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GOD’S HIDDEN MYSTERY: A synopsis of what you should know about Faith and Works

Believers seek to know and understand the will of God for their life through the study of his word. Yet, many struggle in their understanding because as they study they find a great many verses disagree with each other. This leaves the believer confused and uncertain as to what to believe.

We’ve heard many times how people debate"faith vs. works” and essentially misconstrue scripture, resulting in confusion. They will use what James wrote when it comes to this question as if he was writing to us today. In James chapter 2 he says, “What doth it profit my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? ...Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only? (James 2:14, 24). Now pay close attention to what Paul says in Romans 3:28, “Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

How can both of these conflicting verses be scripturally correct? Both of these verses are true and the inconsistency can be explained. In James, God was addressing the Jews according to the dispensation of law and in Paul, he was addressing the Gentiles according to the dispensation of grace. These verses provide different instructions to people in different dispensations or periods of time. The only way to understand these verses correctly is that they must be rightly divided dispensationally as God instructs in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” When we wrongly apply truth that was intended for someone else, in a different dispensation, we cannot grow spiritually as God would have us and we’ll inevitably be confused.

It will help us a great deal if we go back into biblical history and find out how we progressed to this point in time, our current dispensation of grace. After the fall of Adam sin was passed onto all men (Romans 5:12). Men became so wicked; God destroyed all but eight souls on the earth (Genesis 6:5, 7:21-2