Faith in Jesus – 2 Faiths

That’s why St. Paul explains in Galatians 3:23-26 that the law is (was) our custodian (tutor) until Christ came.” (Steve)

I am going to make this point once and if anyone cares to check into it’s validity – feel free.

James and Paul disagree on this exact passage concerning Abraham. This means we have 2 differing opinion from scholars on the movement – one actually was Jesus’ brother and the other never met Jesus nor heard him speak the 3 years he was in Israel.

Paul’s version
Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:6-7)

James version
and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:23-24)

Paul see’s the justification coming by faith alone. James see’s the justification coming via faith proven by one’s actions. They are actually different in what they are asking of the believer.

It is also well known these 2 did not always agree – in fact Acts 15 records an incident they did not – so does Galatians 2.

Paul’s stand both times is adopted by the known church – from it’s origins until this day. Paul was right to call Peter and James on some of the hypocrisy – the inequality the Gentiles were being shown in Antioch. However, Paul bases his faith on what exactly? This seems to be what Peter, James, and John seem to be trying to convince him of.

Paul says justification comes through faith – ok – but what is faith based on? The Spirit of God! Great. But what is the Spirit of God all about (rather vague and unknown entity with little in scripture to help us determine this) – what moral basis is God using? This seems to be the angle where James’ letter comes from.

James in his letter pretty much mimics Matthew’s gospels and upbraids it as known teachings of Jesus. From inequalities, faith and works, and religion about giving to the poor. Actually many of the stuff James writes seems to come straight from Matthew. If I have to prove this I will – anyone with a short read of either will see the direct correlation.

James seems to be saying ‘I write about what I know Jesus said’. Paul – quotes which gospel exactly? The only thing that appears in a single gospel he quoted is communion – word for word that appears in Luke’s gospel…by all accounts Paul’s travelling companion and neither met Jesus.

In the end, who would you choose as giving you the best infromation about the subject of faith in Jesus?

***Comment lifted from the blog just below this – ‘The Law is The Problem?’

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15 thoughts on “Faith in Jesus – 2 Faiths

  1. I believe we go with Paul.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit used Paul to write most of the New Testament for a reason.

    I also believed that Paul was picked after all the others (apostles) for a reason.

    The other guys didn’t quite get it all the time.

  2. “I believe that the Holy Spirit used Paul to write most of the New Testament for a reason” (Steve)

    But he never met Jesus nor heard the man speak – and never wrote a gospel about the actual teachings of Jesus. Paul makes no mention of the living breathing Jesus nor a virgin birth or any of the trial of Jesus and he only met the original disciples for 14 days in total (or something like that). Now even if the Holy Spirit was using him – was he not subject to error? The Jerusalem council seems to think so..and vice versa.

    “I also believed that Paul was picked after all the others (apostles) for a reason. The other guys didn’t quite get it all the time” (Steve)

    Can I have example of when they didn’t get it? It seems to me before Paul came to the group (which he never really ever joined BTW) the Holy Spirit was recieved and they were growing at a pretty good pace (3000 in one day is pretty good I think). Now if Paul came – the only solid reason would be to minister to gentile communities and not much more.

    Yet this man ends up challenging the leadership of Peter, James, and John quite a few times. There is even questions about when he is cutting down people of the other ‘gospels’ or ‘super-spostles’ he is referring to their leadership (demonizing it and demeaning it).

    If someone saw an accident firsthand and someone had visions about that accident – which is more reliable?

  3. “But he never met Jesus nor heard the man speak ”

    Huh?

    Who do you think knocked him on his ass, and told him to quit persecuting His Church?

    Who do you think informed him of all that doctrine in all those books in the N.T.?

    Hint: it wasn’t Santa Claus

  4. “Who do you think knocked him on his ass, and told him to quit persecuting His Church?” (Steve)

    Jesus I would guess and here’s the known words Jesus said to Paul ” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)

    This coming from a book written by a Gentile non-witness himself – Luke.

    But that’s the gist of what we know was spoken to Paul by Jesus – which was about quitting persecuting the Christian church (not really much more is said there). Paul goes on to claim he bears witness to Christ – which he does – in that he tries to convert Gentiles to the faith. As for what more he heard – well – we’ll never know.

    “Who do you think informed him of all that doctrine in all those books in the N.T.?” (Steve)

    I am not saying he wasn’t inspired – but even with that – he made mistakes. This is clearly attested to in Acts 15 and Gal 2. He had differences with the actual witnesses of Jesus – imagine that – having difference with people that walked, talked, ate, and studied under Jesus for 3 years – saw him die – then resurrect – then ascend – then they all receieved the Holy Spirit.

    I gotta go with the eyewitnesses and hold Paul at some interpretive lenses that hears the gospels first then him…since those gospels (which Paul never quotes) claim to contain the words of Jesus himself. Paul is just writing letters which should fall in line the things Jesus revealed about his own teachings. Which brings me back to James – who quotes Matthew’s gospel and the ideas of Jesus – as compared to Paul who makes claims based on his own merit. Honestly, who’s gonna be closer to the truth about Jesus?

  5. “Which brings me back to James – who quotes Matthew’s gospel and the ideas of Jesus – as compared to Paul who makes claims based on his own merit. Honestly, who’s gonna be closer to the truth about Jesus?”

    I’ll stick with the one Jesus picked last, to get the job done the way He wanted it done.

    If it wasn’t for Paul, those guys would still be stuck in jerusalem trying to make people Jews first, and then Christians.

    Paul is the guy.

  6. The whole problem with this discussion is that it is putting too much emphasis on a person rather than the teaching or the passage at hand.

    The thing is, it can’t be proven that the writer of the book James is the same James that Paul had the disagreement with in the book of Acts and it can’t be proven that the writer James is the brother of Jesus.

    Paul, James, who cares. What exactly are these writers trying to teach is the more important question.

    I’m not so sure that these two writers are disagreeing on the Abraham story. Paul is using the passage in a discussion about faith the law and James uses the passage to urge the believers to be active, if they say that they have faith. Their use of the story is for two different reasons and I think we need to see the reasons why they used they Abraham passage in the first place, before comparing each writers use of the passage.

  7. “If it wasn’t for Paul, those guys would still be stuck in jerusalem trying to make people Jews first, and then Christians” (Steve)

    What is a Christian exactly? You make a seperation between the Jews of that time and Christians – but Christianity grew solely out of the teachings of Judaism. Which is why I raise these points because maybe Paul strayed too far from Judaism’s core teachings to establish what seems to be his own motifs (in some places).

    Even Jesus upheld the Torah and Prophets…Paul seems to not think this is that important for Gentiles. Maybe he is right – in some senses – since the law is not our requirement not being Jewish whatsoever – we are to live and establish just laws for our societies…but the Torah and Prophets should always be a guidebook on those ethics.

    So if this is what Paul is saying I agree with him…but if this is not what he is saying then I do not agree with him. Reason being – Jesus did not fulfill all of the law/prophets…still work to do…the law/prophets remain in tact and useful to find God.

    I would also contend Paul is wrong about ‘faith bring justification’ because it doesn’t line up with known human reality nor what Jesus taught on the subject himself.

  8. “Jesus did not fulfill all of the law/prophets…still work to do…the law/prophets remain in tact and useful to find God. ”

    You are not a Christian, then.

    No problem with that (for me).

    But that’s just the way it is.

    Jesus has done it all. He has fulfilled the law for us for righteousness sake. There is nothing further need be done by you or anyone else.

    If someone believes that…then they are a Christian.

    If not, they they are something else.

  9. “Paul is using the passage in a discussion about faith the law and James uses the passage to urge the believers to be active, if they say that they have faith” (Just1)

    Not exactly…well not according to many denom’s take on what Paul and James are saying.

    Many denom’s have Paul saying just this ‘justified by faith alone’

    Many denoms do not realize this is not James is saying ‘faith and works together justify a believer’

    I tend to think Paul was a lot closer to James’ stance than people want to believe – since he does teach about moral ethics and things becoming for a Gentile Christian community. Paul does not doscount the actions of the indiivdual – and even at one point requests someone be kicked out of community and handed over to satan…so it seems Paul thought someone could leave ‘faith’ by their ‘actions or choice’.

    All James is really saying is ‘put your money where your mouth is’ or be deemed a ‘hypocrite’. Which raises the question – can one lose their faith according to James – based on their actions? I think the answer has to be ‘yes’ since James can claim someone’s faith is ‘dead’…which means non-existent.

    So maybe they are using the passage in very similar veins – but if they are – then they are both using their passages on ‘faith’ to prove one’s actions need to be involved or they are not saying the same thing whatsoever…because James is definitively saying ‘faith without works is dead’.

    And I think their is merit to both sides of this argument – they are agreeing and they are not agreeing. The fact they might not be agreeing has to do with Paul not being agreeable anyways with the Jerusalem council. Paul may have even said some very rude things about that same council in Jerusalem to make his points that much more authoritative…like this for example:

    “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Gal 1:8)

    “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13)

    I wonder if Paul is calling Peter, James, and John and all their crew in Jerusalem these wonderful names? Both passages are linked to the idea of being Jewish and the possibility of asking Gentiles to become circumcised. Paul even mentions apostles in one passage and I cannot of another group of people within the NT that even likely mentioned the circumcision and being Jewish except that group in Jerusalem. And Paul is building a rep off of cutting their legs out IMO.

    That’s why this blog is called ‘2 faiths in Jesus’ because I think from the get go – well when Paul arrived anyways – the faith split at that point into 2 versions of it.

    Paul’s version – which if understood by Jewish viewpoints can be seen as actually ok. Then we have James, Peter, and John’s version in Jerusalem – which bases it existence on Jesus’ teachings – and they felt they needed to keep themselves dedicated to Torah and Prophets (but were open to Gentile inclusion as equals).

    However, the difference is in the ideas surrounding how this faith is supposed to look & work – and the beliefs that would have been held by either side. This is where I see the huge differences showing up.

    Paul may or may not believed in a Trinity? James, Peter, and John likely never held such views being Jewish – about the messiah – but I stand to be corrected on that. Also, with James’ letter – faith and works go hand in hand.

  10. “Many denom’s have Paul saying just this ‘justified by faith alone’ (SVS)

    Yes you are right about this and the denoms sure hammer this point don’t they. It’s like they get bonus points for it or something. However, I would think that the denoms take on it is an oversimplification of Paul’s message.

    Paul, it seems to me, is telling his Gentile audience that practice of the law is not necessary for you, since that is not your tradition. So, don’t worry about it. What you Gentiles need is faith similar to Abraham, who was righteous and who also did not have the law to use a guide.

    “Which raises the question – can one lose their faith according to James – based on their actions?” (SVS)
    I don’t think a person loses their faith. It’s more like they show that they have no faith to begin with. If a person doesn’t follow the teachings and do the right thing, then the person has nothing.

    “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Gal 1:8)
    “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13)

    “I wonder if Paul is calling Peter, James, and John and all their crew in Jerusalem these wonderful names?” (SVS)

    Possibly, but a clear cut case cannot be made for that. Paul may also be seeing all kinds of people, running around, calling themself an apostle. I mean, we have all kinds of people, running around now, calling themself an apostle. As though it meant something.

  11. “You are not a Christian, then. No problem with that (for me). But that’s just the way it is.” (Steve)

    Steve, you need to study some prophecy on the messiah – even within the known Christian traditions. Jesus did not fulfill everything – that’s a beyond known fact in Judaism and Christianity.

    One, Jesus is returning again – if he had fulfilled it all the first time – why the need for a 2nd return?

    Two, one of the prophecies is peace on earth (the lion and lamb lying down/people beating their swords into other equipment) – this hasn’t happened.

    So the fulfillment of the whole Torah and Prophets is not complete – and Christians need to admit this – thus the need for a 2nd coming in the first place (for completion). Even Revelations would point in this direction – the complete fulfillment is yet awaiting.

    So if that makes me a non-Christian – what does it make everyone else that is waiting on a 2nd coming of Jesus? Yay – a world of non-Christians apparently!

    “Jesus has done it all. He has fulfilled the law for us for righteousness sake. There is nothing further need be done by you or anyone else” (Steve)

    Jesus did not fulfill the whole law – fact. I am not saying a way hasn’t been provided for the Gentiles to reach/access God – I think this is exactly the case. There is nothing we can do with regards to that – except be thankful and approach God in humility.

    However, pieces of prophecy still remain to be finished. You have to admit that alongside every other Christian person on this planet. Do you not know this?

  12. All has been accomlished for those who have faith.

    That is, concerning one’s justification and salvation…Jesus finished it all. (He even said that)

    Sure, the scope of human history and the culmination of events leading up to the New Kingdom has yet to be brought to fruition, but I would say tht God has a pretty good handle on that, and He doesn’t require our help.

  13. “That is, concerning one’s justification and salvation…Jesus finished it all. (He even said that)” (Steve)

    God opened a door…just not all the way for some reason…I am trying to figure that reason out.

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