James 1 & 2
April 17, 2010
1:1 JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad [among the Gentiles in the dispersion]: Greetings ( rejoice)!
1. He doesnít call himself an apostle, or the brother of Christ, or Bishop of Jerusalem; whether he was James the elder, son of Zebedee, or James the less called our Lordís brother, or some other person of the same name, we donít know.
2. The assertions of writers concerning these points are worthy of no regard, for the church has always received him as an apostle of Christ.
3. At the writing of this letter, the 12 tribes were still in actual existence.
4. Cyrus allowed all the Jews in his domain to return to their own land, but many did not return.
a. Few of the twelve tribes returned; in the days of Ahasuerus, one of the successors of Cyrus, who reigned from India to Ethipia, (120 provinces Esther 3:8)
b. The Jews did not keep the kingís laws, so that by adhering to their own laws and traditions, they kept themselves distinct from all the nations among whom they lived.
5. On the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:5,9) there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven; so numerous were the Jews, and so widely dispersed through all the countries of the world.
6. When Paul traveled through Asia and Europe, he found the Jews so numerous that in all the major city of the Gentiles, they had synagogues which they assembled for the worship of God.
7. When Paul spoke with King Agrippa, (Acts 26;6) he affirmed that the twelve tribes were still in existence, and that they served God day & night, in expectation of the promise made to the fathers.
8. It is evident that the Jews of the dispersion were more numerous than even the Jews in Judea and that they still exist but not as they were anciently in their own land.
2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
1. Temptations: Gr.: peirasmos: a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation, adversity.
2. The NIV uses face trials: Gr.: Peripipto:to fall into something that is all around, light among or upon, be surrounded with:
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
1. Trial & proving: Gr.: dokimion: a testing
2. Perseverance: Gr.: hupomone: cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy
3. Trials put religion to proof, that the man that stands such trials gives proof that his religion is sound and the evidence afforded to his own mind encourages him to take courage, bear patiently, and persevere.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
1. Continue faithful and your patience will be rewarded: the perfect work is the full reward.
2. The perfect work is that we may be fully instructed in the Word of God so that our mind is transformed into the mind of Christ.
3. Some conclude that these expressions are again borrowed from the Grecian games: the man was perfect, (Gr.: teleios) who in any of the athletic exercises had got the victory.
a. He was entire, (Gr.: holokleeros) having everything complete, who had the victory in the pentathlon, in each of the five exercises.
4. The sacrifices under the law, the victim was (Gr.: teleios), perfect, that was perfectly sound, having no disease; it was, (Gr.: holokleeros), entire, if it had all its members, not deficient.
a. This was our Lord on the cross, the perfect, complete sacrifice for us.
5. We are to have our whole heart, body, soul, and spirit, sanctified to the Lord so that we may be filled with all His fullness.
a. Heb 5:8-10 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect , he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
b. Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
1. In the Scripture, true wisdom is the same as true religion: the practical knowledge of God, ourselves, and our Savior, the Lord Jesus.
2. Only God is the teacher of this wisdom. (We have a spiritual textbook written by God, The Bible)
3. He who doesnít ask this of God doesnít feel that he needs this divine teaching.
a. There is an ancient Greek maxim which seems strange at first, but is true: (The knowledge of ignorance is the beginning of knowledge.)
6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.
1. Must be in faith: must believe that God is; that He is good, and ready to give us anything we need.
2. We canít waver on any of these 3 things.
3. Like the wave of the sea: that man is in a state of continual agitation, driven and tossed by any wind, high ups and low downs; (Manic depressive???).
7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,
8[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].
1. The man whose mind is divided, not sure of either his own wants or Godís sufficiency may pray but can get no answer. (This man has no faith).
2. Double-minded: a man of two souls: one for earth one for heaven.
a. He wants both worlds, will not give up earth but also wants heaven.
3. Deut 26:16-7 The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him.
a. A usual term among the Jews that a man should not have two hearts, one for God and one for something else; a man of this character is continually distracted: He will let neither earth nor heaven go, but he can only have one.
b. Perhaps James was also referring to those Jews who were unwilling to give up the Levitical rites, and yet unwilling to denounce the Gospel.
4. This man has no settled principles, he is controlled by passion, influenced by popular feeling, now believes this, and then something contrary; not just in prayer, but in everything.
5. Mark 11:22-24 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
a. Will it be yours if you doubt????????
b. If you doubt did you believe????
c. If this is the situation, why do you pray at all????
9 Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God],
1. The poor, destitute Christian may glory in the cross of Christ, and being a child of God, he is a joint heir with Christ.
10 And the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
1. In humiliation, as a poor and miserable sinner, receiving redemption through the blood of the cross, rejoice in this because all earthly riches are only like the flowers of the field, and will all wither and perish.
11 For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich man wither and die in the midst of his pursuits. [Isa 40:6,7.]
1. Isa 40:6-8 A voice says, "Cry out."And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,but the word of our God stands forever."
2. Human beings rise and fall, increase and decay, belonging to all the productions of the earth and its inhabitants.
3. This is unavoidable for the very cause of their growth becomes the cause of their decay and destruction.
4. The sun by it heat nourishes and supports all plants and animals, but if there is no rain the heat from it causes plants to wither and die.
5. Earthly possessions are subject to the same and if this is the object of confidence to men, these are very uncertain; putting trust in God is very certain.
a. All things of earth will perish, but things of heaven are eternal.
12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor's] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.
1. Every man is in this life in a state of temptation or trial, and he that stands this trial shall receive the crown of life; It is only love for God that can enable man to endure (and overcome) the trials of life.
2. There may be an allusion here again to the contests in the Grecian games: He is crowned who conquers and no one else.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.
1. The word temptation has to meanings: temptation to sin, and trial from any situations or circumstances.
2. James is using this as temptation to sin, and explains that this type of temptation is not from God.
14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).
15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.
1. When man is tempted by evil, it starts like a thin thread of a spiderís web and then becomes like a thick rope.
2. Itís like a fish that is dragged out of the water by a hook which it had swallowed, because it was concealed by a bait.
3. When the temptation, (by evil) does its work and is unchecked it brings about full-blown sin; and when this breach of the law of God goes to completion, it brings death.
a. Like premeditated murder; If during itís premeditation it isnít stopped, the act of murder is punishable by death.
4. Sin is a small matter in its commencement, but by indulgence it grows great, and multiplies itself beyond all calculation.
5. Lust is the mother of sin, and sin the mother of death.
6. There is a rabbinical metaphor:
a. ďSin lately adduced, it is , in the commencement, like a thread of a spiderís web-almost imperceptible through its extreme tenuity or fineness, and as easily broken, for it is as yet but a simple irregular imagination; afterwards it becomes like a cart rope-it has, by being indulged produced strong desire and delight, next consent, then, time, place, and opportunity serving, that which was conceived in the mind, and finished in the purpose, is consummated by act.Ē
16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
1. Donít suppose that God is the author of sin, or that he impels any man to commit it.
17 Every good gift and every perfect ( free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].
1. Whatever is good is from God, and whatever is evil is from man himself and/or Satan.
2. Whatever is called good, pure, or light, or excellence of any kind must spring from God is the source of all good and light.
3. The sun, which is the fountain of light to the earth, may be obscured by clouds, or the different bodies which revolve around it; consequently we have the seasons, and when winter comes, the days are shortened and the light diminishes.
4. Not so with God, He never changes; His light is always bright and always dispenses His good and perfect gifts: (His earthly and heavenly blessings).
5. God doesnít take His light from us, but men may hide themselves from His light by the works of darkness.
6. There were persons, among those to whom James wrote who held to the opinions that God tempted or influenced men to sin, and consequently, that he was the author of all the evil that Is in the world, and that he withholds his light and influence when necessary to convey truth and to correct vice.
a. To destroy this error, James shows that the sun, may be a fit emblem of God, yet in several respects the metaphor is very imperfect; for the sun is liable to repeated obscurations and although it gives light and heat to all, it is not everywhere present, and both its light and heat may be intercepted by a great variety of opposing bodies, clouds, seasons, and other causes.
18 And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].
1. Godís will here is opposed to the lust of man, His truth is the means of human salvation.
2. Under the gospel, those who were addressed by the writer had the honor of being first called into His kingdom as a part of the glorious harvest which was designed to gather in this world.
3. The firstfruits is the new creature: the born-again Christian.
19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
1. The righteous speak little, and do much; the wicked speak much, and do nothing.
2. Those who are hasty in speech are generally of an angry disposition; the person who is careful to consider what he says, is not likely to be soon angry.
3. Slow to become angry: There are four kinds of dispositions:
a. ďFirst, those who are easily incensed, and easily pacified; these gain on one hand, and lose on the other.
b. ďSecond, those who are not easily incensed, but are difficult to be appeased; these lose on the one hand, and gain on the other.
c. ďThirdly, those who are difficult to be incensed, and are easily appeased; these are the good.
d. ďFourthly, those who are easily angered, and difficult to be appeased; these are the wicked.
20 For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
1. Our wrath will not make God either more or less righteous; but that its tendency is not to produce that upright course of life, and love of truth, which God requires.
2. A man is never sure of doing right under the influence of anger, or any other emotional decisions.
3. The wrath in the mind of man will not have any tendency to make him righteous; for instance: a furious zeal in matters of religion.
a. The Spanish inquisition, and other cruelties done in the name of religion.
21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
1. Moral filth: any impurity that cleaves to the body; all impure and unholy affections in the mind.
2. Evil that is prevalent: Put these aside, for they blind the soul, and render it incapable of receiving any good, even from the ingrafted word of God which would otherwise have saved their souls.
3. The seed of life had been sown in the land; many received it to their salvation; others not.
22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].
1. Some hear the word, believed it, but put it to no practical use.
2. These are Antinomians, (one who denies the validity of moral laws), who put a sort of stupid, inactive faith in the place of all moral righteousness. (This is evident from the 2nd chapter)
3. Deceive yourselves: They had reasoned themselves into a state of carnal security, and the object of James is to wake them out of their sleep.
23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;
24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.
1. This is a simple metaphor but very expressive:
a. When a man wishes to see his own face, he looks into a mirror and sees his real face with all its blemishes and imperfections.
b. He sees deformities which might be remedied; spots, impurities, that might be removed.
c. While he continues to looks into the mirror he wishes himself different to what he appears, and forms a purpose of doing what he can to remedy this. (Men shaving, combing hair, etc.; women doing hair, make-up etc.)
d. When the mirror is removed, his face is no longer reflected to himself, and forgets how disagreeable he appeared.
2. So it is with the doctrines of God, when heard, or read, these are such a mirror and he begins to discover his own character, heís affected with his own deformity, he sorrows, purposes change, (repentance), but when the preaching/teaching/study, is over, he soon forgets what manner of man he was, or reasons himself out of the necessity of repentance, and thus deceives his soul.
3. 2 Cor 13:5-6 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you ó unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
a. Examine: Gr.: peirazo: to test, scrutinize, discipline.
25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
1. The law of liberty is the Gospel for it is a law, for it imposes obligations from God and prescribes a rule of life.
a. It gives liberty from the guilt, power, dominion, and influence of sin.
b. This is a perfect law: a complete Gospel, not a part, with its promises and privileges.
2. It is said among the Jews; ďThere are four kinds of men who visit the synagogues:
a. He who enters but does not work;
b. He who works but does not enter
c. He who enters and works
d. He who neither enters or works
3. The first 2 are indifferent; the third is a righteous man: the fourth is totally evil.
4. He who obeys God from a loving heart and pure conscience will find continual blessedness.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren).
1. Religion is designed to produce an effect on our whole conduct; And if there is any one thing that is not brought under its control, that one thing may show all other appearances of piety worthless
2. Bridle as a horse is restrained by a bridle.
3. If the tongue is not subdued; if any sin is indulged, it will show that the seat of the evil has not been reached, and that the soul, as such, has never been brought into subjection to the law of God.
4. This could also refer to men that speak not from the truths of Scripture, no matter what pretences he makes to religion, he should bridle his tongue: he who does not believe that the doctrine of God, (the gospel) is the power of God to the salvation of his soul, cannot teach religion because he is an unconverted, unrenewed man.
27 External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
1. Pure and unblemished are supposed to have reference to a diamond or precious stone, whose perfection consists in its being free from flaws, not cloudy;
2. True religion is the ornament of the soul, and its effects, the ornament of the life.
3. Works of charity and mercy are the proper fruits of religion.
4. True religion leads to compassion for the poor and helpless, and makes the heart and the life pure.
2:1 MY BRETHREN, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]!
1. NIV says believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ: the Greek says: do you not make profession of the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with acceptance of persons?
2 For if a person comes into your congregation whose hands are adorned with gold rings and who is wearing splendid apparel, and also a poor [man] in shabby clothes comes in,
1. In ancient times petty courts of judicature were held in the synagogues, and it is probable that the case here was one of a judicial kind, where, of the 2 parties, one rich, and the other poor, and the master or ruler of the synagogue, or he who presided in this court, paid particular deference to the rich man, and neglected the poor man; though they were equal in the eye of justice, and should have been considered so by an impartial judge.
3 And you pay special attention to the one who wears the splendid clothes and say to him, Sit here in this preferable seat! while you tell the poor [man], Stand there! or, Sit there on the floor at my feet!
1. Evidently the cause was prejudged, saying to the poor man that he was not to expect an impartial justice in his cause.
4 Are you not discriminating among your own and becoming critics and judges with wrong motives?
1. Judges with evil thoughts: judges who reason wickedly, who, in effect, say in your hearts that we will judge for the cause of the rich because they can befriend us, and we will neglect the poor because they canít help us, nor do they have the power to hurt us.
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and in their position as believers and to inherit the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him?
1. This seems to refer to Matt 11:5: and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.
2. These believed on the Lord Jesus, while the rich despised, neglected and persecuted Him.
3. While these poor were despised of men, they were highly prized of God.
6 But you [in contrast] have insulted (humiliated, dishonored, and shown your contempt for) the poor. Is it not the rich who domineer over you? Is it not they who drag you into the law courts?
1. The administration of justice was at this time in a miserable state of corruption among the Jews; but a Christian was one who was to expect not justice anywhere but from his God.
2. This shows how the Christians were mistreated and oppressed by their countrymen the Jews, who made laws to afflict their bodies, and take their property
7 Is it not they who slander and blaspheme that precious name by which you are distinguished and called [the name of Christ invoked in baptism]?
1. In doing this, they slander the name of Jesus Christ, and the name by which they were called, Christians
8 If indeed you [really] fulfill the royal Law in accordance with the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, you do well. [Lev 19:18.]
1. Christ also says this in Jn 13:34 and 15:12.
9 But if you show servile regard (prejudice, favoritism) for people, you commit sin and are rebuked and convicted by the Law as violators and offenders.
1. If you show favoritism, you sin against God and your brothers, and are convicted by this royal law, Love your neighbor as yourself.
a. You refused justice to the poor man and upheld the rich in his oppressive conduct.
10 For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it.
1. There was a common saying among the rabbis: They considered that any one sin has the seeds of all others in it.
11 For He Who said, You shall not commit adultery, also said, You shall not kill. If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become guilty of transgressing the [whole] Law. [Ex 20:13,14; Deut 5:17,18.]
1. One who breaks a commandment, resists Godís authority, so that the breach of any one commandment may be justly considered a breach of the whole law.
2. Under the Old Covenant if you kept a part of the law, this does not cancel not keeping another part of the law.
12 So speak and so act as [people should] who are to be judged under the law of liberty [the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love].
1. Have respect for every commandment of God, for the law of liberty-the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the law by which all mankind will be judged: Love your neighbor as yourself.
13 For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment [will be] merciless, but mercy [full of glad confidence] exults victoriously over judgment.
1. He who doesnít do works of charity and mercy to his fellow man shall receive no mercy at the hand of God.
a. Jesus said: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
2. The royal law: Love your neighbor as yourself should prevail among men, because of the miserable state of humanity that was caused by sin, so that each particularly needs the help of his brother.
14 What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
1. Martin Luther supposed that James actually taught the doctrine of justification by works, and condemned this letter as not inspired by the Holy Spirit.
2. Learned men have spent much time reconciling the letters of Paul and James: One teaching the pure doctrine, and the other guarding men against the abuse of it.
3. Wesley says that James applies his writing to those who neglect the ďChristian practiceĒ under the pretence of faith.
4. Paul taught that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law; James repeats these Scriptures that Paul wrote, (Rom 4:3, Heb 11:17,31) and addresses those that abuse it.
5. They both delivered the truth of God in a different manner to different men.
6. Since James quotes the same Scriptures, and uses the same phrases and testimonies, and examples which Paul has done, (neither of them having read each otherís letters) shows that they were both inspired by the Holy Spirit.
a. God could teach each what was necessary for the benefit of the church, without their having knowledge of each other.
7. Can such faith save his soul: That is, his profession of faith; it does not say that he has faith, but that ďhe says I have faith.Ē
a. James probably refers to that faith which simply took in the being and unity of God. (Vs. 19, even the demons believe) (Can you believe, and not have faith?????)
b. Can a demon be saved?????????? NO.
c. The Jews believed in God!!!! Can this belief save them?????????? NO.
8. Not once in any of James writings does he contradict Eph. 2:8-9 that you can in any way be saved by works!!!
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
16 And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
1. Your saying to them, while you give them nothing, will profit them as much as your professed faith will profit you, without those works which are genuine fruits of true faith.
17 So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
1. The faith that does not produce works of charity and mercy is without the living principle of true faith, that is, love to God and to man.
18 But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
1. Your pretending to have faith, while you have no works of charity or mercy is vain.
2. Works of charity and mercy will show that I have faith; that is the Royal law; love to God and man.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as make a man's hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]!
1. Believing in the being and unity of God distinguished the Jews from all other nations of the world; and having been circumcised brought them into the covenant they thought would secure their salvation; The insufficiency of this James shows immediately.
2. This the demons also believe, but doesnít save them, and leaves them in a damned state; they shudder with horror, they believe and tremble, but they can neither love nor obey.
a. They know the power that God has over heaven and hell!!!
b. They shudder: Gr. Phrisso: to bristle, chill, tremble with horror.
20 Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?
1. Heís saying that if you are willing to be instructed in the nature of true saving faith, study the following examples.
21 Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac? [Gen 22:1-14.]
1. The conduct of Abraham, sufficiently proving that he believed in God, and that it was his faith that led him to this extraordinary act of obedience?
22 You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.
1. This is a proof that faith cannot exist without being active in works of righteousness.
2. His faith in God would have done him no good without being manifested by works.
3. By works-his obedience to the commands of God, his faith was made perfect-he obeyed, and thus faith had its consummation.
4. Even true faith will die if its possessor doesnít live in the spirit of obedience.
23 And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God's will in thought and deed), and he was called God's friend. [Gen 15:6; 2 Chron 20:7; Isa 41:8.]
1. He believed God; this faith was never inactive; his life of obedience showed that he believed in the grace of God.
2. The highest character ever given to man is to be called Godís friend;
a. Friends share everything, so being Godís friend meant that he could never be destitute because God poured out His blessings on him.
24 You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of obedience as well as by what he believes].
1. From this example we see that Abrahamís faith was not merely believing that there is a God, but a principle that led him to Godís promises relative to the future Redeemer; and to implore Godís mercy; this he received, and was justified by faith.
2. His faith now began to work by love; he brought forth the fruits of righteousness and by his works justified-proved the genuineness of his faith.
3. If he wouldnít have been obedient, the Spirit of God would have been grieved, and his principle of faith would have perished; one canít exist without the other.
4. Obedience to God is essential to maintain faith: faith lives, under God by works, and works have their being and excellence from faith; neither can subsist without the other and this is the point James labors to prove.
25 So also with Rahab the harlot ó was she not shown to be justified (pronounced righteous before God) by [good] deeds when she took in the scouts (spies) and sent them away by a different route? [Josh 2:1-21.]
1. God approved of them, because of their obedience to His will; and he approves of no man who is not obedient.
26 For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.
1. There can be no genuine faith without good works, just as there cannot be a living human body without a soul
2. Where true faith is, there is God; his Spirit gives life, and his love affords motives to righteous actions.
3. The more a man exercises faith in Christ, the more he is enabled to believe; the more he believes, the more he receives; and the more he receives the more able he is to work for God.
4. There must have been people known to James who must have taught that men are justified by merely believing in the one true God, or he would not have taken such pains to refute it.
a. Crediting the unity of the Godhead and the doctrine of a future state, was that faith through which both the Jews in Jamesí time and the Mohammedans of the present day expect justification.