There are some who say, “But what about the verses in James where it says ‘faith without works is dead’?” The book of James is extremely easy to understand if you see the many times the word “brethren” is listed. James was written to believers to encourage them to do works so the lost can see a difference in their lives.
James 2:21 is a verse some like to use. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” Yes, Abraham was justified by works, but the question is, before whom? Three servants stood afar off and saw Abraham almost sacrifice his son. When they saw this, they knew in a tangible way that Abraham was a man of faith. And so in our own lives, when we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, we show others that there has been a change deep within us. But Abraham had been justified before God many years earlier, before Isaac was even born, and no works were involved there. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Paul explains in Romans 4:2, “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”
Most who teach Lordship Salvation believe faith is an active commitment, a long process including obedience and discipleship. And yet the Bible says over and over that it isn’t our active commitment that gets us saved, but belief in Christ’s substitutionary payment. We can’t promise God that we’ll live for Him before we trust Christ. We are lost, we are dead in our sins, and we can’t reform ourselves.
Salvation is about what Christ did on the cross, not about what man can do. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again to pay for your sins? Then like Abraham, you can be sure of your salvation.
Faith vs. works is the battle of the ages. Every religion adds works to salvation. Only Christianity is about what Jesus Christ did, not what we do. — Dr. James A. Scudder
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder