Q : Are Faith and Works Symbiotic?
Mutualism is a relationship between organisms from two different species in which both of the organisms benefit from the relationship. Both organisms use each. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was Therefore, our understanding of the relationship between faith and works must take As James continues in the second chapter, he brings up the example of. The term mutualism refers to a relationship in biology between two living things who are mutually beneficial to each other. See some examples.
No, they have a symbiotic relationship. Just like the remora and the shark do, as we discussed earlier.
This relationship comes about and is nurtured because the Levites are responsible for seeing to the spiritual needs of the people. They are responsible for offering the sacrifices and taking care of the Holy artifacts, such as the Ark of the Covenant.
In short, just as the people see to the needs of the Levites in one area, so too do the Levites see to the needs of the people in another area.
We see this reflected in the modern church as well in the relationships that are reflected, or should be reflected, between pastors and the congregations that they serve.
In many ways we also see this sort of a symbiotic relationship at work today in the lives of Christians. While God does not necessarily need these things from us in order to continue being God, God does appreciate, treasure, and enjoy those things that He receives from us, which are a form of offering given to God. Similarly, we receive from God through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice on the Cross something that we all are very much in need of.
The things that we receive from God are grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. Each of those things is a blessing in its own right. Through our acceptance of Christ we also receive for ourselves a place in the Divine heavenly kingdom of God, yet another blessing. Those things, particularly the forgiveness of sin and the assurance of a place in the Kingdom, are not things that we can earn on our own.
Paul, in Romans 3: Furthermore, in 2nd Peter 3: These verses, and many more besides, all direct us to the fact that God is not desirous that we should have a parasitic relationship where only one party reaps blessings and benefits. Rather, God desires that we have a symbiotic relationship, like the one enjoyed and modeled here by the Levites and the other tribes, so that we all might benefit and grow to be more like God and better reflections of the same love, mercy, peace, joy, and forgiveness as we have received from the Lord.
Furthermore, we find this same sort of symbiotic relationship reflected in some of the primary imagery that is used in the Bible. I am speaking, of course, of the image of the shepherd and the flock. We know from the recorded accounts of David and others in the Old Testament what the responsibilities of shepherds were and the sort of danger that they might find themselves in as they performed those duties.
If we pit Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians written by Paul against James, we are sure to wind up confused. Therefore, our understanding of the relationship between faith and works must take into account all that is taught. Having said that, I must be quick to point out that this is an area that has occupied faithful theological minds for centuries—for there is a great treasury of riches associated with the subject.
However, I do think that the relationship between faith and works is something that can sometimes be made more complicated that needed and that it is something that God intends believers to understand without needing a degree in theology.
As your question implies, the overwhelming number of passages in Scripture which deal with this topic come down on the side of emphasizing faith and denying a contribution of works. Why is this so?
Q212 : Are Faith and Works Symbiotic?
I believe Paul's statement in the fourth chapter of Romans helps us to understand why: Thus, if works is allowed as an ingredient in the process leading to salvation then salvation is no longer uniquely of God's grace and a component of the worthiness or capability of the one being saved enters into the mix.
This fatally taints what I believe the Scriptures teach: We need this constant reminder else we tend to elevate our own contribution to the work of God. The book of James is intensely pastoral in concern. James is concerned that believers understand what it means to truly walk as a Christian. This becomes especially evident in the closing verses of the first chapter where James warns against self-deception in relation to how a Christian should live: Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. I ran across a study published this year in the journal Cell 2. It analyzed the genetics behind this relationship, and they are truly astounding. First, the article informs the reader that despite its size, the larger bacterium in the relationship Tremblaya princeps has the smallest genome of all known bacteria.
It has only genes in a genome that consists of onlybase pairs. The smaller bacterium in the relationship Moranella endobia has a larger genome — genes in a genome that consists ofbase pairs. By way of comparison, one of the most common bacteria studied, Escherichia Coli, has 4, genes in a genome that consists of 4, base pairs. They live inside the mealybug, receiving both food and housing.
They just need to help the mealybug make its amino acids and eat the food that the mealybug provides for them. Since the authors believe in evolution, they think that these bacteria were probably once free-living but were incorporated into the mealybug millions of years ago.
At that time, of course, their genomes were a lot larger. So how do the two bacteria survive? The mealybug has the extra genes they need. The authors first thought that perhaps in the course of evolution, the bacteria transferred those genes to the mealybug.
Symbiotic Accountability: Paul's Recommendation to Thessalonian Men
They found 22 genes actually, they say there may be more in the mealybug that resemble bacterial genes, and the majority of them are necessary for the survival of the two bacteria that live inside it.
However, none of those genes have the sequences you would expect if they came from those two bacteria! Instead, they have sequences that are similar to other species of bacteria.