|Romans 3:28 |
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.3 [Faith is not belief in Jesus based on the historical accuracy of the Bible; that is Bible faith. Faith is hearing the word of God, who is Jesus, from within your heart, for faith is the gift of God and is authored by revelation from Jesus Christ; faith within justifies; faith within purifies. Hearing Jesus speak to you once does not justify you; you must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature is crucified. We seek to be justified. Further, you are under the law, (the inner law that includes the moral core of the Mosaic law), as schoolmaster until faith has come, Gal 3:25, Gal 5:18. Faith that frees from the law comes with the receipt of the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law. Gal 5:22-23. You are free because you are walking in love, walking according to the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
There is a huge difference between deeds of the law (sacrifices, circumcision, tithing, days, foods, etc.), vs. trying to comply with the moral core of the commandments, (don't steal, don't lie, don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't covet, love your neighbor, etc.). Deeds of the law are worthless, but turning from evil is still essential. Christendom incorrectly tells you that even the moral commandments, (which are included in the law on every man's heart), are void. Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives ? Rom 7:1. Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still alive and still subject to the moral laws. Also Paul said in Gal 5:18, if (and when) you are led (prompted, ordered, commanded) by the Spirit, you are not under the law; until we are under total control of the Spirit of God, the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes the moral core of the Mosaic Law, is our schoolmaster, reminding us of our shortcomings and motivating us to go to God for change. Christendom would have you ignore the essential schoolmaster, which leads to the true, operational faith.
George Fox writes of when you are justified: "a believer that is justified is a new creature, is past from the death which came by sin, and comes to enter into His rest, where there is no sin. He who is the sanctification, is the justification, and so by their sanctification are they justified; it is one and the same, what sanctifies, justifies."]
3 a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. Only faith within justifies; faith is hearing Jesus, the Word, speak to you from in your heart. Rom 10:8,17, Deu 30:10-14, Eph 4:21, John 1:1-4,1:14, Rev 19:13-16. One does not hear the Lord speak to you once to be justified. Every word you hear from the Spirit brings you closer to justification, but you must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive faith at part of the fruit of the Spirit, which frees you from the law and justifies you. Faith must be authored by Jesus, and he authors faith by revelation, but not just by your belief that the Bible truly states Jesus to be the Son of God; that is Bible-faith, not faith authored by Jesus. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you can witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law."
You receive faith at the conclusion of the crucifixion of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial; which gift of faith is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Having been delivered from all sin, Jesus becomes our true Lord, Master, and King, supplying thoughts, our words to speak, and ordering our works to be done — to His and the Father's glory.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace (quietness and confident trust forever), patience (including longsuffering, steadfastness, and perseverance), kindness (including morality and integrity), goodness, faith, gentleness (including meekness and humility), and self-control (mastery of sensual appetites, passions, and desires). Against these there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections]. Gal 5:22-24
When the sinful nature has been put to death, then you walk in love, following the Spirit, fulfilling the law; and then you are truly righteous; and then you are justified. And so a man is justified by faith, when he has been crucified of his selfish, evil spirit on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus in sufficient measure to enter into union with Him. Jesus becomes your true Lord, Master, and King, supplying thoughts, your words to speak, and ordering your works to be done — to His and the Father's glory. Then you have been redeemed, then you are sanctified, then you are justified, then you are righteous.
George Fox writes of when you are justified in his writing The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded:
"a believer that is justified is a new creature, is past from the death which came by sin, and comes to enter into His rest, where there is no sin. He who is the sanctification, is the justification, and so by their sanctification are they justified; it is one and the same, what sanctifies, justifies....Men are justified by the believing, and in the faith and by the faith, and in believing they overcome, and have victory; and there are mortification, and sanctification, and redemption, and justification, all possessed together in the one, which is Christ, and this to the particular satisfaction."
Clearly justification occurs at the second stage of perfection.
We have defined the faith that justifies; now we need to define the works of the law or deeds of the law to which this same verse speaks.
Works of the law count for nothing. Works of the law are the cereal offering, the lamb offering, the bull offering, washings, not eating certain foods, circumcision, tithing, sabbaths, celebration of days, festivals, etc.; these are dead works of the law, decided when to be done by the carnal mind and will of man.
However, there is another class of works: works of faith, which are works that you hear from Christ within your heart command you to do, as you expose yourself to hear His commands by waiting on God; which is to sit in humble silence, listening for His voice and watching for His revelations. To obey the commands of God that you hear him speak to you are operational works of faith, which Paul declared a must and James declared faith without works is dead. These are not dead works that you decide to do; these are works that God wills you to do, and when you do them, you are doing His will on earth as it is done is heaven. These are works of faith done in loving obedience to the commands you hear God speak to you from within your heart. These are works of life too, commanded from the life of God, Christ; and the words he speaks to you impart the life of God. John 6:63. Repetitively seek, wait, watch, listen, hear, believe what you hear or are shown, and obey — and eventually you will have received so much of the life of God that you become cleansed and purified. Then you are directed by God to do works of love to your joy and his glory.
The first class of works you will hear God command you to do are works of repentance — forsaking your evil habits, passions, and pleasures. This is the function of grace: "Teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" Tit 2:12. The commands you hear him speak to you are to be kept, remembered, and obeyed; if he orders you to deny something in your life, you are to keep denying it. The commands you obey and keep are then written in your heart and mind, supplementing the inner the law already on every man's heart; thus the scripture is fulfilled: "I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in their minds [inward understanding]." Heb 10:16. This is the new covenant: "For this is the [new] covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they will be to me a people," Heb 8:10; of which new covenant, Christ is the mediator, managing the condemnation of sins in men's hearts with new laws commanded, which require works of repentance, obedience to which results in cleansing of sins.
True Christians have crucified their selfish spirit to become a new creature, whose thoughts, words, and works are ordered by God. To obey God's voice and do the works he orders is to love God — such are works of love for Him.
And what about the moral commandments of the Law: love your neighbor as you love yourself; don't steal; don't commit adultery; don't lie; don't covet; don't murder; and honor your father and mother? Clearly to observe these commandments is not works of the law; a work is not to cease murder today, or to not commit adultery tonight, or to not lie this afternoon, or to love your neighbor today, or take an hour to love God, etc. These commandments are the moral core of the law and are a part of the law written on every man's heart, whose conscience bears witness, while their thoughts accuse or excuse them, and by which God will judge them. Rom 2:8-16; these commandments have not been annulled by faith in Jesus or grace and must be kept in mind by any who wish to please God.
Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? Rom 7:1.
While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law). Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still under the law; until then you are still walking in restricted flesh; until then the law is your schoolmaster. Until Christ replaces your nature, mind, and spirit with His so that your fleshly nature is dead, you are under the law. When Christ controls your thoughts, words, and deeds, then the law no longer has dominion over you because the selfish "you" has died. Even those who know no law have the inner law on their hearts by which a man is judged and which has dominion over him until the death.
There is an inner law is written on every man's heart that makes us feel bad when we lie or steal or disrespect our parents. This law includes the external moral laws: do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. Every man will be judged by God according to the inner law; no man is excused from this law for any reason, and it has never been annulled or cancelled. The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives, Rom 7:1; the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes moral core of the outward law, is our schoolmaster until we have crucified our sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness; any of these disqualify any man from heaven.
A man innocent of all the above fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure, 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; as he is, so are we in this present world, 1 John 4:17.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- "The law is in every man's heart, and it must be obeyed; the supreme law — never been cancelled.
- You cannot pass the moral commandments and be a Christian.
- You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey.
- Be on your guard at all times to be sure your words do not reflect the fruits of the flesh.
- Restraint of sin is not enough; salvation is being freed from even the desire of your sins.
- Only a heart that is purged of sin is acceptable to God."
As you wait on God, the commands requiring your repentance that you hear from the Spirit are new laws of the new covenant, written in your heart:
"For this is the [new] covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they will be to me a people."Heb 8:10
The words he speaks to us are spirit and life, imparting the life of God to us as his spoken words are engrafted into our heart, John 6:63, James 1:21. These words are teachings and commands; those commands requiring your repentance become laws that he puts into our mind and writes them into our heart. Each law you receive is added to the inner law in your heart. From the Word of the Lord within: "When you have heard the dead words in the Bible and recall them, heed what is said; always obedient to His commands. You must obey every law the Spirit establishes." When you obey the commands to repent, by grace even the desire for that sin is removed from your heart. This process is repeated, first with your actions, then your words, and then your thoughts; until you have crucified your carnal mind and sinful nature —this is how you die to the law by means of the law.
For you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands tailored to your life's circumstances and that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws because you are continuously guided by the Lord who supplies your every word to be spoken and everything to do.
Paul makes it very plain that if you do not obey the inner law and moral laws, you have no salvation and no inheritance in the Kingdom of God:
Clearly all laws cannot be dead, when disobedience to the laws keeps you out of the kingdom and salvation. The law is not dead and a believer in Jesus is not exempt from being banned from heaven when still sinning at death. The moral commandments have not been annulled by faith in Jesus or grace. We must strive to obey all the moral commandments until we are under total control of the Spirit of God; then we fulfill the law walking in obedience to the God's promptings. Until you have been freed from all sin; until you have been translated into the Kingdom of God, until you are an entirely new creature, until Christ has been revealed in you so that you behold his face, you must strive to obey the moral laws, all written on the heart of every man.
You cannot be saved and justified by trying to observe the commandments or by doing works of the law. Salvation and justification come by faith within that purifies your heart and soul through his grace. It is impossible to completely love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, or to love you neighbor equally as you love yourself until the power of God actually circumcises your heart from all selfishness and evil. But trying to observe these moral commandments, turning from evil as best we can, is a prerequisite to sincerely seeking God and his salvation; in the beginning you can't control your mind yet, you can't totally control your mouth yet, but you can control your hands and feet from running to and grasping evil. If you think you are saved, simply because you believe Jesus is the Son of God, was resurrected from the dead, etc., or because you were also baptized in water, then you have a form of godliness without the power of God to cleanse you, purify you, circumcise your heart, and make you holy; which when completed, the love of God is perfected in you and you fulfill the law.
Christendom's ignoring the moral commandments as a works of the law is ridiculous; that makes a work of the law include someone who decides to "cease adultery;" when clearly God looks with favor on someone who repents of evil.
Even worse, since whoever of you tries to be justified by the law has fallen from grace, and Christ has become of no benefit to you, Gal 5:4; then, following the faulty logic, (that observing the moral commandments of the law is works of the law), should you decide not to steal, you have lost your salvation through grace and faith in Jesus. Christendom's twisted logic of just "faith in Jesus," ignoring the moral commandments and classifying their observation as works, makes Jesus the author of lawlessness; it makes the blood of Jesus an unholy thing, an excuse for continuing in sin and ignoring all laws, a license for immorality; and in teaching this doctrine, the blind guides of Christendom have cast the law behind their back and led billions of their "believers" into the pit of destruction. From the Word of the Lord within: "they totter to the slaughter;" drunk with their lusts, passions, pride, and pleasures. This is a doctrinal error of colossal magnitude; it is a breakage of the covenant of God.
Until we can hear the Spirit of God teach us by grace to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes the moral laws, is our schoolmaster that that reminds us of our shortcomings and motivates us to go to God for his changing grace.
Before you can hear the Word of the Lord within your heart to guide you, the first works for all are repentance, which John the Baptist told us were the prerequisite to seeking the kingdom of heaven:
Repent: think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct. Matt 3:2
Share from your excess with those who are without the necessities of life. [This is very key to your success in receiving God's favor.]
Be honest in all your dealings, never exaggerating or overreaching anyone.
Don't oppress people or frighten anyone, don't lie, don't want more, don't complain. Luke 3:10-14
And before you can hear the Word of the Lord within your heart to guide you, the inner law on every man's heart that is still alive, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law), is our schoolmaster.
The moral core of the law is: love your neighbor as you love yourself; and don't steal; and don't commit adultery; and don't lie; and don't covet; and don't murder; and honor your father and mother; do for others as you would have them do for you, etc.
Clearly to observe these moral commandments as best we can, while waiting for the Spirit's direction, is not doing works of the law.
The moral laws remind us of our shortcomings and motivates us to go to God to receive his heart and soul purifying grace,
— to become free of all sin, even the desire to sin,
— to be able to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might, and
— to be able to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus is recorded as telling us that it would be better for us to cut off the hand or foot that sins, or pluck out the eye that sins, than be sent to Hell.
Jesus is recorded as telling us to repent and sin no more many times.
When you can hear the Spirit of God from within your heart, as you wait on the Lord and listen to the Lord, he will command further repentance in your life.
The commands you hear Him speak to you are to be kept, remembered, and obeyed; if he orders you to deny something in your life, you are to keep denying it.
——"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
——"Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." Rev 3:20,3.
The commands you obey and keep are then written in your heart and mind, supplementing the inner law already on every man's heart;
thus the scripture is fulfilled: I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in their minds [inward understanding]. Heb 10:16
As you continue to obey His commands to you, you are eventually purified by his grace that teaches you how to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world, until you are redeemed from all sins and purified for Himself a people of His very own with a zeal for good works. Tit 2:11-14
From the Word of the Lord within: "We go to him, and he rains help on us; well does this exercise of God purify those who do."
We seek by waiting on the Lord in silent humility as we listen, watch, hear, and obey God's voice. The words we hear him speak to us impart the life of God to us, John 6:63.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Everybody who believes the son, shall be made perfect." To believe him speaking to you is true faith. True faith purifies.
Doing this repetitively over time is how we are able to comply with the Bible's stated requirements that Christendom ignores to protect their false doctrines:
——be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, Mat 5:48
——be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36
——become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
——as He who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15
——so that we walk as He walked, 1 John 2:6, and
——as He is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17
This is how we rid ourselves of the fruits of the flesh that disqualify us from any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.
This is how to mortify the sins in your body and become totally free of sin, even the desire to sin.
This is how to carry your cross and follow Jesus, by denial of your own will and obeying the commands he speaks to you.
This is how to witness passing from death to life (of God), to experience Jesus bring to you your salvation and the eternal life of God.
After purification, then God prompts you to do good works to his glory and your joy.
Faith, which does not motivate, energize, and produce works, is dead.
Works of love, energized and prompted by God are essential.
James said, "faith without works is dead." James 2:17.
James further said, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." James 2:24.
Many people think Paul conflicts with James; but of course James and Paul don't conflict, and never would conflict.
In the below scriptures, Paul is speaking in context of works of the law: sacrifices, tithing, washings, Sabbaths, feasts, restrictions of foods, circumcision, etc.
——Know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, Gal 2:16, (hearing him, believing him, and obeying him)
——A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Rom 3:28.
Paul has disdain for works of the law, but he is grossly misunderstood to include all the law, including the moral commands.
——No man is justified by the law in the sight of God. Gal 3:11. This verse alone, without looking at its context with the previous verse, is part of the error.
——For all who rely on works of the law are under the curse. Gal 3:10.
But Paul makes it very clear that the consequences of sin still apply to every man, and works of love energized by obedient faith are required and esteemed.
Paul says obedience to the inner law written on every man's heart is required until you are totally led by the Spirit of God:
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18
The law is your schoolmaster, until faith has come, Gal 3:24-25, which comes with the receipt of the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23.
A mature Christian is filled with love and fulfills, even exceeds, the the law, continually walking in obedience to God's commands that he hears.
From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." Faith that frees from the law comes with the receipt of the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law. Gal 5:22-23.
Up to this time, as you are hearing the Spirit of Grace within convict you of sin and teach you about righteous living, you are in the Ministry of Condemnation, yet to receive the ministry of righteousness, yet to receive the end of grace, still subject to the Law of Sin and Death, still walking after the flesh and carnal mind, yet to receive the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, yet to be in Christ, yet to be dead to the law through the law, and yet to walk after the Spirit's prompting of your thoughts, words, and deeds.
The only thing that counts works activated and energized through loving obedience to what God directs you to do.
And let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good works. Heb 10:24
Paul is not saying that you can ignore the moral laws — to be unloving, immoral, covetous, given to pleasures, angry, etc.
Paul said: I proclaimed...that they should repent and turn to God, and do works consistent with repentance. Acts 26:20
Paul said, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12
Again Paul said, grace, results in a people zealous for good works. Titus 2:14
Paul said: Charge those who are rich in this world not to be high minded,
nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy;
[Charge] that they do good, to become rich in good works, to be generous, sharing with others. 1 Tim 6:17-18
If you live in a prosperous, industrialized nation, you are rich, compared to the rest of the world. So be rich in good works.
Paul said: glory, honor, and peace, are to every man who works good. Rom 2:10.
Paul said: To those who by perseverance in good works, seek for glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. Rom 2:7
Peter said: whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:35
Peter again: make every effort to add to your faith virtue.. knowledge.. self control.. perseverance .. godliness. 2 Pet 1:5-6
Jesus said, Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3. Repentance requires effort on your part.
And, As many as I love, I chastise [reprove, discipline]. Be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev 3:19 (Zealous means filled with ardent desire, enthusiastic).
Jesus further said, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. Mat 11:29
Jesus said, If any man desire to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
In His messages to the seven churches, Jesus mentions to every church how their works are key.
Jesus said, I have not found your works perfect before God. Rev 3:2-3. He wants perfect works, energized by faith.
Hear! Jesus said: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Luke 13:24
The doctrine of no works would have you believe striving is unnecessary, yet Jesus ordered us to strive, (to make every effort),
Jesus further says, the gate is narrow and compressed which leads to life, which few will find,
and many I say to you will seek to enter and will not be able to. Mat 7:14, Luke 13:24. (Don't Jesus' warnings seriously conflict with just believing in Jesus?)
Gentle reader — heed what Jesus is saying. Your having said a sinner's prayer and gotten wet is not hard to find or do.
Do not work for food that perishes, but [instead work] for the food that endures
to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you; ... I am the Bread of Life.
The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:27,48,63
God's grace and salvation are provided to create a people dedicated to good works!
Those who have been experiencing the Spirit's removal of sin from their hearts, love the light and eagerly come to the light for further destruction of sin.
Those who have been freed from sin, eagerly come to the light to be directed by God to do works of love, to their joy and God's glory.
A man comes to the light by waiting on God in silence, watching and listening in hope of change by Jesus.
Those who come to the light, love Christ, as evidenced by their obedience to the truth.
God judges every man by his words and deeds; every man means no exceptions — every man, even those who believe in Jesus:
You cannot be justified without faith in Christ, who enlightens all men in the world. However, faith without resulting works, starting with repentance, counts for nothing. You cannot just say "I believe" and live in your sinful nature without obedience. Works of love energized by faith, are esteemed and required by God. As Paul said in Rom 2:10: glory, honor, and peace, are to every man who works good. Works of love, works of obedience to the voice of the Lord, cessation of lying, cessation of stealing, cessation of adultery, etc., are not works of the law. Works of the law are special foods, cleansings, sacrifices, ceremonies, rituals, tithing, sabbaths, etc.; and such works are dead works done by the will of man, (man deciding which ones to do), while works of loving obedience to the commands heard spoken to a man by God are works of obedient faith — that is how to do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven, your prayer of a thousand times.
Yes, we are justified by faith within, just like our hearts are purified by faith within, just like our souls are purified by obedience to the truth. But true faith has to be operational, producing works of repentance, including the carrying of our cross; operational faith that Paul speaks of as being the process of obedience to the leading of the Spirit. A true Christian is his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, Eph 2:10; created by Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. Tit 2:14. What works does Christ create us to do? Not works of the law, but rather works of obedience at his direction: 1) works of repentance, and 2) works that are prompted, directed, and energized by God. Obedient works are the only works of your life that are not burned up at judgment, when every man is judged by his works. God wants sons who do his will on earth, as it is done in heaven. God wants sons of love to show the love of God to the whole world that lies in wickedness — by works of love to his glory.
To become a son of God, we must receive the grace of God by seeking Him: waiting on God in silence, listening, hearing, believing what he says or shows us, and obeying — repetitively until we see the face of Jesus appear in our hearts to bring our salvation.
Faith is the process of following the listened-to and heard commands of Jesus from within your heart (believing Jesus); by obedience a person is cleansed, purified, justified, and saved. Paul speaks of faith coming to free us from the law as our schoolmaster. In Gal 5:18, he says: if (and when) you are led (prompted, ordered, commanded) by the Spirit, you are not under the law. So he has defined faith to being in obedience to the Spirit's leading. So faith is to follow the commands heard from the Spirit of God, from the Lord. This is a major clarification of the definition of faith, as Paul further tells us that he preaches the word of faith which is in our hearts and mouths, and faith comes by hearing the word; and Jesus says, Blessed are those who hear the word of God and "keep" it. So faith is to hear the word within, and believe it to be the Son of God speaking to you, and then to keep it [obey it, practice it], repeatedly.
Note! Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ.. As believers, we must seek to be justified. Just by believing in Jesus, we are not automatically justified. Likewise by faith one is purified; but obviously by just believing in Jesus, one does not become instantly pure.
We are not instantly justified, cleansed, purified, or saved. As Paul said we seek to be justified by Christ and he said we must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Phil 2:12; and now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Rom 13:11. Paul is speaking of not being justified by the ordinances, sacrifices, and washings of the law; but he is not saying that we can steal, lie, murder, covet, and commit adultery as long as we believe in Jesus.
Martin Luther, the principal founder of Protestantism in the Reformation, found this verse to be the cornerstone of his new definition of salvation and justification. He was so intent that he translated this verse to read: "man is justified by faith alone and not by works of the law." He called the Epistle of James "an epistle of straw" because James said that "faith without works is dead, " works being obedience to commands heard from the Voice of the Lord. Luther did not understand faith to be hearing the Word of God from within one's heart; neither did he understand that works of obedient love to the spoken commands heard from God differ from works of the law, which are done in man's will and are typically sacrifices, ceremonies, observation of days, tithes, circumcision, etc. So Luther, failing to understand that works of the law differed from works of faith, concluded that anyone who believed in Jesus was justified and saved. Luther obviously could not hear the voice of the Lord, and so concluded in error that Paul and James were in conflict. The reason that Luther could not hear the voice of the Lord is because he was preaching and teaching errors, and so he was leading people into captivity — the continued captivity of slavery to sin. Luther's false faith, false salvation, and false justification then became the cornerstone of Protestant doctrine; but alas, the Protestant cornerstone is only sand, and when the storm comes, great will be the destruction of those Protestants who built on it.
When Luther published his Bible in Germany, it was a sensation. Depraved people listened to his teaching on faith and justification and concluded they were saints; some concluded they were prophets; some concluded they were apostles. They began to grossly misinterpret other passages in the Bible, (after all, they were saints — right), including "the meek shall inherit the earth" to mean that the upper classes' property was theirs by divine right; and so they organized the Lord's Army of 300,000 men, and began to rape, plunder, and kill 100,000 Catholics and the nobility in The Peasants' War.
When Luther reached this false conclusion, he was a Catholic priest; and the Catholics then and now believe that a man is saved by a good life; and a good life to the Catholics consists of good works done, not in obedience to the voice of the Lord, but in the will of man; because the Catholic priests and hierarchy could not hear the voice of the Lord either, the only way they could interpret Matthew 25:31-48, Jesus' parable of the separation of sheep and the goats based on works, were works done in the will of men. And so neither have the Catholics ever understood faith or salvation.
Because similar pernicious doctrines were already creeping into Christendom during the time of the early church in Jerusalem, James ridiculed such doctrines with his statements of: 1) faith without works is dead, and 2) You say you believe that there is one God; you do well. Even the demons believe that, and tremble. Although James was an Apostle, a natural brother of Jesus, and a pillar of the church in Jerusalem, and the successor to Peter as head of the Apostle's Council, (all of which made him much greater in Christ than Luther), Luther considered his opinions superior to James. Luther also had disdain for the books of Esther, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation.
In his arrogance, Luther had harsh words for the book of Revelation, saying that he could "in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it." He justified his rejection of the apostolicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation because the early Roman Catholic church categorized these books as antilegomena, meaning that they were not accepted without reservation as canonical. Luther failed to understand what the word "faith" actually meant; faith is hearing the word of God, which is in your heart and mouth to obey, Rom 10:8,17; he thought it was just believing in Jesus being the Son of God based on belief in the Bible's record, the common misinterpretation of John 3:16. To believe in the Son is to believe what you hear the Son tell you to do: that his words are true, and so you obey him. Those who have received him in the light, while believing in his name, have the power to become a Son of God, not be a son of God; we must exercise and grow our faith by seeking God: waiting on God in silence, listening, hearing, believing what he says or shows us, and obeying — repetitively until we see the face of Jesus appear in our hearts to bring our salvation.
Contrast Luther's disdain for selected books of the Bible with the early Quakers, who never breathed a word of doubt or criticism of the books in the Bible. To the contrary, they embraced them all and quoted from them all, finding them all wholly compatible with their understandings. (George Fox pointed out a few errors in translation, but never questioned the validity of any book in the Bible.)
Luther and the Protestant founders fell into the exact error that Peter warned about in reading Paul's letters: There are some things in his letters which are hard to understand, which those who are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist] to their own destruction, as they also do the other scriptures. Therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also, being led away by the error of the wicked, 2 Pet 3:16-17, which is to presume instant salvation, still immersed in sin, just by believing that Jesus is the son of God. The error of the wicked is to think wickedness (sin) is excused by grace, which Jude also denounced. If you want to more detail on this same subject, Margaret Fox has an outstanding writing on this site available for further understanding. Believing is not salvation, as Paul eleven times emphasizes writing to believers:
And Peter echoes the same message that salvation is not just believing or faith, rather salvation is the end of faith's obedient journey and requires growth:
Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In that greatly rejoice though it is necessary to suffer a few griefs through various trials,
so that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tried with fire, might result in praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; though you do not see him now,
but believe in him, you rejoice with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory,
Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:5-9
As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, so that you may grow up to salvation. 1 Pet 2:2
Salvation, deliverance from sin, occurs when you experience the grace of God (Christ) bring it to you, when Christ destroys the selfish spirit in you by the spirit of his mouth and by the brightness of his coming, when he crushes the head of Satan under your feet. 2 Thes 2:8, Rom 16:20
Faith without works is dead: the ancient controversy of Christendom.
The Protestants battle cry is, "not by works, by faith; not by works, by grace. So we don't have to do anything to be saved. We are saved already."
The Catholics cry: "faith without works is dead," and so "a man is saved by a good life," referencing at judgment the sheep and goats are separated on the basis of good deeds. Mat 25:31-48
The Catholics are closer to the truth because every man is judged by his words and works;
however, a kind whoremonger, or a loving drunk, or a kind covetous person, or a philanthropic immoral person, or a loving liar, etc., whatever their good works, anyone who dies with fruits of the flesh will not be spared the fury of God.
It is impossible to lead a "good life" unless you are prompted by God what good deeds to do;
and unless your selfish spirit is crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to have the Spirit of Christ take its place on the throne in your heart, you will not be prompted by God what good deeds to do — your faith will be dead, and your supposed salvation will be shockingly revealed as a lie that you loved more than the truth.