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James vs Paul NOTES .pdf


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Genesis  -­  The  Gospel  According  to  Abraham  Part  4:  James  vs.  Paul  
James  2:14-­26  
 
 
INTRODUCTION  
 
James  and  Paul  both  use  Abraham  as  an  example  concerning  ‘justification’.  Paul  uses  
Abraham  as  an  example  of  Justification  by  Faith,  while  James  uses  Abraham  as  an  
example  of  Justification  by  Works.  So  which  one  is  right?  Does  the  Bible  contradict  
itself?  Let’s  explore  these  questions  and  find  some  answers  
 
 
CONTRADICTING  SCRIPTURES?  
 
James  2:24  You  see  that  a  person  is  considered  righteous  by  what  they  do  and  not  
by  faith  alone  
 
Romans  3:28  For  we  maintain  that  a  person  is  justified  by  faith  apart  from  the  
works  of  the  law.  
 
 
INTERPETIVE  PRINCIPLES  TO  CONSIDER:  
 
1.Defining  CONTEXT  
2.Defining  WORDS  
 
 
DEFINING  CONTEXT  
 
1.  What  is  the  SUBJECT  that  James  and  Paul  are  addressing?  
 
For  Paul:  How  Salvation  Comes  to  Jew  &  Gentile  Alike  
For  James:  The  Outworking  of  the  Christian  Life  
 
 
2.  Who  is  the  AUDIENCE  that  James  and  Paul  are  addressing?  
 
For  Paul:  The  Unsaved,  Young  Churches,  and  Judaisers  
For  James:  Jewish  Christians  Who  Have  Been  Settled  In  Their  Faith  For  20+  Years  
 
 
3.  What  EXPERIENTIAL  PERSPECTIVE  are  James  and  Paul  writing  from?  
 
For  Paul:  A  Theologian,  Setting  Doctrine  Against  False  Teaching  
For  James:  A  Pastor,  Dealing  with  the  Everyday  Life  of  a  Congregation  (perhaps  a  
collection  of  sermons)  
 

DEFINING  WORDS:  
 
1.  JUSTIFIED  
 
For  Paul:  How  A  Person  Is  Right  Before  God  
For  James:  How  A  Person  Is  Right  With  God  Before  Men  
 
 
2.  FAITH  
 
For  Paul:  Essential  trust  in  Jesus  Christ  for  Salvation  
For  James:  Lip-­‐Service  to  a  Creed,  Mere  Mental  Ascent  to  Orthodoxy  (Religion  
Without  a  Real  Relationship)  
 
 
3.  WORKS  
 
For  Paul:  Always  Legalistic  ‘Works  of  the  Law’  
For  James:  The  Gracious  Outworking  of  a  Life  of  Faith  (Works  of  Love)  
 
 
CONCLUSION:  
 
While  it  would  appear  that  James  and  Paul  contradicted  each  other,  when  we  apply  
proper  interpretive  principles  we  see  that  truly  these  ‘contradictions’  are  only  
surface  level.    
 
Both  James  and  Paul  are  writing  to  a  certain  audience  and  trying  to  make  a  certain  
point,  while  using  the  same  words  we  see  that  they  are  not  using  the  same  
definitions.  They  are  using  the  definitions  that  fit  their  own  unique  context.    
 
Paul  is  dealing  with  the  issue  of  salvation  and  how  to  be  made  right  before  God,  
while  James  is  dealing  with  the  issue  of  living  out  your  faith  by  showing  others  
around  you  that  you  have  been  made  right  with  God.  
 
What  is  clear  is  that  the  things  James  calls  ‘works’  are  precisely  the  kinds  of  ethical  
responses  that  Paul’s  gospel  also  expects  of  those  who  belong  to  Christ!  “For  we  are  
his  workmanship,  created  in  Christ  Jesus  for  good  works,  which  God  prepared  
beforehand,  that  we  should  walk  in  them.”  Eph.  2:10  
 
 
 


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