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James 2:14-26

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by writer4hisglory, May 7, 2007.

  1. writer4hisglory

    writer4hisglory New Member

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    I thought to start a new thread as anyone who might be joining in on the debate will got lost in the other ones that we have open. So far, the debate has moved from one thread to another! From the "What Jesus Said..." thread to the OSAS thread. So, to bring everything back together:My study on James, this is not complete, and I have come to a stand still on (of all verses) the first one. But, here is what I have so far...Where I am at so far… I have spent a great deal of time on James this morning, and haven’t gotten beyond the first verse as there are two words in the Greek that are holding me up, as I will show you in a moment. If one were to take James 2:14 outside of its context and read it for only what it says without any other input from the rest of Scripture (such as John 3:16, Acts 16:31, or Ephesians 2:8,9) one could legitimately come to the conclusion that James is proposing a work based salvation, and this (not that one could possibly lose their salvation) is what has me held up. For IF salvation is work based, as at this moment it almost appears to be, then I have to concur that salvation can most certainly be lost. However, if salvation is, as the apostle Paul says it is, by grace alone, then no, it cannot be lost, because, as Daniel said in his post last night in the OSAS thread, salvation is given to us in spite of the lack of our works for God (in fact, Isaiah 64:6 says that man’s righteousness is as filthy rags), and that His promise of salvation is made to us before we ever could begin working, and thus, even if our righteousness were to wear out, even at that point, we still have the positional righteousness of Christ applied to our account. Alright, the Greek. I spent most of last night translating from the Greek text to English James 2:14, primarily because I was having trouble coming to terms with it. I will not translate every verse, as such will not be necessary to prove my point that this passage is not proposing a work-based salvation, and thus is not proposing that one can lose their salvation (for one can only lose their salvation IF salvation is based upon works.) Because the boards do not support Greek font, I won’t be able to type it out for you here in the Greek, but I can transliterate the words. I am presenting verse 14 exactly as it is found within the Greek text without rearranging it around to make more sense in English. I will do that after I give the English words for the Greek Text. Ti to ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin lege tis echein erga de me eche[?] Me dunatai he pisitis sosai[?]What the profit, brothers my, if faith say someone have work but never have? Not can this faith save himself?Without going to a version, here is the verse in proper English:What is the profit, my brothers, if someone says they have faith, but never have work? Can not this faith save him?There are two Greek words that I am wrestling with here, and as soon as I get them figured out I will be able to move on in the passage – but these two words are so foundational to the conclusion that one should come to in regard to this verse: 1) Should: eichein erga de me echel be translated as: But has no or not work, or should it be translated as: But never has work. Either way, one could conclude even with “no” work, that this is saying that the one professing to be a believer has absolutely no works to show for the faith that he is professing, just the same as saying, “But never has work.” 2) What does the word sosai mean in this context? Save can mean one of three things, it can mean Deliverance, Salvation, or Sanctification. This appears to be talking about salvation, but this is one that I need to wrestle with. Deliverance and Salvation are essentially the same thing in this context, however, if James is talking about Sanctification, then that makes quite a difference – he is, after all, talking to believers. I will need to wrestle with this a bit more. Rest assured that I will give reasons for whatever conclusion I come to regarding the Greek words here and the meaning that it brings to the verse. May the Lord bless,Writer.
     
  2. betchevy

    betchevy New Member

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    Matt 7:21-23 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Luke 12:36 "And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately."Luke 12:37 "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."Luke 12:38 "And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants."Luke 12:45 "But and if that servant say in his heart, `My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunkenLuke 12:46 "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." Luke 12:47 "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes."Luke 12:57 "Yea, and why even of yourself judge ye not what is right?"Paul said:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.John said:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.and John:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light*1, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (KJV) Ezek 18:21-26 (speaking of the good gone bad, and the living becoming dead)21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. (KJV) Paul again:Heb 6:4-64 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (KJV)
     
  3. Jordan

    Jordan Active Member

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    Matthew 7:13-14 - Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
     
  4. Bamp;#39;midbar

    Bamp;#39;midbar New Member

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    (writer4hisglory;10343)
    Ti to ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin lege tis echein erga de me eche[?] Me dunatai he pisitis sosai[?]What the profit, brothers my, if faith say someone have work but never have? Not can this faith save himself?
    Upon cursory inspection, it seems you are translating erga as work, singular. But it is ergon that is singular. Erga is plural, works?
     
  5. writer4hisglory

    writer4hisglory New Member

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    That is probably the case. I am a novice at Greek, but I know enough to be dangerous ;0). I do believe that you are correct though, and the translators would agree: ,if someone says he has faith but does not have works.Whether it is work or works, I don't think it affects the conclusion too much, though it is always good to be as accurate as possible when dealing with the word of God. Thank you, B'midbar for you input. Writer
     
  6. writer4hisglory

    writer4hisglory New Member

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    It appears as though I am going to have to pass over this verse for the moment and get back to it once I understand the full context of the passage. What we know so far:1. James is talking to believers2. The issue is someone saying that he has faith (pistin), but there is no works (erga - plural [thank you, B'midbar])3. A question is presented - Can this faith, without works, save (sosai) him? I understand that the sosai here is specifically referring to salvation as we understand it. Swampfox, you've really got my ergon cut out for me. Thanks. I really enjoy studying, and this will keep me busy for some time.
     
  7. *Madeline*

    *Madeline* New Member

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    I don't know much about Greek, but "have" as in have not works is a present active subjunctive. So I was thinking that it means that this person continuously does not produce works, no?
     
  8. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Excellent observation Madeline. The Greek is echos which literally means to have possession of or hold, so the English captures it quite well. It means someone does not do works does not have faith. Works are merely a physical manifestation of our faith, but something we do have by extension. There is no free pass. We have to truly believe and someone who truly believes will share that pearl because it is so amazing!
     
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