Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Paraphrase of James 2:14-26 by Zane C. Hodges

Dead Faith: What Is It? A Study on James 2:14-16 (Redencion Viva, 1987, pgs 15, 16, 18, & 20) by Zane Clark Hodges

What good does it do, my Christian brothers, if someone among you says he has faith and yet does not act on that faith? Faith certainly cannot preserve his life, now can it? It would be the same thing as if one of you spoke to some Christian brother or sister who was destitute of the necessities of life and you said, "Go home peacefully and get warmed and filled." But if you did not give them the very things they needed for bodily life, what good would it do? Would their lives be saved by your confident words? In the same way when faith stands all by itself, because you fail to act on it, your inactive faith is as dead as your useless words to your destitute Christian brother. It has no life-preserving power at all!

But someone is going to say, [objector:] "All right then! Let's say that you have correct beliefs and I have correct actions. Go right ahead! Take some belief of yours and make it visible by means of your actions. And if you can do that (but, of course you can't!), then I will take my actions and will make my belief visible through them (utterly impossible!). Oh, I know! You'll claim that your faith in the unity of God is demonstrated by your good conduct. I disallow that claim. The demons also believe the same thing you believe and they don't do good! They only tremble!"

[Reply of James to hypothetical objector] "Oh senseless man! Do you really want to know that faith is genuinely dead without works? Take our father Abraham as an example. Isn't it obvious that he was vindicated by his works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? Can't you see for yourself that his faith was cooperating with his works and his faith was actually matured by those works?"

[Reply continues] "And was not all this an appropriate fullfillment of the divine delcaration by which he was originally vindicated in God's sight; for the Scripture says that 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness'? But now, in offering up his own son, this original divine acceptance of Abraham was substantiated and verified in the eyes of men who appropriately called him 'the friend of God.'"

In conclusion, then, as you all can see, a man can be vindicated by works as well as being vindicated by faith. To illustrate: Was not Rahab the prostitute obviously vindicated by her works when she actively aided the spies to escape? Isn't that how she herself survived when everybody else in her city died? The point is plain: When Christian faith is disconnected from our works, it has no more vitality and life-preserving power than does a corpse which has been disconnected from its dynamic, life-giving spirit.

(PS: I am working on the final part of the last series)


Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

James 2 is a subject that comes up time and time again.

We have to be ready to answer that one.

January 10, 2008 3:48 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

The only seminary class I ever took was on James at Chafer. Excellent. Its a great book when taken in context!

Grace and Truth


January 11, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Thank you bro. Antonio, for posting this fine paraphrase of this passage! Excellent. Really brings out the meaning.

Right bro. Matthew, even though few accept this interpretation (though it is the correct one, IMHO), still we must trudge on. It may increase our faith!

Amen to the fact that James, taken in its correct context, is wonderfully helpful, bro. Trent!

January 11, 2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Yes, it makes so much sense to me now. I used to have a hard time understanding this passage and then when Jodie debated it with Frank Turk from this point of view here posted, it opened my eyes.

Hodges has had a lot of good things -like this- to offer, even if he has made some unfortunate statements that are being highlighted lately.

January 12, 2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio. :~)

January 12, 2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


thanks for the notes.


which statements are those?


January 13, 2008 8:45 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I will email it to you and we can discuss it privately. :~)

January 13, 2008 8:50 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Good Post!

January 27, 2008 8:03 PM  
Blogger luke said...

Hi Antonio,
I'm new to your blog but I'm very encouraged to see your efforts in sharing the "free grace"/"faith alone" message. My question on this blog is about the word "vindicated". Is Hodges teaching that God allows some people to be justified by there faith through works they performed for God.
I've only understood the gift of eternal life to be free by believing in Christ for it and absolutely no addition of works help me to recieve that gift.
But is this "vindication" in James 2 proving otherwise.


February 14, 2008 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Luke. Since Antonio hasn't responded yet, I will. When Hodges talks about being vindicated before men, he means showing that you're a MATURE Christian. It has nothing to do with proving salvation or anything like that. The justification by works has nothing to do with the eternal life, but being justified before men, proving that you're MATURE. So no, Hodges is not teaching two different ways for eternal life. The justification by faith and the justification by works are two different issues. Justification by faith has to do with gift of eternal life. Justification by works has to do with proving you're mature (and thus worthy of rewards).

February 14, 2008 3:10 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Danny,

Thank you brother for that explanation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi bro. Antonio. Did you finish your pork cracklins? Sho' was good to klat with you tonight. God Bless.

February 15, 2008 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks David! When we explain this passage, we need to make it clear to people that the vindication before men is about them seeing us as mature, NOT about us being saved. Since salvation is by grace through faith, no one can verify anyone's salvation by their works. I know, I'm preaching to the choir here :) The men we are vindicating ourselves before are supposed to know that works have nothing to do with being saved. It's about them calling us friends of God.

If these men want to know if we're saved, then they need to hear our words - we tell them we have believed in Jesus for irrevocable eternal life. That should settle it for them right there. If they want to know if we're mature, then we show the maturity by works :)

February 15, 2008 10:35 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Good stuff bro. Danny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 16, 2008 6:02 AM  
Blogger luke said...

Hi Danny.
Thank you so much for responding to my question and for providing such a clear explanation! It amazes me how Gods word grows more powerful and useful when studied under the true perspective of faith alone in Christ alone. I hope the Lord continues to use you to help others grow in truth!

February 18, 2008 12:02 PM  

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