Faith without Works is Dead

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In today’s Bible reading from James 2, we see the issue I mentioned yesterday about a supposed contradiction between James and Paul on the basis of our justification before God. Paul says that we are justified by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and James says we are justified by works (James 2:24). So which one is right? And isn’t this just proof that the Bible is full of contradictions?

On the second question, no. No, the Bible is not full of contradictions. It may have differences in the way it presents things (like this topic), but if something seems like it’s contradicting something else, there’s more you need to dig into.

On the earlier question of whether James or Paul is correct, the answer is that they are both right. Huh? Their statements are complementary, not contradictory. Paul is looking at how we have been saved, James is looking at how we prove/demonstrate that we are saved. There are different aspects of our salvation: believers have been saved, believers are being saved, and believers will be saved. Paul is looking at the first aspect, James is looking at the second aspect.

Look at what they say: Paul agrees with James that our salvation will work itself out (Ephesians 2:10). And James agrees with Paul; even demons believe (“believe” [verb] and “faith” [noun] are the same word), but they aren’t saved.


Believer, look at your life. Is your life any different than when you were lost? Assuming you weren’t saved yesterday, your life will experience some changes. It may be behavior, it may be attitudes, but your life will be different if you are really saved. And if your life hasn’t changed, you need to revisit the question of whether you are really saved. Walking down the aisle of a church doesn’t save you. Praying a prayer doesn’t save you. Being baptized doesn’t save you. Saying you believe doesn’t save you.

Putting your trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for your sin
and turning from your sin to embrace a relationship with God
does save you.

Have you done that?