If a mere offer requires man's performance and effort, then it is a reward and not a free gift; then the Giver is in debt to the one meeting the conditions (Rom 4:4); then it is of works rather than grace (Rom 11:6); then the Giver is robbed of glory by the one performing (I Cor 1:26-31). Only by eliminating such conditions does God get all the glory He deserves (Eph 2:9; 3:21, Rom 11:33-36; 15:17, I Cor 4:7; 2 Cor 10:17, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Pet 4:11, 2 Thess 1:12).
If JESUS taught "works salvation" like people claim He has, we would not see the individuals in (Matthew 7:22) not having access to the kingdom. Christ would welcome them with open arms if salvation depended on our "wonderful works". Those individuals did not do the will of the Father, they did not drink from the wells of salvation, they are not of God's family.
Believers are to demonstrate our faith. That is the ‘works’ that are being spoken of in James chapter 2. What good is it if we say we are believers, but we do nothing to show it to others?
The ‘justification’ in James 2 is not speaking of being given eternal life, but of fellowship with God and a working faith. Abraham was the ‘Friend of God’ after he was a believer, but God’s declaration of His Righteousness (as in eternal justification) did not happen when he offered Isaac up on the altar but many decades before. (See Gen 12:3; 15:6) Rom 4 says, “If Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.” Abraham was declared righteous before circumcision. Abraham was circumcised (Gen 17:24-26) at the age of 99. Isaac wasn’t offered up until he was a lad. Abraham was declared righteous when he believed God and left his land (Gen 12) and it was ratified, and God swore by Himself in Genesis 15. This was well before Isaac was offered up in Gen 22. So we have a problem if we’re trying to say this is justification as in being given the free gift of eternal life.
Abraham believed God and IT was counted to him as righteousness (his belief in God’s testimony). Galatians 3:8 declares it was the gospel being preached to Abraham back then.(Romans 4:9-12)
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