“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17, NASB).
James maintains that faith is a two-step process. Belief is the first step of faith and works is the last step.
According to James, faith is not completed without works because works is belief put into action. Faith starts with belief, but works is the culmination of belief. Belief is faith sitting down. Works is faith walking!
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).
In this powerful declaration, the Apostle Paul tells the Galatians of his own life experience as an example to demonstrate that trying to gain justification by the law only exposes not exonerates sinfulness.
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:1-5, HCSB).
Commentators differ as to whether Romans 5 belongs thematically with Chapters 3 and 4 where the Apostle Paul argues for the imputation of righteousness through Christ or with Chapters 6-8 where Paul describes the new life in Christ.
“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” According to the Hebrews writer the new covenant of Jesus is founded on better promises than the old one. While the Mosaic covenant informed people of God’s moral law, convicted them of sin, and established a pattern of sacrifice and priesthood, it did not redeem sinful people; it only offered a promise of redemption that was fulfilled in Christ. Suppose you go to purchase a new car and the car dealer first offers you a deal that’s not affordable for you and so he comes back with a better deal–more options on the vehicle and a better price that enables you to purchase the car. God has offered us a better deal because it has better promises–it redeems us to eternal life. God’s better deal is Jesus Christ, Who as God’s Son is the high priest and mediator of this new covenant.