The Berean Expositor
Volume 40 - Page 125 of 254
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the rite, that any merit will accrue. Faith alone in the finished work of Christ can avail,
but, the insistence on `faith only' must not be misconstrued. Just as liberty does not mean
licence, just as freedom from the law as a means of justification does not mean freedom
from the law as a moral code, so faith alone must not be understood as being a dead faith,
devoid of grace, but rather is it faith that works by love. Those who would set up James
against Paul, and teach that one contradicts the other, make a fatal blunder. James, in his
contention that `faith without works is dead' is but teaching the same truth that Paul is
urging here. The only difference between them is, that James does not deal with the
initial stages of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, but is concerned rather with
the `perfecting' of the faith. Paul goes to Gen. 15:, where Abraham believed in the
Lord, and his faith was counted for righteousness, James goes to Gen. 22:, where
Abraham's faith is put to the test, where his works perfected the faith he already
possessed. Paul, as we have seen, speaks first of the law in its ineffectiveness and
weakness and then speaks of its value, but James speaks of the law only as `the royal law'
and `the perfect law of liberty'.
The following extract from the writing of Professor Jowett, may be appreciated at this
"There is no trace in the writings of St. Paul of the opposition of faith and love, which
is found in Luther. Such an opposition did not exist in the language of Christ and His
apostles. It came from the schools; Luther was driven to adopt it by the exigencies of
controversy. At some point or other was necessary to draw a line between the catholic
and reformed doctrine of Justification. Was it to include works as well as faith? but if
not, was love to be a co-efficient in the work of Justification? Luther felt this difficulty
and tried to preserve the doctrine from the alloy of self-righteousness and external acts by
the formula of `faith only'.
Whether we say that we are justified by faith or love (Luke 7: 47, 50), or by faith
working by love, or by grace, or by the indwelling of Christ, or of the Spirit of God, the
difference is one of words and not of things. For although these distinctions admit of
being defined by logic, and have been made the basis of opposing systems of theology,
the point of view in which the writers of Scripture regard them is not that of difference
but of sameness."
The concluding verses of this section are conciliatory; words of encouragement are
used after the somewhat severe tone adopted in verses 2-4.
First he commends them for their past, `Ye did run well', and then asks, not so much
because he wants an answer, but because he is astonished, `who did hinder you?' The
figure of a race, with its possibilities of defeat as well as glorious possibility of a prize is
a favourite one with the Apostle. The word used for `hinder' in the A.V. is anekopsen
which means `to beat back', the word endorsed by the majority of textual critics today is
enekopsen, which means among other things to hinder by breaking up a road, as in a
military operation.
To the English ear there is no real affinity between `obey' and `believe', indeed there
may be a sense of opposition, obedience suggesting law and faith suggesting gospel, and
seeing that Paul has made such insistence upon faith without works of law, the reader
may wonder why he should now introduce the words `obey the truth'. Why not `believe