FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

Yankee gave me permission to post his newsletter, as Tom Cucuzza did also regarding his answer. This newsletter was written by Yankee as a response to his critics who falsely accuse him of backloading the gospel.

Dr. Ralph “Yankee” Arnold

March 27, 2023

Introduction: Am I guilty of back-loading the gospel with works if I preach the Christian responsibility of service? All believers of all times have only been saved by faith alone. No-one has ever been saved by the inclusion of any works of man. No doubt it is very difficult for some people to believe that a man may go to Heaven without deserving it.

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 

Romans 11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 

There should be no doubt that salvation cannot include works, but we must set aside these verses and verses like them that say, FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD, or that BY WORKS A MAN IS JUSTIFIED, AND NOT BY FAITH ONLY”. These verses indicate a clear contradiction or a different topic all together. It is this distinction that I wish to discuss.

James 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

James 2:24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

These following statements are clearly to the believer on how to serve and does not reference the lost on how to be saved.

NOTICE: James is written to warn believers that living by faith is evidenced by good works. 

James 1:2  My brethren

James 1:16  Do not err, my beloved brethren

James 1:19  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 

James 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 

James 2:1  My brethren

James 2:14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? 

James 3:1  My brethren

James 4:11  Speak not evil one of another, brethren

James 5:7  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.

When works are mentioned to many of God’s children, they fail to see that it does not necessarily mean you are backloading the gospel with works and are guilty of teaching legalism (by placing the believer under the law for spirituality. A man is not a legalist just because he teaches that we should live according to the scriptures laid down by God.

Some will pride themselves in declaring that they are living by grace or living by faith while shunning responsibility to clear-cut scriptures that demands a commitment to service. They may not understand that living by faith without works in the meaning of James 2:26. (Faith without works is DEAD!!!)

Some will accuse those who labor for the Lord of doing it all in the energy of the flesh for their own glory. Is it faith without works or works without faith? Would it not be correct to say, it is “Faith that produces Works”? Please note: I am not saying that service is guaranteed in the Christian life.

Notice how God describes living by GRACE.

Hebrews 12:28  ….. let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 

2 Cor. 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 

1 Cor. 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

Titus 2:11-12  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 

Wasn’t Paul teaching that faith without works is dead? 

Remember: There are many who claim to love the Lord so much that they do nothing for him because they want to give all the honor and praise to the Lord. They sometimes seem to mock and condemn true service to the Lord by accusing those serving of self-glorification. But the truth is, their work and labor of love for the Lord may reveal the slothfulness and hypocrisy of the accusers.”

Notice how God describes living by FAITH.

Those who claim to be living by faith, but do nothing tangible to/for the saved or lost are fulfilling the verse that says in 

James 2:14, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

Faith without works cannot save a believer from the correcting hand of God. They will be and should be justified in our eyes by their good works.

Hebrews 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back (doesn’t produce works-yankee), my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 

The scriptures in Hebrews 11 teaches us what living by faith REALLY means. Notice the following verses explain how Faith and Works go together. It is their works that prove their faith.

Works are the visible evidence of the invisible faith that cannot be seen.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith can only be seen by works.

Please remember that this message has absolutely nothing to do with getting saved, staying saved, or proving you are saved. Salvation is always totally free without any commitments to works. Service (how we should live once we are saved is another issue totally separate from salvation).  When the Lord set us free, it means we are free to choose to be obedient or disobedient. Obedience to the Lord is not burdensome to the believer who loves the Lord. Disobedience is the free choice of every believer who must also accept the consequences of their fleshly or carnal minded choices.

As the world reveals the works of the invisible God, even so, the believer’s works reveals their invisible faith.

Hebrews 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 

Notice that the great cloud of Old Testament witnesses revealed their faith by their works.  Conclusion was, No works=No faith.

(Comment Holly: Reminder, Yankee already explained, “These following statements are clearly to the believer on how to serve and does not reference the lost on how to be saved.” So do not think he is saying this means you never believed, but that there is no demonstration of a working faith to others.) 

*PLEASE SEE PASTOR’S EXPLANATION AT THE END OF THE BLOG, FOR THOSE WHO WONDERED AT HIS STATEMENT.

To some, the very thought of serving the Lord for rewards would rob God of his glory. They may truly epitomize the saying that, “some are so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good”.  They will often come across as being very spiritual in their speech, but that is exactly what the carnal, fleshly, baby-minded believers were doing to the great Apostle Paul in Corinth.

Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them

Romans 16:18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 

Romans 16:19  For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: (Your  obedience is a rebuke to their slothfulness and hypocrisy.)

They may not attack their fellow-believers who sit in the stands, but they may not hesitate to injure their fellow-soldiers who are fighting in the arena. While they mock those who are sound in doctrine and pursue souls with the clarity of the gospel, they humbly exalt their own hyper-spiritual attitudes by claiming perfect peace by resting in the Lord. 

James 2:18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

Our souls are to rest completely in the Lord’s promises, grace, provisions, open doors, and power of the Holy Spirit while with the body we labor in obedience to his Godly commands. This statement is proven by the following scriptures.

Hebrews 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice

Hebrews 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

Hebrews 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark

Hebrews 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called …obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 

Hebrews 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: This verse explains the reason for this statement found in James 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? This proves that James two is referring to service and not salvation.

The rest of Chapter 11 continues to tell the same story about those who lived by faith by what they didNotice: What was one of the motives of these Old Testament saints to live by faith. THEY BELIEVED THE PROMISES OF GOD. They trusted what the Lord said to be true, whether it was rewards, a city, or a better resurrection.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

Hebrews 11:26  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 

Hebrews 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar offand were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 

Hebrews chapter 12 tell the story about those who chose not to live by faith and their consequences. It brought the chastening hand of their heavenly father.

Hebrews 12:5  … My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: Hebrews 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 

Why would the Father chasten His children if how they live didn’t really matter? Isn’t it evident that not all of God’s children are walking in obedience to their Father?

1 Peter 1:14-15  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 

Faith without works is a present judicial decision from God on his children that may have consequences in this present life or at the judgement seat of Christ. No consequences of any sin of any believer can ever result in separation from God in Hell.

A warning to the believer

My advice to new believers is obey him until you love him. I would rather have my heavenly Father’s blessings on my life, than to grieve the Holy Spirit by my sins of omission and receive the chastening hand of my Father.

1 Cor. 11:28-32  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 

If you don’t believe these verses teach what I claim they do, do not just arbitrarily dismiss them, ask your Heavenly Father what He really meant when He gave them. Are you willing to follow truth regardless of where it may lead? If the Lord desires you to labor for him, do you have a problem with that? You only get one life to live for the Lord, you need to get this right. I love you and want the best for you.

Yankee Arnold (see Pastor Yankee’s blog here)

From Tom Cucuzza to Yankee: (see Tom’s online Bible Commentary here)

Yankee,

Great article. I could really relate to this section: “My advice to new believers is obey him until you love him.” I would rather have my heavenly Father’s blessings on my life, than to grieve the Holy Spirit by my sins of omission and receive the chastening hand of my Father.”

That’s how it was for me as a young Christian. I didn’t love the Lord then like I do today. But I was in love with the gospel. As I shared the gospel and ran a Ranch, I was not only fruitful through obedience but over time I fell in love with the Lord as well. Christ and the gospel. There is nothing better! 

God bless you all,

Tom

From Holly to Yankee

I definitely have had my legitimate Father’s hand on me many times in my life. When I realized it, I had tears. What spoke to me was not the sorrow I had experienced through life, through chastening (because of choices of my own), but that He did it because He loved me — because I was His legitimate child. He disciplines me in love to keep me from harm. He also does it for the sake of other believers I can affect, and the harm to His name. I prayed for those I may have affected when I was in poor doctrine and not walking in the Light. Come back home dear believer who isn’t fellowshipping with your Father. The pig slop was still on me, we can’t clean up first, we need to come to Him. He loves you and will come out to meet you (Luke 15:11-32, the Prodigal Son pp).


* PASTOR YANKEE’S RESPONSE
Holly,

I had several who were a little confused as to my meaning to a phrase, No works = No Faith, to which I needed to explain. Use it if you like but I do believe I need to explain more. Thank you.

Dear…………..,

……, I see your point, but let me try to shed some light from a different perspective.

Your example, I believe, is a dead battery may have no power, but you still have a battery. Dead works does not mean a person has no faith or does not believe something; they just may not act upon it. So, my previous statement of no works = no faith would mean “no power = no battery”. So you see Yankee, you can have faith without works. I see your point because I have used that example myself.

My point was this. The conclusion in man’s eyes would be, if there are no works there may not be any faith because a man cannot see faith. With the Lord it is different.

Jas 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (These two words (Being Alone) explains what being dead means. God can see faith, but man cannot.

In the eyes of man, he says SHEW ME THY FAITH WITHOUT WORKS And I Will SHEW THEE MY FAITH BY MY WORKS. IN MAN’S EYES THE CONCLUSION was, No works=No faith as far as man is concerned. It has no profit .

FOR THE BELIEVER:

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. If you want people to glorify your Father, let them see your good works.

Tit 3:8  This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. 

Show me thy love without works and I will show you my love by my works (by my physical expressions in word or deed).

Show me thy compassion without works and I will show you my compassion by my works (by my physical expressions in word or deed).

Show me thy patience without works and I will show you my patience by my works (by my physical expressions in word or deed).

Show me thy joy without works and I will show you my joy by my works (by my physical expressions in word or deed).

Show me thy peace without works and I will show you my peace by my works (by my physical expressions in word or deed).

Without showing these things, a person may conclude that I don’t have any Love, Patience, Joy, Forgiveness, Compassion, and so forth. I believe your Walk in the Spirit will result in the Work of the Spirit that will produce the Fruit of the Spirit.

I could have made that a little clearer. Thank you, Yankee.

 

15 Responses to “FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

  • I was wondering if you know of Gene Kim and what you think of his doctrine? He seems to be Free Grace like you guys but I dont know enough to tell the difference yet.

    • His name is familiar, but I’m not sure. Start with the gospel, see where he lands there. Make sure he doesn’t backload at all, and just be a Berean. Don’t be in a hurry to listen through any teaching. But again, I have recommendations on my page which I have vetted, you could start there. Love in Him.

      • Oki doki thank you 🙂

        • Hi Jenny, Always appreciate you asking, it’s just kind of hard to keep track of everyone of course.

          • Gage Clark
            1 year ago

            Hey, sorry to interject. Just want to give a quick heads up on Gene Kim. A fair bit of his doctrine is alright (he was actually the first person I ever heard who gave the proper meaning of Matthew 7:22-23 and who showed glaring scriptural issues against Calvinism) but he frequently branches into weird directions, particularly as it relates to end-times prophecy among other things. I love a good mystery, and Biblical prophecy helped me realize the truth of scripture, but at times Gene almost seems to stretch the meaning of scripture while blending it obscure theories. I will say that he speaks on being saved by faith alone in many videos, but his other messages can be questionable in my opinion.

            Again, sorry to interject. Also, Holly, thanks for all you do here and over with expreacherman. You and the others there have been a great resource for me.

          • Gage, great to see you, so happy you shared. I had some check with him, I did not remember why at all, just the name and so I didn’t want to wrongly say anything. So I appreciate that. I really want to be careful with anyone who doesn’t handle His Word with fear and trembling (Is 66:2). We have to be so careful, so please don’t apologize, so happy that you commented. So appreciated, love in Christ, Holly

          • Oh I understand, I appreciate you always answering. It has been rough for me mentally lately and the support has been a blessing. No worries!

          • You will get so much from His Word sister, keep on keeping on (John 8:31-32), take His yoke and learn from Him (not a salvation verse as learning isn’t part of receiving the free gift). But we get burdened, we need His rest, and we get it from Him, He is gentle and humble, praying for rest for your soul.

            Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30

  • Thanks Gage. I also saw those videos and tend to avoid those cause I got a weird feeling from those. They did feel like too much or too far out there to me. But thank you! No need to apologize for interjecting its appreciated 🙂

  • Hi, I really enjoy this blog. Thanks for all the help in understanding God’s word. It’s a blessing!

    That being said, I have a question on 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: They name all of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God, and name people who commit a bunch of types of wicked sins.

    How do you interpret these verses?

    Some (other) interpretations amount to those folks can’t go to Heaven, or that they were never really Christians at all.

    My thought was that their faith was dead without works. Then they won’t receive reward for their works. So, they won’t inherit the kingdom of God, but they will still be there in the kingdom, just without an inheritance. Is this correct?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    I’m spiritually young (maybe a babe in Christ) and trust there are more mature ones here who can help.

    • Hi Matt, so sorry, I have been getting ready for a trip, so haven’t been caught up on comments.

      There are several passages similar to 1 Cor 6:9-10 — Eph 5:1-12, Gal 5:19-26, Romans 1:18-32. The key is kind of found in the passage below, although there are longer explanations. I have meant to do a blog on it for awhile.

      It is flesh and blood, incorruption, that will not inherit His kingdom. We shall ALL be changed. We is all believers, and we are seen as incorruptible, because we were born again of an incorruptible seed (1 Pet 3:9), and that new creation cannot sin (1 John 3:9), although our flesh still does (Rom 7:15-25).

      1 Cor 15:50-58

      50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor 15:50-58

      Keep in mind too, the difference between righteous and unrighteous. Demonstrating our faith vs. not. Let me know if that helps, there are a couple more explanations out there from reliable pastors, let me see if I can find you a couple of links. Love in Christ.

      • Holly, thank you so much. All 3 comments are quite helpful. It’s good to see that there are valid explanations that do not corrupt the simplicity of Christ and the gospel message.

        I think similar principles apply to the book of Jude (1 chapter, just 24 verses). It seems like a call to behavior for believers, but some will twist it similarly to the way they twist the passages you mentioned above.

        What do you think?

        • Hi Matt, Jude and 2 Peter 2 are a bit more difficult, especially when it talks about ‘children’ and ‘people’, but we have to recognize Peter’s audience (which Jude also quotes the same) is Jewish. (not that I’m suggesting a different way of salvation, but that they understood about these three individuals and what they did). Reminds me a bit of Matthew where it speaks of children of the kingdom yet some will not inherit the kingdom. Some try to say that speaks to some sort of Outer Darkness, vs. Jesus’s initial audience (I came not for the lost sheep of the House of Israel). The children of Israel were promised the Kingdom, they were the children of the Kingdom, so there was believing children and unbelieving children or unbelieving people among ‘the people’. These seem to be clearly non-believers

          So in Jude, it speaks of Cain, Balaam and Korah. You can find those stories Cain: (Gen 4:1-17, 24-25, Heb 11:4, 1 John 3:12), and Balaam: (Num 22:5-19; 31:14-18, 2 Pet 2, Rev 2:14), and Korah: (Numbers 16). It does not seem that in any of these examples that it is believers spoken of. There can be false teachers that come from believers, but I believe Jude 4 is more like Galatians 2:4-5, similar to 2 Peter 2:1. They creep in among us. Nowhere do I seem them identified as believers, instead here are a few things I see in Jude.

          The ‘certain men’ who had ‘crept in unawares were ‘ordained to this condemnation’, they were ‘ungodly men’, they turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, they denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus. Now of course we know a believer could deny Him, as Peter did. But I believe this is saying a denial of who He is. Verse 5 said they ‘believed not’. Verse 6 references rebellious angels (demons). Verse 7 references Sodom & Gomorrha, speaking of ‘eternal fire’. Then it goes on in verse 8-9 to ‘filthy’ dreamers (Deut 13, Jer 23, Zech 10) are the CR I have listed. Verse 10 speaks about things they ‘known not’, yets says naturally they are brute beasts.

          All people who reject Him will be judged by the Word of God.

          He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48

          I suggest going through it yourself and just read the background stories and identify who, what, where, why, when, how. I read it as spoken to believers to contend for the faith because there are people who sneak in among you who will try to teach falsely, and God did not send them (like the false prophets).

          Hope that helped somewhat, I know I didn’t go through the entire thing, but having a background foundation is the best rather than having anyone totally explain it. God bless your week.

    • Matt, here is one on that passage from Charlie Bing.

      https://gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes/?id=96&lang=eng

    • Here is another one I found by Yankee Arnold.

      https://youtu.be/IxDMbtMH660

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