Are We Justified By Faith
Or Faith And Works?

Are we justified by faith? Yes.  How do we know?

In the Bible Paul says the following -

Galations 2:16 (KJV)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by  the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


But are we justified by faith only?

Because James says the following -

James 2:17-20 (KJV)

17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

are we justified by faith

So Are We Justified By Faith And Works?

So which is it? Are we justified by faith alone or faith and works?

Is James contradicting Paul? No.

Let's look again at what Paul said in Galatians -

Paul said, “a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ...

Note that Paul didn't say we are not justified by works, he said we are not justified by the works of the law.

are we justified by faith

So we need to know two things -

  1. what law is Paul referring to
  2. what does Paul mean


What Law Is Paul Referring To?

So what law is Paul referring to? Paul tells us what law in chapter 3 of Galatians -

Galatians 3:10 (KJV)

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

So Paul's statements summarized would be, “a man is not justified by the works of the law written in the book of the law.

are we justified by faith

The Book Of The Law

So what laws were written in a book?

Moses wrote laws in a book as instructed by God, when he was on the mount.

Exodus 24:1-4, 7 (KJV)

1. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

2. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.

4. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

7. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.

are we justified by faith

God gave Moses these laws to write after He gave him the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) written on stone by God's own finger.

The children of Israel were expected to obey the laws in the book or be destroyed.

Deuteronomy 28:58-61 (KJV)

58. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God;

59.Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

60. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.

61. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.


God instructed Moses to put the book in the side of the Ark of the Covenant, in the Most Holy Place, in earthly the sanctuary -

Deuteronomy 31:24-26 (KJV)

24. And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,

25. That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying,

26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.


The 10 Commandments written by God were put inside the Ark of the Covenant -


Exodus 31:18 (KJV)

18. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.


Deuteronomy 10:2 & 5 (KJV)

2. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.

5. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.

are we justified by faith

What Are The Laws Of Moses?

So what did the laws of Moses that were written in a book consist of?


The book of the law contained ceremonial laws and ordinances. These were divers laws and ordinances as recorded in Exodus 21- 23, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.

Here are a some examples -

Joshua 8:30-32 (KJV)

30. Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal,

31. As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.


2 Kings 14:6(KJV)

6. But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which Is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.


Luke 2:22 (KJV)

22. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;


1 Corinthians 9:9 (KJV)

9. For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

are we justified by faith

Ordinances For The Services Of The Sanctuary

The book of the law included ordinances for the services of the earthly sanctuary (ceremonial laws)-

Hebrews 9:1 (KJV)

9. Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.


2 Chronicles 23:18 (KJV)

18. Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the Lord by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David.


2 Chronicles 30:15-17 (KJV)

15. Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord.

16. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.


Are we justified by faith alone? No

SO WHAT DID PAUL MEAN?

Are we justified by faith alone? No

So what did Paul mean by no man is justified by the works of the law?

As we have read, the book of the law had ordinances for the services of the earthly sanctuary. Jesus death on the cross abolished theses laws or requirements. Jesus shed his blood for us instead of us having to sacrifice animals. Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the ultimate and final penalty for sin.


Christ blood replaced the blood of animals -

Hebrews 9:12-14 (KJV)

12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?


Ephesians 2:13-15 (KJV)

13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;


Colossians 2:14 (KJV)

14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;


Are we justified by faith and by the works of the law?  No, we Are Not Justified By The Law Of Moses.


Paul meant that we are not justified by the work of the law of Moses, which included animal sacrifices. We now live by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who shed His blood for us.

Acts 13:38-39(KJV)

38. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

When Christ died the Veil of the Temple was torn from the top to the bottom ending the need for the earthly sanctuary services.


Abraham Was Justified By Works

While we are justified by faith in Christ's sacrifice for our sins, God requires us to act or work according to our faith. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab are examples of people who had faith and acted or did works according to their faith. Hebrews 11


James specifically uses Abraham and also Rahab as examples of being justified by works.

James 2:21-25 (KJV)

21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?


So, are we justified by faith and works? Yes, when we believe the word of God and act or work as God requires us.



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