When the Evidence of Your Faith is Good, Sinful, Works
Here is a different perspective on the blog post "Do Saved People Have Works?".
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
The context is how believers treat people based on whether they are rich or poor. An overlooked point is... the way you treat someone is your 'works'.
An example of your works is giving a rich person a good seat vs giving a poor person a place to sit on the ground at your feet.
The rich person will see your works as good works because you treated them well by giving them a good seat. The poor person may see your works as good works if they had no hope of finding a place to sit and then accepted sitting at your feet as something good. Or the poor person may see your works as evil works if they knew what you did was based on the way you chose to treat poor people.
The irony in this is it doesn't matter whether the rich person or the poor person considered your works to be good works or not... because God said you sinned, your good works were sin. James 2:9 but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
I don't think anybody has ever pointed that out here. Yes, you gave somebody a place to sit and in both examples you sinned. It doesn't matter whether the works appeared to be good or not. What mattered was your heart and whether you were a respecter of persons.
That makes the discussion on works a little more complicated.
The question asked is James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
The man above had faith and he had works so Calvinists take this to mean you need to have works to be saved. The problem is... the man of faith sinned because his thoughts were evil and so his works were actually sinful not righteous..
James 2:14 Can faith save him?
Can faith save who? The believer? Absolutely. The believer's faith is what saves the believer. The believer's faith cannot save the rich man or the poor man. The rich man needs his own faith and the poor man needs his own faith. Nobody can be saved piggy backing on another person's faith.
Again, the irony is both the rich man and the poor man saw the believer's works. Those works should have a part in leading them to faith but, in this case the works were good, sinful works.
What does good, sinful, works profit? That's not the question anybody asks. But, James tells us if you are a respecter of persons then your works are good, sinful, works.
That kinda blows the question out of proportion. Instead of being concerned that nobody can see your faith if you don't have works it now becomes a question of... can anybody really see your faith if your works appear to be good but they are really good, sinful, works?
The Calvinist will argue you need works to 'demonstrate' you're saved and if you don't have works then you must not be saved.
The bible simply says you need faith to be saved.
So, how can somebody be saved if faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT SEEN... but the "evidence" they are given is your good, sinful, works?
The way out of this quagmire is to not get caught up in thinking that works is necessary for salvation because works that appears to be good could be good, sinful, works. 1 Samuel 16:7 ... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
What is necessary for salvation is a good tree, aka a believer, who gives the gospel and then produces good fruit. A believer is still human and will still sin and may even sin by being a respecter of persons but still you need the believer, faults and all, to give the gospel even if they sin with their works when they are a respecter of persons.
What Calvinists don't seem to understand is their good works, their righteousnesses, are like filthy rags to God... used bloody Tampons. Good works mean nothing to God except he expects you to have good works and then... you can have works that appears to be good but are really sin at the same time.
I could've titled this blog: Good Works Can Be Sin. Evil Works Can Be Righteous.
Jonah 3:10 ... and God repented of the evil... and he did it not...