The Scriptures read in Romans 4, that Abraham was saved by his faith without works, but in James 2 it reads that Abraham was justified by his good works.
So which was it; Faith or works?
Let us look at these two Scriptures first then the meaning will come clear as we study the actual scriptures:
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his Faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:1-5.
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James 2:21-24.
Many misunderstand these Scriptures, thinking there is a contradiction, not fully reading the text to discover the clarity of the teaching.
It is clear that Abraham’s Faith, was the very cause of his works, because Abraham walked first by Faith, and his Faith produced the work of obedience to The LORD’s Command.
Had Abraham not had Faith, he would not have obeyed The LORD and gone so far as to offer his own son [who was his only heir of promise] upon an altar.
From careful study of all the Words in the story found — in the original story in genesis 22 [where the story was first told] — it should be noted that Abraham never doubted that God would not allow him to actually kill Isaac, but he believed God would supply an offering in the proper time of the actual offering!
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, behold, here I am.
And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, my father: and he said, here am I, my son. And he said, behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of The LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, here am I.
And he said, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Genesis 22:1-13.
First note that Abraham instructed his servants (who had gone with them on the journey to the offering) to wait until he returned… “with Isaac” V.6:
“Abraham said unto his young men, abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Genesis 22:6.
This is then clear that Abraham (who was no liar but a righteous man seeking only to serve his LORD) believed before hand, he would be coming back with his son Isaac!
The Faith of Abraham saw that God would not finally have him kill Isaac as an offering!
Second note that Abraham instructed Isaac in answer to Isaac’s question:
“Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” Genesis 22:7-8.
It is open and clear that Abraham believed God would provide a lamb and spare Isaac.
Knowing this, he answered with faith the boy’s question. Sure enough, when the proper time came the angel of The LORD stopped Abraham from killing Isaac and did provide a lamb.
In the light of this study, is it not then clear that Abraham was not justified by works, but that Abraham was justified by Faith?
The Faith of Abraham believed God, and he was not afraid of God’s Command, knowing God was only testing him to see if he actually believed and had Faith!
Yet it is only fair to say: Abraham was not justified by Faith alone, but also by his works.
The true Faith of Abraham produced true works. When one has true faith that true faith will produce true works.
In understanding then one must admit that Faith comes first — and the works later — and that without true Faith, there will be no true works!
Works always follow true faith.
It is pointed out that Faith produces good works in Ephesians 2:8-10,
“For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10.
Please read again v. 10 which says: we are God’s …..
- Workmanship …
- Created….unto good works
- Which God has before ordained that we should walk in them!
So the good works of Abraham (or any other one having true faith) will produce (because God pre-ordained it) good works.
If good works do not follow…. then there was no Faith.
A man, no not even Abram, can be saved — accepted and justified before God — by works alone.
No man can work good enough within himself to be saved or accepted, but God must save a man and change him in order for him to do good works!
This then is the Truth, Abraham was saved by faith and his true faith did produce good works.
In order for one to say Abraham was saved by works, he would have to overlook Abraham’s Faith, that first existed before he did pass the test of offering his own son upon an altar.
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I have posted this word in obedience to my Holy Spirit teacher.
LORD help those who trust in their good works to first find Faith, and to believe that Jesus Christ died for their salvation and justification.
~ Desert Prophet Ken Dewey
The light will shine in His glory… In the desert.
Evangelist/ Prophet/ Pastor Ken Dewey is the founder of “OUT OF THE DESERT MINISTRIES“ in Belen, New Mexico, USA.
He writes on Facebook and OutOfTheDesertMinistries.com Prophetic Words, Sermons and Teachings while leading people into true Church settings and preaching in an End Time Gospel Tent Ministry.
For more information and messages, please visit OutOfTheDesertMinistries.com.