[197] Faith perfected works and works perfected faith

20 Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him, for by law is the accurate knowledge of sin. 
21 But now apart from law God's righteousness has been made manifest, as it is borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets; 
22 yes, God's righteousness through the faith in Jesus Christ, for all those having faith. For there is no distinction. 
23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus. 
25 God set him forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. This was in order to exhibit his own righteousness, because he was forgiving the sins that occurred in the past 
26 while God was exercising forbearance; so as to exhibit his own righteousness in this present season, that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous the man that has faith in Jesus. 
27 Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. Through what law? That of works? No indeed, but through the law of faith. 
28 For we reckon that a man is declared righteous by faith apart from works of law. 
29 Or is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of people of the nations? Yes, of people of the nations also, 
30 if truly God is one, who will declare circumcised people righteous as a result of faith and uncircumcised people righteous by means of their faith. 
31 Do we, then, abolish law by means of our faith? Never may that happen! On the contrary, we establish law (Romans 3). 

So under the law of works a man was declared righteous or guiltless or justified in the flesh by faith which perfected his works, and under the law of faith a man is declared righteous in the spirit by works which perfect his faith. The first declaration is truly a declaration of righteousness of faith perfected works, and the second is one of works perfected faith.

In the case of the law of works, our faith establishes it as written in our hearts. In the case of the law of faith, our works establish it as written in our hearts. When we display to God what we are not obligated by law to display then we demonstrate that this law is written in our hearts, or that we do love this law. As is the case with those who have no law of any sort, of whom Paul writes:

13 For the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. 
14 For whenever people of the nations that do not have law, do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law unto themselves. 
15 They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness between them, and between their own thoughts they are being accused or even excused (Romans 2).

So God judges such people on their response to their own conscience. From this they are accused or excused. Furthermore their excusing is a declaration that they are righteous in their works, i.e. righteous in their flesh, because they are not hearers of the law of their conscience only, they are doers of the law of their conscience.

James has Abraham and Rahab perfecting their faith through works, and being declared righteous, in the flesh, by works of faith, in order to prefigure those who will be declared righteous in the spirit by works of faith, he explains and then concludes:

21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 You behold that [his] faith worked along with his works and by [his] works [his] faith was perfected, 
23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says: Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness; and he came to be called: Jehovah's friend (James 2).

A water baptism into faith perfected by works, the opposite of what happened under law. In fact all baptisms are into faith perfected by works, except in cases where a law covenant is involved (either of Moses or of a true Christian church), where the baptism is into the works of law and is then perfected by faith. Adam and Moses had baptisms into works of law. Abraham did not.

24 You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone.
25 In the same manner, was not also Rahab, the harlot, declared righteous by works, after she had received the messenger hospitably and sent them out by another way?
26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (James 2).

So the baptism in holy spirit, which is the free gift of the life of the spirit, the cleanliness in spirit, judicial life, is a baptism which starts with faith and ends with works. But should there be faith with no works then the spirit dies, and also the body then dies in Gehenna. Rahab and Abraham were not under law, so their fleshly baptism was faith then works, just as the holy spirit baptism, the circumcision of the heart, is for Christians. Under law however, the fleshly baptism, the greater circumcision of the flesh, was works then faith. The works of Rahab were to save the spies notwithstanding her less admirable works of prostitution. The point is that love trumps sin.

10 For all those who depend upon works of law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone that does not continue in all the things written in the scroll of the law in order to do them
11 Moreover, that by law no one is declared righteous level with [para] God is evident, because: The righteous one will live by reason of faith
12 Now the law does not adhere to faith, but: He that does them shall live by means of them (Gal 3).

So the righteous decree of the law did not result in living level with God, i.e. judicial life. But it did result in life, he lives in the flesh, in the new system, but the curse is that he cannot get into God's judicially living family.


The Law of Moses was works first perfected by faith.
The 1AC is faith in God first perfected by works of the law of your conscience.
The ICC is works of the church law first perfected by faith God, Jesus and the church
The JAC for those sanctified outside the church is faith in Jesus first, perfected by the work of finding and joining the true church (if not in it when called) and by the works of the law of the church.
The JAC for those sanctified inside the church is works of the church law first perfected by faith in Jesus.

So you can obey your conscience all day long, but without faith in God you are wasting your time from a salvation standpoint. This is because proving you can obey a law is insufficient for salvation unless you are prepared to accept that God is a better judge of morality than you.