Daily Devotions


Day 33

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works...?"

Text: James 2:21


James knew that Abraham was held in the high respect by all Jews. He was regarded as the father of the nation of Israel. James went on to cite Abraham.

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?”
James 2:21

1. The doctrine of justification

a) The Apostle Paul declared that justification from God comes as a result of faith (Romans 5:1).
b) He further argued that “faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness” (Romans 4:9).

2. The teaching of James seems to be contradicting what Paul had taught.


James had been arguing that true faith will result in works! The text above must be read and understood in the context of what he had said about faith.

1. “Was not Abraham our father justified by his works?”

a) This is best understood when we know that James was talking about faith that results in works.
b) Justified by his works may then be understood if we break down his thoughts:
i) Abraham was justified by his faith.

“And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness”
Genesis 15:6

ii) But his faith was one that was genuine because it resulted in works.
iii) Fully stated the sentence would run like this-
“Was not Abraham our father justified by his faith that resulted in works?”

2. “When he offered Isaac his son on the altar”

a) Abraham had already believed in the LORD.
b) He was thus “justified” in the sight of God.
i) Righteousness was accounted to him.
ii) God had imputed righteousness to him on account of his faith.
c) He did not have a son when he first believed in God.
d) Many years later God gave him a son who was called Isaac.
e) Abraham’s faith continued to be true and strong and when he was tested by God, he was able to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.
f) This was faith in action! This was faith that resulted in works!