Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Faith: Romans vs. James

Faith: Romans vs. James


A Paper

Presented to

Dennis J. Kavanaugh Ph.D.

Dallas Theological Seminary


In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

BE 107 Hebrews, General Epistles, & Revelation



Rick E. Meyer

20 March 2012

Faith: Romans vs. James

What is faith? Now faith is the assurance of thing hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Romans primarily discuss our hope for unseen salvation through Christ. James’ theme illustrates the life saturated with faith.

As a professional communicator, I seek explanation of my understanding in simple terminology and stories. I once wrote like Dr. Martin Luther, close friends suggested I reconsider that approach if I desired effectiveness in the market place and with youth.


James commences with the yield and value of faith. James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. I have run in excess of 108,000 miles during my life. My introduction to Manhattan High (KS) cross country occurred as a sixteen year-old in July 1983.

During four days in this record setting summer, temperatures reached one-hundred-eighteen degrees Fahrenheit, Jon Young and I ran eighty miles. Each run, at times each step, produced physical and emotional trials. Despite our exhaustion, we remained joyful because we hoped for a state championship, yet the championship’s evidence remained unseen until after the finish line of the championship race on 5 November 1983. Our championship’s hope required physical and emotional endurance.


Endurance illustrates our stamina and strength. Stamina derives from the time or distance we exert energy. The greater length of time or distance we endure an occurrence or works, the greater our stamina. We measure our work by multiplying our expended energy by the distance we move an object.

Endurance enables continuing exertion through physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional hardships. Endurance provides staying power, the ability to tolerate discomfort beyond logical limits. Belief and hope, faith, enable continuation.

Each moment, each additional step, we endure builds belief and faith for the next challenge. The interval between hardships may be nanoseconds, minutes, hours, or years later. Each time we endure beyond previous logical limits, we increase confidence in the source of our hope—Jesus Christ. Confidence and faith are synonymous. For others the source of faith, hope, and confidence resides in self, rituals, idols or false god(s).

Optimized endurance for Jon, our teammates and me, resulted in winning the championship. Our joy increased abundantly, including our joy of the trials endured in our torturing cross country workouts. Trials in life are simply workouts preparing us for the God’s championships he created us to achieve and glorify Him. Because

God’s plan for my life included cross country, the joy for the trials encountered during these workouts reminds me of the joy for all of life’s trials, including the trials others must endure.  

Hall of Fame Coach Lyle Claussen spoke of endurance runs and training callusing the body and mind while he mentored me in world-class marathon training. Calluses often originate from work causing sores and blisters as on hands and feet. The skin thickens, becoming rougher, allowing the hands and feet to endure additional work while avoiding additional sores and blisters. Callused hands remain sensitive to the touch of a child.

Enduring through life’s emotional and spiritual hardships callus our hearts and minds, enabling us to endure and exert the required effort to serve God. All trials in life toughen us up to endure and achieve even greater callings from God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Wisdom callused hearts and minds remain sensitive to children of Christ.


The Holy Spirit, speaking through James (Chapter 1:4-8), says that if we desire additional wisdom simply ask, and God will provide. We must simply believe, lacking any doubt, God provides and we receive. Why should we seek wisdom? Do we seek wisdom?

Wisdom optimizes future gain in each successive trial from our experiences and our deepening relationship with God. Increased wisdom enhances our correlation of past, present and future events, perpetually improving clarity of God’s involvement in our lives. This correlation and clarity improves our faith, faith-derived trust, improves effort, focus and the resulting performance.

Wisdom generates correlation and clarity, these increase our desire to ask questions. Questions yield answers and additional questions. Authentic solutions, and understanding oriented questions spoken with humility attract people.

Wisdom generated questions focus on achieving Christ’s will for our lives, including serving Christ in helping others achieve Christ’s will in their life. James 1:5 clearly states God generously gives wisdom to all who ask with complete belief of His promise. This promise encompasses God’s infinite supply of wisdom, along with His ability and willingness to deliver.

The wisdom I share in keynotes and in my book and other articles derives from asking God for wisdom that provides the necessary trials and patience for acquisition. I gained wisdom regarding human mind and body, and faith while enduring the 108,000 miles of running. In 1983, we lost our family farm; I was burning mad at God for Him allowing this to happen.

I responded to our family’s move to Manhattan by living faith through giving greater effort than I previously thought possible, consequently I gained wisdom and displayed my faith for God to be gloried to others through me. God blessed me with amazing coaches and teammates. I continue gaining wisdom from that experience as well as enduring numerous additional trials with patience. This wisdom increases faith.


Godly wisdom harms those lacking faith. Because, doubting God’s desire, supply, allocation, transportation, delivery and in home set-up reveals our inability to recognize and manage God’s wisdom. Doubt yields disobedience. Disobedience yields idleness or weeds. Foolishness and doubt reside together.

The Bible describes the doubter as double-minded, literally “two souls”(1663), and unstable in everything he does. If a man doubts God, whom will he believe or trust? When a man doubts God, he doubts the Spirit of Truth, the creator of the universe, the all-knowing, all-powerful God. God is the foundation of the world, anything incongruent with God lacks a foundation, lacks connection to the foundation.

Consequently, stability only resides with belief in God and seeking His wisdom. James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


Our faith, full belief and trust, illustrates desire to seek God’s heart and hear His voice for service and guidance. Additionally, faith in asking and receiving wisdom displays our relationship with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Faith includes belief while lacking understanding. We eat with faith and belief the food will properly nourish our body, while lacking the ability to understand the biology and biochemistry involved in digestion to calorie consumption. Wisdom seeks and derives God’s will for one’s life. Wisdom yields action, which yields fruits of the Spirit.

Guidance reveals as one of the fruits of expectantly seeking God’s wisdom. A faithful man seeking God’s voice hears God voice and acts on God’s voice, the voice of Wisdom. This voice is seldom—if ever—audible. The voice appears in our thoughts, sometimes through events in our daily lives spoken through others to us.

Works and Deeds

The second chapter of James (v. 14-25) discusses the significance of illustrating faith with effort. The commentaries provide a bad rap for Dr. Martin Luther regarding the book of James. As one who has read over five-thousand pages of Luther, I attest his various messages strongly correlating with James’ message of show me your faith by what you do.

Luther used Christ’s illustration of the Sheep and the Goats (Mt. 25:31-46) to charge parents with their high calling of raising children, obviously responding to faith with effort. I agree with Luther that effort is in response to our faith as opposed to a replacement of our faith. Just as actions and words display one’s thoughts, so effort displays one faith. Those who believe God provides our needs through one’s efforts, exert the effort before possessing any guarantee of the desired result.


The majority of Romans’ faith references relate to salvific faith and the origin of faith, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17)

Paul wrote this letter from Corinth (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) The faith of salvation because God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as he assumes and defeats all sin for mankind, for those whom, confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 

This faith refers to our hope of eternal salvation reference above without any physical evidence of our salvation while on earth. This faith requires the faith in James, the faith of exerting appropriate actions based on the salvific faith. Faith in Jesus Christ includes faith in the Word—the Bible—because John 1:14 states that the Word became flesh.

Our faith in Christ and the scripture yields righteous actions. Our faith and belief allow the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and write His commands on our hearts and minds—Hebrews 8:10. Romans 5:5 promises the Holy Spirit pouring God’s love within our hearts. He guides us to choose righteousness, which correlates with obedience to scripture; thus directs our actions.

We desire walking with God. We desire avoiding sinful actions—at least in the long term—sometimes we fall short in specific moments. Our faith, our confidence in knowing Christ, enables our recognizing the Holy Spirit’s conviction of our hearts and minds, leading us to respond with sorrow, confession, repentance, and righteous efforts. Romans chapter 4 discusses Abraham’s response to his faith in God, believing God’s promise of salvation and family. Romans 5:3-4 echoes the message in James regarding tribulation bringing perseverance and perseverance yielding proven character and this character lends hope. Wisdom yields hope. Therefore, even though the messages in James and Romans are not verbatim the messages mirror one another.

Origin of Faith

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, provides instructions and directions of attaining strengthening our faith. As a junior high student our memorization requirements included this verse as well as many regarding faith. The power of faith proceeds attaining faith.

A fuel producing amazing energy per pound compared to other fuels, only benefits when one knows where and how to acquire the fuel. Faith resides in the Bible, our peers and elders pass down their salvific and enduring faith accumulated from generations of trials, patience, Bible Study, worship, prayer, and associating with other believers—we hear the word from reading the Bible and reading the experience and wisdom of Godly men and women, associating with other believers.

Evil leaders recognize the Christian faith and wisdom passed down from family and friends, particularly the elderly. My dad and I visited about many things in matters of faith, including how through-out history evil national leaders trying to prevent the elderly from living as long as possible as well as policies disrupting the family unit. Satan knows a living Christian grandma passes along Christian wisdom and faith.


I gained great wisdom from faith passed down from many family members too numerous to share in this paper. Thirty-six hours after my dad received his lung-cancer diagnosis (9 November 2006) we sat in his hospital room watching him eat breakfast when he requested we pray that Christ bless everyone we know.

His faith focused on tens of thousands of others because his faith provided peace beyond human understanding of the triune God caring for him to achieve the Father’s will for Dad’s life. About thirty to sixty minutes later, Dad looked intently into my eyes, “Always trust God, remember that son. Trust God always.” “I will Dad, I will.” He spoke very little the previous six-weeks, rarely fluently due to hydrocephalus—water on the brain.

These statements were very clear, his tonality filled with authentic passion. This was our last substantive conversation.

Dad lived his faith, three weeks later he died. He knew God provided grace through Christ, he knew Christ prepared a place for him. He knew the triune God is a God of his word, because my dad was a man of his word—created in God’s image. Dad’s faith assured him of his hope of restoration from his sinful flesh.

On the drive home from the hospital following Dad’s death, more of Dad’s faith revealed itself to me. As a child growing-up on our Kansas farm, I strongly desired helping Dad. I enjoyed working, hunting, and visiting with him, sometime all three simultaneously.

Our church had children’s activities for a week every June and every Saturday morning during Advent. I adamantly and repetitiously voiced my desire to stay home with Dad. Each time he responded, you must go—Church is very important. “But Dad, I want to be with you...!” Less than two hours after Dad’s death, I realized he wanted me to be with him eternally with our Father in heaven.

My dad epitomized faith. He placed seeds of corn in the ground, taking action, in hopes of producing a crop. He watered and fertilized the crop without any evidence of yield. Diseases never before known, virtually only on his land, destroyed his crops and his profits. Hail storms, unprecedented increase in interest rates, a crashing cattle market, plus many other events destroyed his business despite his faith and obedience to Christ.

He proved his faith by working around the clock, taking short naps, and eating meals in the tractor. He displayed his faith by what did. Despite these perpetual set-backs, including losing the family farm to bankruptcy, he continued telling his son and daughter, “Church is important.”

He taught through example, our relationship with Christ includes trials, endurance, patience, leading to faith and wisdom. He invited traveling salesmen to join us for meals, strangers he met at meetings from other states out to hunt and stay in our home and eat with us—of course he and mom accepted no money.

He invited world-renowned scientists from Kansas State and their families to our home, staying and eating with us. At the time, this young boy had no idea of the dire financial situation we faced, yet Dad and Mom opened their home and meals to seemingly all—in faith. He lacked perfection! He continued the process of planting seeds and love, in hope, faith, and belief of God providing for his family and God providing a heavenly home at the end of this life.

At the end, he only cared for the well-being and Christ’s blessings on all he knew. His last full sentence(s) to me, “Always trust God, remember that son. Trust God always.” In other words, “Son, always have faith.”

Through-out my life he frequently shared his inner-Peace whenever he would die. Writing this paper reminds me that Dad exemplifies the action and enduring faith in James and the saving faith in Romans. Thank you Jesus for an amazing, faith-filled Dad who always sought to serve you.


Kavanaugh Ph.D., Dennis. Class Notes.

Meyer, Rick E. RUNNING ON FAITH. Edited by Barbara Lehmann. Dallas, Texas: Pending, 2011.

NASB. New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 1999.

Promise Keepers. "The Promise Keepers Men's Study Bible." In Promise Keepers Men's Study Bible, by Promise Keepers, 1352-1354. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan PUblishing House, 1997.

Radmacher, Earl, Ronald B. Allen, and H. Wayne House. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1999.

Swindoll, Charles R., Inc. THE GRACE AWAKENING. Fourth. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010.

Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Third. Edited by Roy B. Zuck, Contributing: Donald K. Campbell, Stanley D. Toussaint John F. Walvoord. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Distribution Canada, 1973, 1978, 1984.

Wenham, David, and Steve Walton. Exploring the New Testament. 2nd. Vol. 1. 1 vols. InterVarsity Press, 2001, 2011.

See Christ, Believe Christ, Achieve with Christ!

Rick E. Meyer
See, Believe, Achieve Inc.

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