Faith Working James 1:19-4:12
Words and Works 1:19-2:13
1:19-20 How does the preceding admonition from James about understanding trials bring us to the conclusion he states here in vs. 19? Once I understand the way God uses trials in my life I also learn patience, that patience keeps me from reacting too quickly and hurting the work of God with my anger.
How should I apply James statement of man’s wrath? In what ways do I try to use anger to accomplish God purposes? Is it ever justified? I must guard against the idea that my anger is a strength that I can use to accomplish God’s work. Anger toward another person or toward God will always be a trap Satan uses to hurt rather than help the work of God.
1:21 What does James exhort us to lay apart (once for all)? Filthiness is immorality while superfluity of naughtiness is any excess or overflow that is in us. We keep trying to be what God wants us to be by laying aside every sin, big and little.
Where does the power come from to lay apart these things? It comes from receiving the engrafted, implanted word.
What parable of Jesus could James be thinking of when talking about the engrafted word? The parable of the soils. Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
How do we deceive ourselves when we only hear the word? We don’t fool anyone but ourselves. We are the only ones thinking that we are getting away with something by our pretense.
In the Greek, the word beholdeth and looketh are two different words, the first means to contemplate the second literally means “stoops down to take a close look at.” How do these two words contrast the hearer and the doer? The hearer only give a passing glance, while the doer stays long and studies his own image intently.
What is the “perfect law of liberty and how do we continue there? It is the gospel, the fulfillment of the law which was accomplished in Christ. We “continue there,” by being with Him.
1:26 What is the mark of a self-deceived hearer? What is James’ judgment of him? He pretends to be religious but cannot control his tongue. He deceives his own heart and his religion is vain, empty and worthless.
1:27 Does James mean to say that this is the only things we must do? Is he saying this is the greatest practice we can do? How is he using the visitation of troubled orphans and widows? He uses visitation as an example of mercy, love and selflessness. These and remaining free from the worlds entanglements are marks of a true doer of the word.
The Sin of Favoritism James 2:1-13
In vss. 2:1-9 James definitely considers favoritism as sin, but why would favoritism be a greater sin for Christians? As Christians we are all equal before God. It was Jesus’ merit that made as acceptable to God not our own. If we show favoritism we deny the equality we share in Christ and glory in our self rather than God.
Vss. 10-13 How does James show by his example of the law that the sin of favoritism is no small thing? He shows that to break any part of the law is to break it all. To ignore poor brothers or sisters in Christ, because of favoritism to rich brothers and sisters, is to go against all that Christ stands for.
How will God deal with such a person? The person who shows favoritism, who makes a distinction between the rich and poor, will be judged by God without mercy, because they have shown no understanding of mercy.
What does “mercy rejoices against judgment mean?” Mercy rejoices or boasts over judgment, means that mercy does not fear judgment because it cannot be touched by it.
What does this mean to the Christian? What does it mean to the biased Christian who practices favoritism not showing mercy himself? The Christian has experienced mercy not judgment by accepting God’s gift of his son Jesus Christ. He no longer fears God’s judgment against him but the opposite is true of the Christian who shows favoritism. He is judged instead of receiving mercy, since he has disregarded the mercy God had given him at salvation.
Faith Without Works James 2:14-26
This is by far the most difficult section of James. If you will keep in mind who James was writing to and carefully read the passage you will have no trouble properly understanding it.
What is the overall purpose of James according to vs 14? To show that real faith is always accompanied by works of faith.
What does James say exactly about man in vs. 14? Is he telling us he is saved or is he merely making a profession? Though a man says, is what James states. This is an example of a profession which can only be show true by true works of faith.
Vs. 17 After the example of not helping a brother or sister in need, James says “Faith if it has not works is dead.” What kind of faith is James talking about? Is it a true saving faith or a false faith?
It is false the absences of works shows that is was never genuine. If it had been real then works would have followed. It would not have been alone.
In vs. 18 James issues a challenge of showing faith by works. Is there anyway to show true faith except by works, obedience and faithfulness? No, only God sees the heart but James say that true faith in order to be seen of man must be shown by works.
In vs. 19 James compares faith without works with the belief of demons in one God. Is a mere belief in God enough to save? No, one must believe in God but also accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He must repent and believe. This again shows that James is talking about an empty faith, not a true faith unto salvation but merely one of the mouth without the heart.
In vs. 20 James plainly states that “Faith without works is dead.” Again this is not saving faith but an empty profession. He then in vs. 21 and 22 uses example of Abraham and Rahab the harlot to complete his argument.
What is the same and what is different about Paul’s example using Abraham in Romans 4 and James example here? Both us the same man but different acts and times. Paul talks of Abraham’s faith before salvation while James speaks of it afterward. There is no contradiction, both are using Abraham to prove a different point.
What does James mean in vs. 22 by works was faith made perfect? How does it help us understand what James is trying to explain to the Christian Jews he was writing to? Faith was completed, or better, it was fulfilled by the works that were seen. This shows those James is writing to prove that works accompany true faith and cannot be separated from it.
In vs. 24 in whose eyes is faith justified by works? James states it plainly, “Ye see.” It is not God that needs to see faith proved but men who can see true faith by works.
Vs. 26 What kind of faith is James condemning? Is this a faith that saves? No he calls it “dead faith.” James whole purpose is to show that dead faith saves no one. True saving faith is always accompanied by works and can be seen by others through the works they do.