How can you believe in salvation by faith alone when the only occurrence of 'faith alone' in the Bible (James 2:24) says that salvation is not by faith alone?


James 2:24

ESV - 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
It is entirely true that the one verse in the Bible that contains the exact phrase "faith alone" seems to argue against salvation by faith alone. James 2:24 reads, "You see that a person is justifi...

July 01 2013 16 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Joe cattani
Faith will always produce works. Works can never produce faith. You don't have to believe in God to save a drowning child.

April 08 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Nathan Toronga Christian Elder.
This seemingly simple paradox has puzzled the heads of Christians for centuries.

A. Now, salvation is by faith ALONE. Even in the OT, when one sinned, one had believe that the goat or lamb was now the sinner, and the person himself now righteous. 

Please note: salvation is an event, not a process. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us". Romans 5:8

He doesn't die everyday, no.

B. Once saved, we prove that by our works.
That's where James and the entirety of the bible comes in. Eg Revelation 22:12, Romans 3:12, Acts 15:21, Matthew 5:19-20, Luke 13:9.

Everyone prefers to end at part A above. Be sure of this, you haven't been saved. You have NEVER known Him (1 John 2:3-4, 1 John 3:6), nor has He EVER known you (Matthew 7:21-23). In fact, such a person belongs to the devil. 1 John 3:8-9.

Part B is where goats are separated from the sheep.

No-one can be saved by observing the law, but no-one who is saved will continue to transgress the law.

Jesus did not come to die for us so that we can now become acceptable before God in our sins.

This is what happened: We deserved to die due to our sins. Jesus died in our stead. Now we have to follow His footsteps, for He will not take our sins a second time. Hebrews 10:26-29, Hebrews 9:28.


December 07 2013 21 responses Vote Up Share Report

Seth3 Seth Freeman
Ephesians 2:8-9 states "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

September 30 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Glen Jeffers Pastor and president of Christ In Us Ministries Int'l.
Old and New Testament believers are all saved the same by grace through faith. We can not pick and choose what suits us. No one is justified by any law, including the Ten Commandments (Gal 3:10-11). That would mean no OT person would be justified.

The commandment (s) of God that has always fulfilled any law is love (Romans 13:8-14). We are saved by grace through faith by producing the fruit of the Spirit (Romans 2:28-29, Gal 5:22-29), which is a result of walking out God's predestined plan for my life (Ephesians 2:8-10).

This is the only reason Father God will declare us a good and faithful (fruit of the Spirit) servant.

September 30 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Donald Woody Musician/Producer
The concept James is presenting here is simple. To be saved whe have to believe in the redeemer and His work that saves us. What James means by saying salvation is not by faith alone is that we continue to grow our faith in salvation who showing what we do "WORKS". Good works is a direct RESULT of our faith and salvation. We do good because we are compelled to do good by the grace we have recieved through salvation. These kinds of works asks nothing in return and seeks only to do goodl Working to do good for the sake of doing good not to MEET a REQUIREMENT OF SALVATION. Do good works is a direct result and reflection of our faith and salvation. If we are truly saved we could not do less. Look at Jesus His entire life examples this for us. Works is a result of faith and salvation not the other way around. Doing good works indicates that you are genuinely saved for that is the reason you do it. Salvation is a gift and freely given to us there is nothing we can do to EARN it.

April 08 2014 10 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Erick Miller
When looking at James 2:24 (you see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone NIV) It may seem that faith alone is not enough but truly the bible does show that this verse is very true. The verse I speak of in James 2:26 (For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, KJV). Without us acting on our faith, salvation is hard to attain for as Christians we demonstrate the trueness of our spirit and belief in Christ Jesus by the several key acts of faith.

1. The Great Commission.(Matthew 28:19,20), 

2. Confession of faith in Jesus Christ to the world. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32 KJV)

3. Converting souls: Acts 26:28-29 Where Paul is speaking to King Agrippa in shackles and he sough tot save his soul and the souls of those who could hear him. 

There are many more examples but these are just some that highlight the works that accompany with faith. In closing the best link to the verse in question is how good works comes from faith, so the two go hand in hand versus faith standing alone. The verse I speak comes from 2 Timothy 3:17 

(17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:17 KJV)

And how this works comes about is best explained when reference 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Timothy 2:15. In these verses taking action by studying and staying true and believing in the scriptures to nourish your faith. This is also a great example of works being coupled with faith to salvation. Stay faithful and trust in God. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and open the scriptures to you daily my friend. 

God Bless you in the name of Jesus.

April 08 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Steph Sturm
the result of eating healthy is that your body will be healthy,

The result of not breathing is death.

We are saved through faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone.

However, faith brings forth works.

If a seventy year old still looks like he's three, something is wrong.

So too, if you have faith that doesn't produce a DESIRE to do good works is like a body that won't develop...

February 26 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tom howard Contender of the Faith
I think James (being Jesus brother) was thinking more in line with the Lord's own answer to ‘work’.

As there is a work, a work of God (God approved). A work we should all be about doing, that being to, “Believe.” John 6:28-29!

But as Michael said, ”Salvation is by faith alone, but that (true) faith will never be alone.”

So, lets work, (Believe)!

April 08 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

After5 Judy Jentz Christian, Lay Person Who Studys God's Living Word
You must remember that even the devil and demons believe in God and Jesus Christ and they are not saved. 

Your good works are a direct response to the change in your heart about Jesus Christ. When you love someone here on Earth, you do nice things for them and say nice things, you do not do evil and slander them. The same with your faith in Christ. It must be an active faith. That's how I like to think of it. It comes automatically in your heart to not want to sin. Not sinning is an active faith. One can't say they believe in Jesus Christ and keep on being evil. That would be the same as the fallen angels.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

September 21 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
Not justification by faith alone nor works alone, rather, it is justification by grace alone. Let me explain:

The devil enjoys it when we put the words of Paul against the words of James, faith against works, when if fact, Paul and James do not contradict eachother. We are justified only by God's grace. There must be a better understanding of justification than just saying faith alone or works alone. Both are incomplete, often misinterpreted and/or misunderstood.

Faith alone without works is a dead faith. 
Works alone without faith is pelagianism. 

Therefore, the correct understanding of justification should be this - By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works. (Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, 1999)

February 11 2015 10 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Al Mari Private practice as a cardiovascular & thoracic surgeon
The genesis of this question most likely come from a misunderstanding of what James and Paul stated in the scriptures that appears to be contradictory regarding "faith that saves". Let us get the full quote of what they said, analyze it, to arrive at what they meant:

James 2:14-26 state, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can † faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute † of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. †. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 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. Likewise † also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

COMMENT: The concept that James wanted to impart is clear, "the body(soma) without the spirit(pneuma) is dead(nekros), so faith(pistis) without works(ergon) is dead(nekros) also...being alone(heautou) or by itself. His emphasis is on "completeness" as "living body" is to "living faith"; that faith is not "made perfect"(teleioo) and therefore "incomplete" without works. Saving faith comes from "faith with works". So, while faith "alone" was reckoned/imputed as "righteousness", it was merely an "initiating event" and incomplete towards "actual/final justification" unless "paired with works". As a body without life so is faith without works. The body is "incomplete", so is faith (not perfected) to achieve salvation.

Paul stated in Rom 2:13 "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law (shall) be justified
3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there (shall) no † flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Please read on through Chapter 6 of Romans.
COMMENT: The emphasis is on how "initially", we are justified, made righteousness in the Father's eyes. It is by faith alone without "works".

Paul was about the "root", while James was about the "fruits". 

Paul addressed the "initiating event" that "reckoned/counted/imputed" us "righteous/justified" which was by "faith". Whereas, James' emphasis was on how this "initiating event" was "perfected/completed" which was by "works". 

Faith (of) Jesus in the Father imputed "his death for all" and "reckoned/counted" us "righteous". This then led us to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit of power to "descend in us" to "bring forth "fruits" expressed in "works". 

Jesus, Paul, James are "one" in "living faith" that shuns evil. All wanted us to follow the Law of Christ which is "faith and works of the Spirit" in us. Even Peter said, "I Pet. 2:21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"
I Pet. 2:24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:"

While these "works" are expressed through our action, they are nevertheless of and by the Holy Spirit, not "ours" so that no one "can boast". Salvation is by faith and works.

April 30 2015 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Gregory Tomlinson Minister, husband,father,grandfather,vet., college graduate
Grace provided the payment for our sin; no other payment is needed to be reconciled. Faith in that sacrifice gives a clean conscience; our clean conscience commends us to God. Now we must bear fruit or die, which is the work of sanctification, putting off or death of the old man. 

Jesus explains it quite well in the parable of the sower, we must take root and bear fruit or as He states it in the parable of husbandman we will be cut down and cast into the fire, because without fruit or works of the spirit, our conscience becomes defiled if we continue in the flesh and not in the spirit.

Paul and James are both right in that salvation is free not earned through works of the law but grace is a gift through faith in Jesus only, no other way and we are kept through obedience and the works of the spirit which is fruit. 

Without this fruit or good works that the spirit will help you bear; your faith dies and you no longer have a clean conscience and that guilt erases your name from the book of life.

This could be an example of a hearer and not a doer of the word, lip service as opposed to a sincere heart that obeys.

April 30 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
James is writing to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad. He calls them brethren. They were believers. What doth it PROFIT my brethren though a man may say he hath faith, and have not works. Can faith save Him? If your brother is destitute and you don't help him, is your faith going to help him? 

James is not adding works to grace, (Romans 11:6) he is saying we should do good works for profit in heaven. He also refers to Abraham. 

Romans 4:2 If Abraham were justified by works, he would have something to glory in, but not before God. We can justify our selves before men by what we do, our works, but not before God. We can only be justified by faith.

James is in no way saying works have anything to do with salvation, Romans 11:6 shows us we are saved by grace without works. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. 

No amount of good works ever saved anybody. Lots of lost people do good works. But they have never believed on Jesus as the only way of salvation by grace. If we add works to grace or law to grace, then we have perverted the gospel which is all grace.

The whole gospel of John tells us to believe to be saved. That means a person on their death bed just before they die, can receive the free gift of salvation by grace and go to heaven. The thief on the cross did nothing but believe Jesus was who He said He was.

Galatians 1:7-9 Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let them be accursed. As we said before, so say I again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let Him be accursed.

Jesus plus nothing = salvation by grace. If we add one work to what Jesus has already done for us, we are preaching a false gospel of what we have to do instead of what Jesus has already done. 

How do we know we have eternal life and are saved? First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that YE MAY KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

We know we have eternal life because of what Jesus has done for us, not by what we do or do not do. Our works.

Should a believer do good works and keep from sin? Yes, but that has nothing to do with salvation which is a free gift of God and we have nothing to boast in because we did nothing for it. Jesus paid it all and we paid 0.

Good works never saved anybody, but believers should do the good works that God has prepared that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

January 10 2018 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ravikumar T
"Philippians 2:13"
✨You are able to do these things, since God himself causes you to desire to do what he wants you to do, and he also enables you to do what he wants you to do.✨

At salvation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit & it's the responsibility of our indwelling God to create the works in us according to His pleasure.

January 26 2020 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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