We are saved by grace through faith without our works.
But Grace will not lead us into rebellious sin.
Faith will produce the fruit of the Spirit (love)
God has mercy on believers who sincerely struggle with sin so that He gives us even more grace.
But if a believer rebels in sin, then God will chastise them so that they are saved in the end.
Both Jew and Gentile are saved by grace through faith and not works of law.
Acts 15:11 “11 But we believe that we (Jews) are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they (Gentiles) are.”
The Holy Spirit through James commanded Gentiles to do these things:
Acts 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath….. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell.”
This commandment to not sin was from the Holy Spirit.
James did not preach works-based salvation because he did not support the Judaizers/Pharisees who were trying to circumcise the Gentiles:
Acts 15 “24 Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law,’ to whom we gave no commandment;”
The reason James told Gentiles to not live in sin is because the law did command people not to worship idols or commit sexual immorality – both of which are in agreement with Paul.
Faith must result in love that does not harm others – this fulfills the law.
Romans 13 “8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet, and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love doesn’t harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let’s therefore throw off the deeds of darkness, and let’s put on the armor of light. 13 Let’s walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.”
Galatians 5 “13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.”
Paul warned Gentiles not to commit immorality or worship idols:
1 Thessalonians 4 “2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body5 not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who don’t know God, 6 that no one should take advantage of and wrong a brother or sister in this matter; because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as also we forewarned you and testified. 7 For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. 8 Therefore he who rejects this doesn’t reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you.“
God will punish believers who live in rebellious sin.
But this is NOT condemnation.
This is chastisement so that we are saved.
1 Corinthians 11 “30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. 31 For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”
1 Corinthians 5 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father’s wife. 2 You are arrogant, and didn’t mourn instead, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you. 3 For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Jesus also warned believers in Gentile Churches (province of Asia) to not rebel in sin and warned that he would punish them for rebellion:
Revelation 2 4 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise. 16 Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.….“20 woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her and those who commit adultery with her into a bed of great oppression, unless they repent of her works. 23 I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
James said the same here: If believers rebelled in sin, then they would be chastised. The word for “judge” here is not condemnation but can be used for chastisement:
James 2 “My brothers, don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in, 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing and say, “Sit here in a good place;” and you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool” 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? 8 However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. “9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.”Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
James 5 “9 Don’t grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won’t be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door. “
Paul said that faith must produce love and the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5 “5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love…..19 Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”
But those who rebel in sin will be chastised by the Lord.
Galatians 6 ” 7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.”
God will not allow rebellion into heaven.
The unbeliever is condemned but the rebellious believer will be chastised so that we are saved:
Revelation 22 14 that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
We are justified/saved by grace through faith in Christ.
But faith will produce love and Godly living. Grace will teach us not rebel against God.
God has mercy on believers who struggle sincerely in sin and addictions who need more GRACE.
But the believer who rebels in wickedness will be chastised so that we are saved.
The Grace of God will never lead us into rebellion.
The false convert will not be saved.
Paul and James preached the same Gospel: Salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
Paul and James preached the same Gospel as Paul himself testified:
1 Corinthians 153 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the assembly of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was given to me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.”