James. ǀ Rest. Walk. Stand.15
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