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Too Legit to Quit



True faith is never by itself. It is always accompanied by works of righteousness. -Louie Giglio

The third message of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING is challenging, to say the least. James is asking us to take a look at how we treat the people around us, how we act when no one is watching, and what it is that our actions say to the world about the God that we follow.

Key Takeaway

The same term can be used in different ways to support each other. "Justified" can be used to mean "made right with God", as well as mean "prove it." It's proving that you look more like Him, are walking like Him, are changing into His likeness, and are maturing into the full version of who God intended you to be.

James 2 is an expansion of Chapter 1. He does use religion in the sense that we use it, like one of the religions of the world. He's talking about real faith, a true Jesus follower. According to the end of chapter 1 and into all of chapter 2, it looks like not showing favoritism. Not giving a false home to someone struggling. It's a kind of faith that actually produces works.

The scripture tells us repeatedly that justified is being made right with God, being saved by grace through faith. So when James says that works or deeds justify us before God, it creates quite a tension. It looks like a major contradiction in the text, specifically between James and Paul.

Does the Bible contradict itself? Is it really reliable?

Romans 3:28 says a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

James 2:24 says a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

So which is true? Are those two verses really contradicting each other? This is where people default to believing Christianity is concocted to control people and push agendas. You can't really trust it. But that's all a lie. You can trust the Bible and put your confidence in God's Word. The best way to interpret Scripture is to let Scripture interpret Scripture.

We are going to look at two men, two different uses of the word justified, and two different contexts, and see how they all ultimately have one meaning.

The Two Uses

We have to pay attention to how James and Paul use the word "justified." In the Gospel sense, it means made right with God. There's another way to use the word "justify," which means to "prove it." Example: you have to justify why you spent that money. One is declaring a person justified, and the other is proving that they are.

The Two Contexts

Paul's context in Romans 3:28 was to respond to those hanging on to the Jewish legal system. Jesus fulfilled the Law, and there is no need to add to His finished work on the Cross. Some were saying that you have to believe in God PLUS adhere to the hundreds of laws. Paul speaks to the heart of this in Romans 3:21-28 and dismantles that argument.

James' context is responding to a skewed view by others of what Paul had said to those wanting to add on to Jesus. The pendulum always swings from "I have to do everything to earn my salvation" to "I'm forgiven and can do anything I want because I am saved by the grace of God." James is focused on those trampling on the blood of Jesus with a careless lifestyle.

These verses aren't opposed to each other. Both Paul and James are on the same page. See Romans 5: 1-2, 20-21. Paul addresses those skewing his view too in Romans 6:1-4. Paul absolutely refutes the belief of sinning more so grace can abound more - just like James. Romans 6:2 can be translated as "God forbid" or "may it never be." In Greek, it's "me ginoito," and it is said with so much fire, passion, and seriousness that it would be the equivalent of the somber warning "Hell no." How dare you trample on the blood of Jesus.

James 2:14, 18, and 26 all say the same thing Paul said. When you fully look at Paul, he doesn't just say salvation by grace through faith. We love that because it kinda lets us off the hook for our sins. However, in Romans 8:17, we are a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, but then we must share in his sufferings. IF you share in His sufferings, you'll share in His glory. Paul is very consistent.

Galatians 5:1- it is for freedom you've been set free. This is for those wanting to add to the Gospel.

Galatians 5:13- you have been called to be free, so use your freedom to serve, not to indulge your sinful nature. This is for those trampling on the blood of Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-10 -you are saved by grace through faith, not of works so no one can boast, but you were created to do good works.

Philippians 2:12- work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Don't sit on your salvation. Don't rest your confidence on a prayer 30 years ago and an unchanged life.

Colossians 1:21-23- justification through faith, IF you continue in your faith.

Neither James nor Paul says we are saved by works. James 1:16 makes that clear. We have to put our faith in Jesus and be born again, spiritual birth. He echoes this birth in verse 18. James 2:5 talks about inheritance, just like Paul did. Both say you have to be born again, and we are heirs.

The single meaning of these verses.

True faith changes everything. A new identity, being a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, results in new activity. If there's no new activity, don't be confident in your one-time prayer years ago about a new identity.

Both James and Paul use the example of Abraham. Paul in Romans 4 and James in James 2.

Genesis 15:6- Abraham is promised by God that he will be the father to many nations. It seems like an impossible promise, but Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. (Romans 4)

Genesis 22- God tests Abraham's faith. He asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac, which was a very common practice in the culture of that day. Child sacrifice to gods was widely participated in. Abraham was going to follow through with God's request, and God stopped him. The moment Abraham was willing to offer the most important thing in life to Him, not understanding why, it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:20-24)

Abraham was credited righteousness by his faith, but he showed it was real by his work. Faith is always found with fruit on its branches.

The same term can be used in different ways to support each other. "Justified" can be used to mean "made right with God", as well as mean "prove it." It's proving that you look more like Him, are walking like Him, are changing into His likeness, and are maturing into the full version of who God intended you to be. It's not trampling on the blood of Jesus, but repenting and being shaped and changed to be Jesus to the world in the way God intended you to.

James puts one last grenade into the text.

In James 2:19, he says, "You believe there is one God." He's pointing out that they say this because it sets them apart from the rest of the world that believes there's 1000's of gods and idols. So, they think that by saying that, they're covered. It would be the equivalent today of someone saying, "Don't tell me I need to make modifications to my lifestyle. I believe in the Bible. I believe Jesus died on the Cross, was buried in a tomb, and raised from the dead. I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe the founding fathers of our faith. I believe it all." James answers that with, "If that's what you are banking on for your security, the Devil also believes that. The demons tremble at who God is." What he means is don't get trapped in your head by stopping at good orthodoxy. If you want to be confident, as if the justification you've received by faith leads you to use that to love other people and are you seeing fruit on your branches of a new way of life?

Thank Jesus for what he did because as much as He had faith to believe that if He gave His life for you, you would be saved, it was only by His actual work of giving His life for you that you are saved. Faith working saved you.


"A person's faith is shown to be legitimate when their outward works display inward change that has taken place as a result of their conversion. Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone."

The Jesus Bible

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Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Romans 6:1
  • James 2:5
  • James 1:16-18
  • Colossians 1:21-23
  • Philippians 2:12
  • Philippians 2:12
  • Ephesians 2:8
  • Galatians 5:13
  • Galatians 5:1
  • Romans 8:17
  • James 2:26
  • James 2:24-27
  • Romans 3:28
  • Romans 3:21
  • Romans 5:1-2
  • Romans 5:20
  • James 2:18
  • James 2:14
Louie Giglio

Global Pastor

Louie Giglio Louie Giglio is the Visionary Architect and Director of the Passion Movement, comprised of Passion Conferences, Passion City Church, Passion Publishing and sixstepsrecords, and the founder of Passion Institute.