Those who are possessors of Christ’s salvation, which the poorest Christian may partake of equally with the rich, and to which all earthly glory is but vanity, should not make men’s outward advantages the measure of their respect, but should love all, rich or poor, as themselves.
The certain evidence of faith is good works. While it is faith that justifies, the faith that justifies can never be alone.
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.
James 2 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:1 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:2 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:3-5 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:6-12 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:13 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:14 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:14 continued – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:15-20 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:21-26 – J. Vernon McGee
James 2:1-13 – Avoid Servility to the Rich
This sin of making distinctions in God’s house is as rife today as ever; and wherever it is practiced the divine Spirit departs. God’s love is impartial, so far as outward appearances might affect it; and in His Church the only real differences must be those of humility, purity and righteousness.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), whether they be rich in this world’s goods or not. But it is easier for a poor man to be rich in faith and an heir of the Kingdom, because he can give more of his attention to the things of the Spirit.
The law of love must be supreme with us; and we must love our fellows, whatever their position or property, as ourselves, for Christ’s sake. If we fail in this, we show that we have never entered into the heart of the Christian faith. A man may observe all the laws of health; but if he inhale one whiff of poison he may die; so we may be outwardly obedient to the entire Decalogue, but delinquency in love will invalidate everything. —Through the Bible Day by Day
James 2:10 – A chain is no stronger than its weakest link. (Moody)
James 2:14-26 – Deeds the Evidence of Faith
The Apostle is speaking here of a faith that does not result in a changed life. It is the faith which believes about Jesus Christ, as distinguished from that which believes in Him. We may believe about Him as we do about Luther or Washington, but such faith will not avail, either here or hereafter. It can no more affect our condition than the pious wish that a shivering beggar may be warmed, and fed will make him either one or the other.
The presence or absence of results in life and conduct is the real test of faith, as the green shoot of a living seed. James calls these results works. We are justified by works, because they prove our faith to be the real faith. Real faith binds the soul to the living Christ, produces deep penitence and humility, and brings about an absolutely new sort of behavior—as when Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, and Rahab received and assisted the spies. To reckon on God is to be a friend of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day
James 2:17 – Faith is a noble duchess; she ever hath her gentleman usher going before her, the confessing of sins; she hath a train after her, the fruits of good works, the walking in the commandments of God. He that believeth will not be idle; he will walk, he will do his business. Have ever the gentleman usher with you. So if you will try Faith, remember this rule, consider whether the train is waiting upon her. (Latimer)
James 2:20 – Workless faith God never regards, FaithIess work God never rewards. (Moody)
James 2:22 – As ciphers, added one by one in an endless row to the left hand of a unit, are of no value, but, on the right hand, rapidly multiply its power, so, although good works are of no avail to make a man a Christian, yet a Christians good works are both pleasing to God and profitable to men. (Arnot)
James 2:22 – That was a very good illustration of the harmony between Paul and James on the subject of faith and works, used by the late Frederick W. Robertson, of Brighton, Eng.: “Paul says faith justifies without works. James says, ‘Faith without works is dead.’” Robertson thus reconciles them: “A tree cannot be struck without thunder; that is true, for there is never destructive lightning without thunder. But, again, if I say, The tree was struck by lightning without thunder, that is true, too, if I mean that the lightning alone struck it, without the thunder striking it. Put it in one sentence—faith alone justifies, but not the faith which is alone. Lightning alone strikes, but not the lightning which is alone, without thunder; for that is only summer lightning, and harmless.” (Moody)