Thursday, January 12, 2023

Ti to Ophelos?

 If indeed you keep the royal law, according to Scripture, You shall be devoted to your neighbor as yourself, you do well. If however you discriminate, you work sin, being rebuked by the law as violators. For whoever shall guard the whole law but trip up on one thing, he has become liable for all. It having said, You shall not commit adultery, also said, You shall not murder. But if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law. Thus talk and thus act as being about to be judged by the law of liberty. For merciless judgment is to the one who has not done mercy. Mercy boasts against tribunal.

What is the point, my brothers, if anyone claims to have faith but has no works? Is the faith not able to save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking in daily nourishment, but anyone of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and satisfied, without having given them bodily necessities, what is the point? So also faith, if it has no works, is dead by itself.

But someone will say that you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from works and I will show you faith by my works. You believe that there is one that is God. You do rightly; even demons believe and tremble. But do you want to learn, O foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was Abraham our father not rendered just by works, having raised Isaac his son on the altar? You see that the faith was cooperating with his works, and by the works, the faith was completed. And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, But Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as justice, and he was called 'friend of God'. You see that from works man is rendered just, and not from faith alone. And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute rendered just, having entertained the messengers and by a different way having sent them forth? Just as the body apart from spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

[James 2:8-26, my very rough translation, at Bellomy's request. The Greek here was rough going; it definitely is not as smooth to translate as Luke. The word for 'dead', nekra, is interesting; it seems to be associated less with death as an abstract idea and more with corpses in the concrete. I considered translating it as 'corpsified'. The point is that without being completed by works, faith is made corpse-like, as is clear from the last sentence in the passage.]