|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 93||Part 2|
James 2:14, to the end of the chapter. The author of this Epistle recommends good works as superior to mere faith, and then he continues, "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac, his son, upon the altar? Likewise also, was not Rahab, the harlot, justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
The opinion here cited meets with the contradiction of Paul, who writes in his Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3:20, "Therefore, by deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified." Again, he says, in the same chapter, verse 28, "Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." In his Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 2:16, Paul repeats the assertion, that faith in Jesus is of greater avail than the observance of the law, by saying, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ." At the end of that chapter, he maintains, "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." The like doctrine is enforced in chapter 3 from the beginning to the end. Also throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11, it is maintained that faith is preferable to works. See again ibid verse 17, where it is said, "Abraham, tried by faith, offered up Isaac." Again, ibid verse 31, "By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies in peace." We, Jews, are not anxious to reconcile the discrepancies occurring in the New Testament, and to decide whether more truth is to be found in one than in the other of those opinions. All our aspirations lead us to adopt a mode of life in exact conformity with the Holy Law, which tells us, [Deuteronomy 6:25] "And it shall be accounted to us as righteousness if we keep and fulfill all these commands."