Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 53) - Jam 2:14-26; Jam 5:19-20; 1Pe 1:5Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 129. Jam 2:14-26 A. "14) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 23) And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24) Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25) Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? (Jam 2:14,21,23-26). B. Do these verses teach that Abraham, Rahab, and all believers are made righteous by their faith and works? C. No; rather than showing that believers are made righteous by their faith and works, these verses show that they are counted or considered (shown to be) righteous (evidential justification) by their faith and works D. Works show evidence that faith is real (Jam 2:17,20,26). E. (See Section II,9,C on Justification). 130. Jam 5:19-20 A. "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (Jam 5:19-20) B. Does this passage teach that a person can be saved eternally by another person converting him from the error of his way? i. No, it doesn't. One needs only to read the first word of verse 19 to see that these verses are not referring to eternal salvation. ii. James wrote: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth..." a. Brethren - special pl. of brother. b. Brother - 1. The word applied to a male being to express his relationship to others (male or female) as the child of the same parent or parents. 3. A fellow-member of a Christian society, or of the Christian Church as a whole; a fellow-christian; a co-religionist generally. b. the Brethren: in N.T. the members of the early Christian churches c. By calling these men his brethren, James was saying that they had the same Father as he did: God (Mat 6:9; Eph 1:2). iii. These brethren were already born again (regenerated) (Jam 1:18). (See Jam 1:18 - Section III) iv. These brethren already had the faith of their Lord Jesus Christ (Jam 1:3 c/w Jam 2:1), which shows that they were already born of God (1Jo 5:1) and had eternal life (Joh 5:24; Joh 6:47), which cannot be lost (Joh 10:28). v. These brethren were members of a NT church (assembly) (Jam 2:2). vi. Therefore, James is not telling these born-again believers in Jesus Christ who are members of His church how to get eternal life by having one of their brethren correct them when they are in error. C. Erring and being converted i. To err or error is to wander astray from the path one is to follow. a. Err v. - 1. intr. To ramble, roam, stray, wander. 2. To go astray; to stray from (one's path or line of direction). Chiefly fig. and now arch. b. To fail, miss; also, to err from (a mark or proposed end): to miss, fail to strike. b. Error n. - I. 1. The action of roaming or wandering; hence a devious or winding course, a roving, winding. III. The action or state of erring. 3. a. The condition of erring in opinion; the holding of mistaken notions or beliefs; an instance of this, a mistaken notion or belief; false beliefs collectively. c. Children of God sometimes error from the truth in doctrine and in practice: for example, (Gal 1:6 & Gal 3:1 c/w Gal 4:6,28). d. The way that leads unto life is strait and narrow (Mat 7:14), and to err to the right or left is very dangerous (Pro 4:24-27). ii. To convert a person is to turn them around and to get them to again head in the right direction. a. Convert v. - I. To turn in position or direction. 1. a. trans. To turn (a thing or oneself) about, to give a different (or specific) direction to. refl. = To turn (intr.). b. Even regenerate children of God sometimes err from the faith and need to be converted (Mat 16:16-17 c/w 1Jo 5:1 c/w Luk 22:31-32). D. What is the death that these saints could be saved from by being converted from their errors? i. James had already warned the brethren about the dangers of lust, which when conceived brings forth sin, which brings forth death (Jam 1:14-15). ii. Because of this slippery slope, he warned them not to err (Jam 1:16). iii. The death in Jam 5:20 can't be spiritual death or eternal death because, as was shown above, these brethren had eternal life that can't be lost. a. That leaves two possibilities. b. It could be physical death, which sometimes happens as a direct result of sin (Act 5:1-10; 1Co 11:29-30). c. It could also be a death to fellowship with God and the church (Luk 15:24; Rom 11:15). (See Luk 15:24 - Section III) (See Rom 11:15 - Section III) d. Both of these deaths can be avoided by converting from the error of one's way. e. This is a temporal salvation. (See Section II,7,B on Temporal Salvation) iv. Love covereth a multitude of sins (1Pe 4:8; Pro 10:12; Pro 17:9). a. If a man truly loves his brother he will rebuke and correct him (convert him), and not suffer sin upon him (Lev 19:17). b. It is the glory of a godly man to pass over a transgression (Pro 19:11). c. By lovingly converting a brother from his error and helping him get turned around and going in the right direction again, one can save that brother from a death of fellowship with the church, or even physical death, and can hide and cover his sins (Jam 5:19-20). d. It is our duty as brethren to restore a brother who has been overtaken in a fault because we could do the same thing as he did (Gal 6:1). 131. 1Pe 1:5 A. "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1Pe 1:5) B. Is this verse teaching that it is a man's faith through which God keeps Him unto salvation at the last time? C. The verse says that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1Pe 1:5). i. Jesus gave His sheep eternal life (Joh 10:28). ii. No man is able to pluck them out of His hand because all power was given unto Him (Joh 10:28 c/w Mat 28:18). iii. No man is able to pluck them out of God the Father's hand (Joh 10:29). iv. Jesus will lose none of the elect which God gave Him, but will raise them up at the last day (the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time) (Joh 6:39). v. God's saints are preserved forever by His power (Psa 37:28 c/w Psa 79:11-13). D. Since it is God's power which keeps and preserves His elect until the end, it is then God's faith through which it is done. i. God is faithful to confirm us to the end that we may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Co 1:4-9). a. Faithful adj. - 1. Of persons, their actions, etc.: Full of or characterized by faith (sense 3); believing. 3. a. True to one's word or professed belief; abiding by a covenant or promise, steadfast. b. God has promised us eternal life (Tit 1:2; 1Jo 2:25). c. God has promised that His salvation shall be forever (Isa 51:6). d. God will perform the good work which He began in us until the day of Jesus Christ (Phi 1:6). e. God will faithfully preserve our body, soul, and spirit blameless unto Christ's coming (1Th 5:23-24). f. It is God who is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of His glory (Jud 1:24-25). g. God has made a reservation for His elect for an incorruptible, undefiled inheritance which He will faithfully keep (1Pe 1:2-4). h. God will be true to His word (through faith) and preserve us unto the end by His power (1Pe 1:5). ii. Christ justified us by His blood and therefore we shall be saved from wrath through him (the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time) (Rom 5:9). a. Our being kept by the power of God unto salvation at the end of time is dependent on Christ justifying us (Rom 5:9). b. It was Christ's faith which justified us (Gal 2:16), and therefore it is Christ's faith through which God keeps us by His power unto salvation (1Pe 1:5). E. It can't be our faith because we are not always faithful, but God is. i. Our unbelief will not make God's faith of none effect (Rom 3:3-4). ii. If we believe not, yet God abides faithful (2Ti 2:13). iii. Even when the faith of God's children is overthrown, the Lord nevertheless still knows them that are His (2Ti 2:18-19). iv. God even has elect children who are enemies of the gospel, yet because He is faithful, He will not repent of His gifts and calling of them (Rom 11:28-29). v. The life which we live is by the faith of the Son of God (Gal 2:20). For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace