Three crucial words: “You see that…

Sola fide, faith alone
“It is faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone”John Calvin

Three simple words and they are often glossed over, confounding one’s reading of one the most misused verses in Scripture. Modern apologists often contend that James 2:24 refutes Sola Fide, the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They often opine that the only time the term “faith alone” appears in Scripture, it follows the words “not by.” Furthering their cause, they claim Martin Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 to counter this. However, three words at the beginning of James 2:24 indicate that it more easily supports than refutes this wonderfully simple and reassuring doctrine. At the very least, they render such rhetorical attacks futile. These words in James 2:24 actually provide support for justification by faith alone, relegating works to their proper place in the economy of salvation.

Many of us who find eternal hope and peace in the words Sola Fide, struggle with this passage of Holy Scripture, when we step outside of our Evangelical bubble and contend with zealous synergists. We invariably jump to more explicit and familiar passages like Romans 3:28, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9 (and there are many more) to defend this doctrine. But we don’t need to run from James 2:24 at all. When you examine it closely, this verse only adds to the overwhelming scriptural support for Sola Fide.

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