Today’s Scritpure: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? James 2:14
If you have read Reflections In Grace for a while, you probably know what James chapter 2 is talking about. Many people use this passage to say that a man cannot go to Heaven without good works. They say that you need faith plus works to be saved. The above verse is one they often quote.
As we have discussed before, James 2 is talking about judgment (James 2:12) and our faith being seen by men. (James 2:18) In today’s Reflections In Grace, I would like to give you an example that proves that when the Bible says “save, saved, etc.,” it does not always refer to eternal salvation from Hell.
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:15
If every time the Bible said “saved” meant saved from eternity in Hell, then we have a real problem. Men could not be saved because the means by which people are saved is “in childbearing.” Obviously, this verse is not talking about that kind of salvation. That goes to show that the word “saved” can refer to many different things.
If a verse in the Bible seems to say that you must be saved by works, we need to look at the context. The context will answer the question, “Saved from what?” We know that it can’t mean salvation in the sense of eternal life because the Bible clearly states we are saved “Not of works.” (Ephesians 2:9)
If you see a verse that seems to say you must be good to be saved, then look at the context. It will always show what it means, and it will never contradict the rest of the Bible. Context truly is the key to interpreting the Bible.
Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.