Most people who are Protestants know about being saved only through believing in Jesus Christ. For 500 years it has been a serious flashpoint of theology getting frequent reinforcement. When we read James it would seem to contradict that idea. At least it makes us wonder how true “faith alone” really is.
We are not the first to notice this apparent contradiction. Some have even tried to remove these passages from the Bible. Martin Luther, whose hymn we sang this morning, fought a long battle with the Catholic Church over how to receive eternal life. He called James “a right strawy epistle.” He saw it as so much wood, hay and stubble. He was so insistent on justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, that he had trouble reconciling these truths with the teachings of James.
First we will read the section through then go back to see if we can interpret the meaning of this section considering the context. (James 2:14-26) “What good is it, my brothers, if a man