“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” James 2:24
Both these apostles wrote by inspiration. Paul answers this question both affirmatively and negatively, that a man is justified before God by faith, without the deeds of the law; and in the 20th verse positively affirms that “by the deeds of the no flesh will be justified.” James asserts that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
- Paul speaks of the justification of penitent sinners before God, James of the justification of saints before men.
- Paul of the justification of sinners believing in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and life, James of the works of righteousness after justification by faith in Christ.
- Paul speaks of faith touching its office in the article of justification before God, James of faith in its fruits and effects.
- Paul’s faith is supposed to be fruitful in obedience, in consequence of an interest in the merits of Christ; James’s faith is declared so to be by obedience actually performed.
Wherever there is a true faith, it must fix on Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This faith unites to Christ, and where there is union there must be love. Were there is love there must be obedience. Where there is obedience there will be a reward of grace. And when the reward is acknowledged to be of grace and not of merit, God will have all the glory in time and in eternity.
Lord, give me a living, working faith, that I may be justified before God and men!
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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