Soteriological implicaitons of “another justification”

Without allowing for the historical context given to us in Acts and Galatians, which clearly shows us the theological problems that were happening in Jerusalem and what was being taught there erroneously, and treating James’ letter as an apostolic document (he was not an apostle!) rather than a historical/wisdom document that should be included in the canon as part of the record, one must arrive at conclusions that overthrow Paul’s doctrine of justification.

Different groups have dealt with James in different ways. The Hebrew Roots, JWs, and others simply deny justification by faith and even call Paul a false apostle. Mid-acts dispensationalists have said that James was writing to the Jews who were justified by works, making “another Gospel” for the Jews. The Calvinists “backload” works into the gospel by redefining faith.

However, even those who accept justification by faith apart from works have a different definition of justification from James. They say that Paul’s justification is “forensic,” having to do with the legal court and the clearance of guilt and sin. James, on the other hand, is speaking of a justification by works unto reward and blessing and salvation from “temporal punishment.” They say that this does not interfere with Paul’s doctrine of justification, and it’s okay that they have “another” justification along with his for the “practical” Christian life.

They agree that Abraham was justified by works because when the angel intervened, God said, “because you have not withheld your only begotten son… I will bless you”… and “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” In this view,  Abraham actually secured the promise by his works.

However, we know from Hebrews that Abraham knew that God would raise Isaac from the dead and received him back “in a figure” (Heb 11:17-19). We know that he understood at some level he was acting out prophecy. The words, “your only son” have a special significance (Gen 22:12), especially considering that Isaac was his second son, not his only son. Isaac is a type of Christ. And Abraham called that mountain, ‘the Lord shall provide’ saying ‘in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen’ (Gen 14). Again, he knew he was acting out prophecy, of the one who WOULD offer His son. Abraham was acting in the place of the Father as a type, Isaac as a type of the Son.

And we know from Paul’s clear teaching that The Father cut a covenant with the Son (per Galatians 3 :17) in Genesis 15, and that this was the covenant that secured everything, for Christ, who is the Son of God, and seed of Abraham, and the heir of the promise (Gal 3:16). This was what God was speaking to, and when this scripture was fulfilled when Christ presented His blood, it was God who was actually justified, setting forth Christ as the manifestation of HIS righteousness that HE may be just in passing over sins and justifying those who believe in Jesus. It was also Christ’s justification (1 Tim 3:16) as the last Adam to enter into the position of sonship as a man, and be set over the works of God’s hands (Psalm 8, Heb 2:8-14).

Paul tells us clearly that Abraham was justified in Genesis 15, and that this justification is not just “forensic” (dealing with guilt and the forgiveness of sins in a legal matter) but includes the inheritance, the blessing and the reward, which is not ours, but Christ’s which he shares freely with the joint heirs, the many sons of God who He has been appointed (by the everlasting covenant – Heb 13:21) to shepherd into glory. These sons of God, the joint heirs of Christ, seated with Him in the heavenlies and hidden with Christ in God, were a mystery hidden from previous ages and generations and revealed as the body of Christ as part of the truth that Paul called “the mystery of Christ” which was uniquely his to reveal (Col 1:25-27; Eph 3:3-11). This was not something that James could know, that the Church’s position in Christ by being baptized into Him, clothed with Him, would be to share in His position and place before the Father and share in his inheritance, called the “allotted portion of the saints in light” (Col 1:12-13).

By splitting justification in half and making a “forensic” part (Paul) and a “practical” part unto blessing and reward by works through James, they gut justification of its benefits. The “dumbed” down version is “Paul teaches you’re going to heaven for free, but James says get to work if you want to earn your rewards.” They say this is not salvific. But by saying that Abraham was justified by works in Genesis 22, they are saying that the only reason the everlasting covenant is fulfilled, and the only reason Abraham’s seed is on the throne in the Heavens as the representative of our Great salvation, is because of works righteousness. The reward for Abraham is the salvation that we have inherited. Was it really dependent on Abraham? If he had not gone through with the acting out of the offering of Isaac, would we not be saved today? Would God not have blessed his seed? Would Christ not possess the gate of His enemies, and would His name not be greater than Angels? This is why it is so critical that we stand with Paul’s teaching concerning the timing of Abraham’s justification from Romans 4, which he tells us was before Abraham was circumcised and before He had done any works that could be construed as works righteousness.

Paul tells us in Galatians 3 and Hebrews 6 that the covenant, once ratified, cannot be disannulled, and no conditions can be added to it to make it of no effect or disqualify the heirs. The promise is sure to all the seed by faith, and this promise is not just the forgiveness of sins, but the blessing, which is God Himself as the Spirit. The Gospel preached to Abraham, incidentally, was without reference to sin, and entirely focused on blessing and inheritance, and it was the covenant that God ratified in Genesis 15, confirmed with Christ Himself when Abraham was asleep and God the Oven and the Torch passed through the pieces, that secures our justification and our salvation. So you cannot correctly teach that Abraham was justified by works in Genesis 22 through the offering of Isaac and say that the blessing and the promise was contingent on this work without adding a condition to, nullifying the covenant and disqualifying all the heirs.

Therefore, this tampering with justification is NOT a secondary issue, it is PRIMARY and SALVIFIC in its implications.


Galatians 3:16
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Galatians 3:17
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Genesis 22:12
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Genesis 14:19-20
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Psalm 8
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Hebrews 13:20-21
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Colossians 1:25-27
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Ephesians 3:3-11
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top