James Chapter 2 is composed of four basic parts with the main objective of urging Christians to consider the dangers of sin and to shun from personal favoritism. The apostle James also prompts his readers to note that faith without action is an equivalent of dead faith.
|» All the Books in the Bible «|
Warnings against Showing Favoritism
James stresses the need for Christians to show no favoritism on account of wealth, birth, rank, or apparel. He illustrated a case in which two people come into a congregation; one is classily dressed and the other clad in despicable manner. He said that the people in the congregation should not show special favor to the latter while assigning the former a modest place.
James highlighted the reasons to avoid partiality, including the fact that God has chosen the poor because the rich oppressed them and often found among revilers. The apostle also called upon believers to love their neighbors since the love of the man was not reserved for only those in splendid clothing.
Evidence of True Faith
James explained that the duty of every Christian was to yield to the whole law and order as an evidence of true faith. This means that a true believer should obey every part of the law because by breaking one point, they are guilty of breaking all the laws. Every part of the law rests on the same authority.
Faith Without Actions
The apostle points out in James Chapter 2 that faith without works is not enough to save a person. He uses an illustration of a believer telling a person to be warm and have a full stomach, but without giving them anything to make that happen. Words are empty, according to James, and faith is demonstrated through one’s actions. It is not enough to claim to simply believe in Jesus, but it is important to follow up your words with actions.
Faith and Works Combined
James explained this point by pointing out the example of Abraham who was justified by the act of sacrificing his only son, Isaac, at the altar. Abraham’s faith was declared to be righteous in the eyes of the Lord. He combined his faith with action just as God instructs believers to do.
James 2 (King James Version)
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.