“Why is this headache not leaving? I’ve spoken ‘by His stripes I am healed’1 all day in faith, and nothing has changed.”
“How am I going to pay this bill that’s due today? In faith, I believe ‘My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory,’2 but the bill is still unpaid.”
“Even though I’ve prayed in faith that I trained up my child in the way she should go, and when she is old she shall not depart from it,3 my daughter is farther away from God than ever.”
Do any of these sound similar to things you’ve said, cried, or prayed? These statements and questions, and many more like them, come from a sense that all of your faith hasn’t done what you thought it would. Having been there myself many times, I know how frustrating and confusing it becomes. Maybe if we consider faith from a little different perspective, however, it will help.
How were you saved? How is anyone saved? “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith.”4 You had to have faith to be saved. Here’s the catch: You weren’t expected to have that faith except by grace – God’s grace. His grace made it possible for you to have faith in what the Bible says about Jesus paying the price for all your sins and providing eternal life. You didn’t understand it fully, yet you believed in faith and received. You didn’t make John 3:16 true by having faith in it. Because John 3:16 was already true, you were able to receive salvation, by God’s grace, through faith – not by faith alone.
This is the same way we are to live our lives day in and day out, by God’s grace through faith in His finished work – not through our faith alone to make it work. Somewhere along the way, however, we tend to lose sight of this foundational Truth, and begin trying to operate in faith without relying on God’s grace for it. We think we are standing in faith, even using Bible verses; in reality, we hope what we call faith will make it happen. Unintentionally, we’ve omitted the One Who gives the grace for the faith we need in order to believe it has already been done, regardless of what we see in the natural.
Only when we rely completely on God’s grace do we truly come into agreement, in faith, with whatever part of Christ’s finished work is required for our situation. Now, we speak with boldness and confidence in God’s Word, no matter how long we must wait for the change to manifest in the natural. Now, we can rejoice in the fullness of Christ’s victory on the cross for our lives – when we come not by faith alone, but by grace through faith.1 1 Peter 2:24 2 Philippians 4:19 3 Proverbs 22:6 4 Ephesians 2:8
5 thoughts on “Not by Faith Alone”
As promised, here is what I consider to be the most biblically sound reconciliation between Paul and James. Hopefully you will not think me so arrogant after you read, but rather insightful.
Feel free to make comments.
I am not saying that men will stop arguing. What I am saying is I will challenge them to show me where I contradict scripture, when I do it. I will put you on my favorites and let you know when my post is done. Let’s see what happens.
Not arrogant, but confident in the wholeness of our gospel
The issue goes a little deeper than what you are saying. This is why we have such huge chasms in doctrine. Paul says it is by grace and not works, James say is it is not by faith alone that a man is justified.
If you have God’s grace for faith, the question is still is it grace alone or works. This is why there is this split in doctrine. Calvinism on grace and Arminianism on works. Sadly the gospel presented in scripture in not fully understood by either side. They do not understand what God has done in the covenant that He gave Abraham nor what He now has included us gentiles in through Christ. All of this is New Testament stuff too.
I am putting together a response to this debate together and hope to have it out by mid week next week on my site. I have challenged Calvinist to reconcile the hard cold appearances of difference between Paul and James but so far only silence.
Maybe you will look for this and leave a comment. It will get rid of this whole debate, I promise.
No matter the work you put into it, just because of the nature of us all – not because I want it to go on – the whole debate will not be ended. Blessings of grace in Christ as you work on it.
This is right on time as always. 🙂