What about James 2:26 -- Faith without works is dead?
Good works will always be the RESULT of having been saved, but they are not the cause.
That clarification is seen in Ephesians 2:8-10 where the concept of works is mentioned two times. It first states that works are NOT the means of salvation, but then says they are to follow afterwards. In other words, I do them not in order to be saved (in the Father's kingdom), but BECAUSE I have been justified, forgiven, and received the Spirit.
It is important not to confuse cause and effect because the Bible specifies that you cannot combine grace (undeserved favor) and works (doing something to deserve a favor) as the cause of salvation - Romans 11:6. It is an either-or. To say it is free after you earn it is nonsense. It is also nonsense to say (as in II Nephi 25:23) that you get it by grace (undeserved favor) AFTER you have done all you can do to deserve it.
When you confuse the two, salvation is changed from something we can know we have now (see John 5:24, 6:47, II Tim. 1:9, Titus 3:5, I John 5:13) to something we may hope to have someday.
Now there is another thing we learn from the context of James 2. It is that what is being discussed is how WE AS HUMANS can tell if someone is justified (note the phrases, "shew me" in verse 18, and "seest thou" in 22, and "ye see then" in 24). But if you go back to Romans 4 where the SAME illustration (Abraham) is used, you learn that Abraham was justified by his faith alone in the sight of God. God can see our faith, and He can see the future. We can see neither. Thus we need some tangible evidence to view. Any other interpretation here turns the Bible into doubletalk. Let me emphasize: If you want to learn how to be justified in God's sight - check Romans 4. If you want to know how humans can determine if one's faith is genuine, check James 2.
Even Joseph Smith realized the problem with Romans 4's statements, so he chose to add the word "not" to Romans 4:5 (God does NOT justify the ungodly) and in Romans 4:16 he changed the plan of salvation from faith to "faith and works". There is no manuscript evidence to support these changes and that makes Romans 4:16 into doubletalk. You see... if we can know we are saved as soon as we put our FAITH in Christ, then we can be sure of the outcome of that(being justified, entering His presence)....that is what the verse is saying. But when Smith added the "works" concept to it, he just turned it into nonsense, because if it depends on our works, then we cannot be sure of the outcome.
Read the passages he changed both ways and think about it and you will see Smith did not correct or clarify, but perverted the truth. This was a blasphemous thing for Smith to do just because he did not understand the difference between cause and effect, and the difference between how GOD determines our justification as opposed to how HUMANS verify it.
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