James "Faith Without Works Is Dead"
Each book in the Bible gently guides God's people into a more intimate relationship with their Creator, as He knows must occur, for His people to receive Him in the depth of the relationship that He purchased for them. Each day we are covering, in sequential order, one of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and explaining how each of them is revealing God in a more intimate way than has been given to this point in the scriptures.
Today is the twentieth day of the series, “The Progressive Revelation of Jesus Christ” and the book is, James, the twentieth book in the New Testament as it appears in our Bible. James is a letter written to “The twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”, and the focus of this book is to encourage them to be doers of the word through faith instead of hearers only.
Yesterday’s blog was on the letter to the Hebrews which helped the people understand that legalistically following God’s Law and adhering to man’s traditions is not the freedom in His liberty that God purchased for His people. James brings a balance to “Hebrews” by helping people understand that talking about faith without living in it is worthless, and it continues with helping people to understand what actions should be showing through their life with faith being alive in them.
The first statement that I’ll highlight today is, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” James is following that statement up with this one letting his audience know that it automatically flows into receiving “the crown of life,” this crown of life is the prize that is set before all of God’s people and is guaranteed for all that live in Him. The “life” it is referring to is a life that never ends and is what sets God’s people free into loving the way God loves.
James then tells us, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” At first glance, this verse tells about how a man must do what he hears in the word, and it does, but it also makes the statement that when God’s people hear His word, they are actually hearing who they are. This revelation of the relation is a part of the process by which God’s people receive His word changes how they understand it and who they are in a dramatic way. They can now read His word and understand that it is not only about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, but it is also about them. Jesus prayed that His people would be one in Them just as They are of Each Other, and James is bringing more clarification to what that means in God’s people’s lives.
James now boldly proclaims what is expected of God’s people walking in this revelation throughout the rest of his letter and the following are a few highlights of it.
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Scripture has already told God’s people faith is the only way anyone can please God and it is by grace that it is accomplished. Now, God is telling His people to say and do those things that are pleasing to Him instead of just talking about religion.
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” Outward appearances and worldly positions are not impressive to God, and it should not be to God’s people either. God looks at the inside of people, and He will grant discernment to His people to be led by His Spirit instead of their eyes.
“Faith without works is dead”
“ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
James is telling God’s people to stop focusing on their way and their agenda and start living in His truth and desiring His things that it takes to fulfill His purpose for their lives. Jesus said multiple times He only said and spoke what He heard the Father say and saw Him do. This is the unity that Jesus came to give His people and is available for all of them to possess. This gift from God has already been covered in the New Testament and is now more than before being conveyed directly to God’s people who are maturing in the faith as He is leading them into His truth a little at a time.
The examples in this blog are only a limited sample of the deepening relational revelation described through the letter from James which includes, “Faith without works is dead.”
The intent of the blog is to demonstrate the difference in the revelation that God gives to His people as they intently follow Him and focus on what He has told them through their individual lives and the revelation they’ve received through the Holy Spirit and His Holy Bible.