This conversation just amazes me more and more w/ virtually every statement from either Adam or Dave.
I was asked about the doctrine of Paul vs James 2, so I answered:
FF Bruce's commentary on Galatians 5 can prove handy:
"To seek it [justification] through faith in Christ was to seek it on the ground of God’s grace; to seek it through legal works was to seek it on the ground of their own merit…Paul has already made it clear (3:10) that those who seek justification through legal works do not attain it (cf. Rom 11:7), but rather incur the curse of the law; what he emphasizes here is the incompatibility of faith and works, of divine grace and human merit, where justification of the sinner before God is in question.
Here [5:5] is such a reference, however; by contrast with the vain hope of righteousness by legal works, he says, we who believe in Christ are enabled by the Spirit, through faith, to wait confidently for the hope of righteousness. The law holds out no such sure hope as this. The ‘hope of righteousness’ is the hope of a favourable verdict in the last judgment (Rom 2:5-16). For those who believe in Christ such a verdict is assured in advance by the present experience of justification by faith…In their case the eschatological verdict of ‘not guilty’ is already realized."
--F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians (Erdmans 1988), 231-232.
And here is a quick cut and paste of some quotes in an article dealing w/ this topic from here...
"There is no reason to assume that James was commenting on Paul. Notice that there is no reference in his epistle to Jewish/Gentile relations in the church, which is the point of departure for the Pauline doctrine.
And there is no reason to assume that James is using the word in the same specialized sense as it acquires in Pauline thought. A word is not a doctrine. The reason we have a Pauline doctrine of justification is not because Paul uses the word, but because he has laid out a detailed theological model of justification—such as you don’t find in James.
From what I can tell, James is making a much simpler point, where faith and works are equivalent to hearing and doing (1:22-25). Don’t be hearers of the word only, but doers as well. This is a common admonition in Scripture...faith is not the ground of our justification. The ground of our justification is penal substitution. Faith is merely a condition of its individual application to the sinner...sanctification is a necessary condition of salvation, but not a condition of justification.
...we’re not talking in generic terms about man’s relation to God, but in specific terms about the sinner’s relation to his Judge."
For the purposes of this discussion, you can consider me in agreement w/ the author of that article.
My own brief commentary is this:
Paul discusses forensic justification of the dead, dirty sinner before a loving, yes, but also holy and just God in various psgs thru the NT, including Romans 2-10, most of Galatians, heavy references in Colossians, and Ephesians 1-2 (among other places). It is out of these places that the Reformation doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone has been derived. I say "Reformation doctrine" simply to give it a name and set it apart, but I will be happy to defend it from biblical exegesis.
James, by contrast, as noted above, is not discussing justification of the sinner before God.
A final note - what does James' "justification" mean, then? It is the validation before witnesses of the faith that exists. In the case of Abraham, for example, he lifts the knife to kill Isaac and thus validates the fact that he has faith in the eyes of:
-Sarah his wife
-the billions who have read Genesis over the centuries
The problems of the conundrum you think I have are manifold.
1) Eph 2:8-9 says we are saved by grace, NOT by works.
Romans 3:28 says we are justified by grace apart from the works of the Law.
Romans 11:6 says that grace mixed with works is no longer grace.
Scripture thus contradicts Scripture if what you have said is true.
2) The context of the psgs out of which we derive the Pauline doctrine of justification are clearly related to justification.
The context of James 2 is not.
3) We don't know how to be saved.
Problem is, Dave, you are really giving me the impression that you believe all people will be saved (when you said "our belief or faith that Christ did these things for us is evidence of our realization that we’re no longer condemned").
1) Do you believe that all people are saved? If not, is the vast majority of humanity (who have ever lived) saved, ie, will they be in Heaven?
2) What is your scriptural argument for the position expressed in your answer to my 1st question?