Good mornin to you, and thank you for considering what I have to present to you about James chapter 2.

The meaning of this chapter has been a hot-bed of debate among many Christians for a long time hasn’t it? (In regard to the role of faith & works in the salvation of God’s elect). And I’ll tell you up front that I don’t have the answers to everything, but what I’m about to share with you is how I understand the message in James chapter 2.

So let’s consider the matter of faith & works shall we?

First of all, we should always remember to employ the proper hermeneutical approach to interpreting any relatively obscure bit of scripture (that may seem to be a little confusing). That approach being, when a minority of scripture seems to be at odds with the crystal-clear message in the overall majority of scripture on a given topic, we interpret the minority of scripture with the crystal-clear majority of scripture. (And we look at its context as well).

One thing we know about the context of the book of James is that the book of James was among the first books written in the new testament. It predates Paul’s writings, and it was written to first century Jews who likely had a law-based mindset, (although the book is applicable to everyone).

But what must be understood above all in regard to the doctrine of justification throughout scripture is that salvation is entirely the work of God by His free grace in Christ. It is ONLY by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ applied to someone (by God) that anyone is justified before Him. Righteousness is ENTIRELY the free gift from God by the obedience of one (Rom. 5.17-19). Our very best efforts of morality & righteousness as a component of our justification before God are nothing but filthy rags, (Isaiah 64.6). It is God’s works (not ours) that save us. All of which I’m unspeakably thankful for.

Additionally, it seems that people everywhere claim to be a “Christian” don’t they?
This claim is made so frequently that if it were true, it would mean that God’s miracle of new spiritual birth in spiritually-dead sinners is as common as dirt wouldn’t it?
But thankfully God’s greatest miracle isn’t common as dirt, in fact it’s relatively rare. We know that, because scripture such as Matt. 7.13-14 teaches us that only a few people among the masses are actual born-again Christians.
Therefore people’s claims of being a “Christian” needs to be substantiated if they are to be believed. (Even parrots can speak words that are void of substance).

[Intellectual knowledge isn’t the same thing as revelation knowledge].

And thus a new creature in Christ will have God-affected attitudes and actions (works) that accompany their new God-regenerated spirit.

Verse 18 below tells the matter perfectly, (far better than I can).

So now I present to you James chapter 2:

1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

~

All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no glory to us whatsoever!