Rahab "justified by faith"
Rahab protecting Joshua’s “spies”

Moving on to the conquest of the Promised Land, satanic hybrids in the form of giants are again encountered. King Og, the chap with enormous bed is directly referred to by Rahab (v10 cf. Deut3:11). She was a woman described as a harlot, but also by the writer to the Hebrews as an example of “faith” (v31). Rahab 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). he is indicating that  her actions were an intrinsic component of her justification. Works are the efflux of faith, the latter never being alone or merely a matter of “trust”.

Faith or works?

Paul, the writer to the Hebrews (and I for that matter) would opt to describe Rahab as being justified by faith, 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 by 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 James and Paul are seen to be in perfect agreement. Both accord with the teaching of their Master concerning the criteria for final judgement set out in Matthew25. It is a passage where faith is not so much as mentioned, merely acts of compassion, regardless of their standard or consistency. Such acts of compassion are the efflux of “faith” affirming the divine image has been retained. These principles are explained in more detail in chapter three of my book:

The LITTLE BOOK OF PROVIDENCE: a seven-part synopsis of the bible: Download a free PDF of e-book suitable for desktop computers HERE [updated September 2023] or a Large-print version for mobiles HERE [565 pages]


Comments are closed.