Is “faith without works” opposed to “salvation by grace”?

James 2:20–24, Faith without works is dead. James here is referring to the works of faith, not the works of the law. No man can live a good enough life to be saved by his Torah-obedience — the works of the law (Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:11).

Faith, however, in Elohim is more than just mental ascent—“a knowing in your heart.” It has to be backed up by action (and we’re not talking about the works of the law). For example, when Elohim told Abraham to leave Babylon or to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed. Many were healed in Yeshua’s ministry because they had faith in the Master and backed that faith up with corresponding action, which was the evidence of their faith.

This faith-action continuum had nothing to do with Torah-obedience, but had everything to do with “putting your money where your mouth is” so to speak. This is what James is talking about here, and this in no wise contradicts the teachings of Paul who said that no man is justified by the works of the law.

When Paul declares in Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Elohim, not of works…,” he was correct and not opposed to James. What’s more, Paul goes on to say in verse 10, “For we are [Elohim’s] workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works…that we should walk in them.”

These good works (i.e., obedience to the Torah) are the fruits, evidence or proof of our salvation—the works that back up our faith. So, in summary, the Bible teaches that we need the works of faith to lead us to salvation, as well as the works of faith after we have received Elohim’s free gift of salvation as evidence that we are saved. This fact in no way contravenes the reality of salvation by grace through trusting belief in Yeshua the Messiah, which is apart from the works of the Torah-law.

Will the real James please stand up?

James 1:1, James. This name is the English form of the Old French variation of Jamesfrom the Late Latin name Iacomus, which was derived from the Greek New Testament name Iakobos (Iakobos), which in turn derives from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov (Heb. ceGH). This was the name of five men in the recorded in the Testimony of Yeshua. It is speculated that the development Iacobus to Iacomus is a result of nasalization in the French language of the o and assimilation to the following b followed by simplification of the cluster mb through loss of the b.

The notion that the name James derives from King James of England who ordered the translation of the Bible version that bears (published in 1611) his name is erroneous. This is because earlier English versions of the Bible (the Geneva Bible published in 1557 and the Wycliffe Bible published 1382 top 1395) used the name James (the English equivalent name Jacob) long before King James was born.

James. The Testimony of Yeshua records five men with the name James/Jacob/Ya’acov. They are:

  • James the Greater (Elder), the brother of John and one of the twelve apostles. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome. James was killed by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1–2).
  • James the Less was the son of Alphaeus. He was one of the twelve apostles (Matt 10:1–3, Mark 3:14–19; Luke 6:13–16; Acts 1:13).
  • James is also the name of one of the half-brothers of Jesus, and probably the author of the book of the Bible that bears his name. He was most likely the apostolic leader of the Messianic community in Jerusalem (Matt 13:55; Acts 1:14 [i.e., Yeshua’s “brothers”]; 15:13; 21:18; Gal 1:19) whom history calls James the Just and whom the Jews the martyred in Jerusalem in 62 AD (see Josephus’ Ant. 20:9). (Galatians 1:19).
  • James, the father of the Apostle Judas (not Iscariot, Acts 1:13).
  • James who was the brother of Joses and the son of Mary (Matt 27:56).