Study # 44
July 8, 1998
Harlingen, Texas

Thesis: James' implied considerations argue that there is no such thing as a faith that does not produce behavior that is consistent with what is believed. Introduction: This evening we are going to look again into the opening paragraph of the second half of chapter 2. In that opening paragraph, James sets forth his thesis: Faith without works is dead. As we said last week, this is one of the most hotly contested half-chapters in the New Testament. Many, who deliberately, or unwittingly, twist the grace of God into license, react with extraordinary manipulation to this half-chapter, thinking that it doesn't say what it appears to be saying and, therefore, must be 'clarified' in order to keep people from using it to teach something contrary to what they call "the Gospel of the pure grace of God". On the other hand, many others, who deliberately, or unwittingly, twist the grace of God into a subtle form of legalism, heartily embrace this chapter, thinking that it teaches their point of view beyond debate. Actually, this chapter doesn't feed into libertinism or legalism. It is not a place to find support for either of these distortions of the Gospel. But, to see that, we must understand James in the theological context in which he wrote.