Faith & Works in Romans 4

TheTrisagion

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So I have a question. Normally when I hear discussions within Orthodoxy regarding faith and works, it is always emphasized that we do not contrast these two things, but rather see them as complimentary. This is supported in St. James' letter. In reading the Book of Romans, however, it seems that St. Paul is doing just that, drawing a striking contrast between the two. Can someone explain what his purpose in doing so is, and how we understand the context in which he is writing in?

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+4&version=NKJV
 

minasoliman

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Works in James means virtuous deeds.

Works in Paul means Mosaic law.  Hence the strong contrast.

Look at how he talks about circumcision.  That's a "work" in Paul's reading.  That's not the work James is talking about, and certainly not the work that's associated with the "faith and works" debate that continues to confuse so many Protestants.

One more edit:  Paul actually agrees with James when says something like "if I have all the faith to move mountains, but no love..."
 

mcarmichael

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minasoliman said:
One more edit:  Paul actually agrees with James when says something like "if I have all the faith to move mountains, but no love..."
Not only that, but he also specifies that he is speaking especially of the works of the law, if I am not mistaken.
Nevertheless, I do believe there is a deeper meaning, and I'll reference the Holy Prophet Elijah: "For all of our righteousness is as filthy rags".
I suggest that we address this directly to the source of our salvation, Jesus Christ: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." Yet if he wasn't saved according to the Mosaic Law (which is not to suggest that he transgressed it), according to what law then was he saved? Is it even proper to suggest that he was somehow "saved" from something, who "committed no sin, and no decit was found in his mouth"?

 

minasoliman

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I'm not sure I understand your question.
 
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