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Ephesians and James: Comparing Grace and Works 

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Both Ephesians and James were written during the transitional period following the death of Jesus. The authors, Paul and James, both wrote about the link between works and salvation.

James said that salvation came about by keeping the law, and believing that Jesus was the Messiah. He emphasized the "doing" aspect of keeping the law, and referred to the law as works that were a result of faith.

 

Paul said that no works were needed for salvation because God had forgiven our sins, and reconciled us to himself. Further, the proper works which would retain this salvation by grace were those brought about by God working through those who had yielded themselves to holy spirit.

 

Many people are confused at the apparent conflict between these two approaches. However, while starting at opposite ends, both James and Paul arrived at works, or how to obtain "the salvation," how to be an overcomer in the kingdom age. And, both men saw salvation as entrance into the kingdom.

 

Comparing these two approaches raises several questions for the thoughtful Bible student. For example, this study will discuss:

 

*  What is the proper relationship between grace and works?

*  Do the Old Testament laws still apply to Christians today?

*  What essentially determines a person's righteousness?

*  What is the relationship between faith and salvation?

The conflict between law and grace continues to this day. Perhaps the best part of this study is that both Paul and James offer sound, practical, no-nonsense advice for living the Christian life. 

 

 

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August 2009

 

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