JOSHUA CH.2 A GOOD-HEARTED HARLOT JUSTIFIED BY FAITH EVINCED BY WORKS

Moving on to the conquest of the Promised Land, satanic hybrids in the form of giants are again encountered – King Og (the guy with enormous bed) is directly referred to by Rahab (v10 cf. Deut3:11), a woman described as a harlot, but also by the writer to the Hebrews as an example of “faith” (v31). She had welcomed the Israelite spies into her home recognizing them to be servants of Yahweh, “God of Heaven and earth” (v11). She made a pact with them such that she and her family would be well treated once they had conquered her homeland. By this act of FAITH Rahab was justified. The apostle James declares her to have been justified by works (2:25),  by which it is indicated  her actions were an intrinsic component of her justification, works being the efflux of faith, the latter never being alone ) or merely a matter of “trust”.

Paul, the writer to the Hebrews (and I for that matter) would opt to describe her as being justified by faith rather than works, i.e. by the QUALITY of utilizing the light she had received concerning the Creator in a positive way (sometimes referred to in the OT as godly fear) as opposed to perfectly fulfilling a law or acquiring a required standard which would be justification by works in a more substantive sense than the way James utilizes the term. Once this distinction is grasped and “faith” is perceived to be a virtuous and saving God-given quality, James and Paul are seen to be in perfect agreement and both accord with the teaching of their Master concerning the criteria for final judgement set out in Matthew25. In that passage religious faith is not so much as mentioned, merely acts of compassion, regardless of their standard or consistency. These are the efflux (outflowing) of that common faith (which some of the earliest Church writers speak of) being a positive response to the divine enlightenment innate to all, most clearly observed in the functioning (or otherwise) of the conscience.

The role of natural law

This again pertains to something Augustine (most notably) rejected whereas a careful reading of the earliest (2nd century) Church Fathers reveals it to be subsumed within their reading of the gospel and Paul’s writings in particular, namely the concept of natural law. The very term is a turn-off for most subsequent Christians, especially with the Pelagian controversy in mind – it is surely irrelevant or even hostile to Christ’s teaching and the Pauline gospel? Au contraire, the term covers a broad area but the anthropological dimension we are considering here pertains to Christ’s secret operation within every human spirit – cf. John1:9; Rom2:15. That should not be so surprising given that Scripture teaches thatall things (natural or otherwise) were created through Christ and for Christ . Is He not bound to have an input into the human psyche, fallen or otherwise? How this is integrated with New Testament teaching as a whole is set out in chapter three of my book, a free PDF of which is available HERE.