Reason No. 63: James interprets Paul that way – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive
Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008
The following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:
100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive
Reason No. 16: Straining after the Subjective Genitive Gnat
Many commentators have taken James 2.24 as a deliberate response to Paul, qualifying Paul’s approach to justification by faith. James 2.17-24 employs the same example of Abraham as Paul does in Romans 4:
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. (24) You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
From this passage, we see that James interprets “faith” as “faith in (Christ)” and argues against those (Paul) who proclaim salvation is by ‘faith in’ alone. So, as Barry Matlock argues, if Paul is the target, the passage provides corroboration for an objective genitive interpretation of Paul’s words.
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