“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Galatians 5:6

Do Paul’s words to the Galatians and James’ words to the 12 tribes contradict one another? No. They simply address two different situations. If you tell some friends to head north to your house, and tell others to head south, are you contradicting yourself ? Only if they are coming from the same direction. But if your friends live in Seattle and San Diego and they want to visit you in San Francisco, your advice is perfectly legitimate. 

Similarly, James and Paul address two groups with two opposing attitudes. Both groups are in grave error, but in different ways. Paul’s bunch had to be reminded that God cannot be bought with our cheap works. James’ group needed to know that God cares deeply about how we live. You and I benefit from both teachings. 

Faith is not opposed to good works, nor is good works opposed to faith. We need both, but each in its proper order. As your faith in Jesus grows and matures, you will desire more and more to serve Him and express your faith through loving actions and deeds. 

Scripture Focus

Romans 3:28-4:3; James 2:14-24


We are saved by faith alone (as Paul says), but the faith that saves is never alone (as James says).

Bible In A Year

  • Numbers 17-18
  • Psalm 70
  • John 11