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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
James 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-7

Facing the Temptation of Showing Partiality- We can face this temptation by judging others, or we can focus upon the teaching of the Word of God and learn to be a quick hearer and doer of the Word of God. Many church members focus on how others dress and judge others while sitting in church rather than focusing upon the preaching of the Word. Imagine being in a congregation of believers and looking around judging other and ignoring the preaching of the Word ( James 2:1-5). Thus, James condemns this behaviour within the congregation of believers by showing them that it is the very rich people who are exalted in church on the Sabbath that are oppressing them during the week ( James 2:6-7).

James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

James 2:1 — "the Lord of glory" - Comments - Why would James use the phrase "Lord of glory" in James 2:1 to describe the divine attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps the answer is found in the Greek word προσωποληψί α, which literally means, "receiving face," which is translated in English as "respect of persons" (KJV). The context of this passage is about receiving the face of some men and despising others. The phrase "Lord of glory" refers to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus Christ reflects the glory of the Father when we behold His face, so do God's children reflect the glory of Jesus Christ when others behold their countenance. James will later mention man's similarity to the divine when he says, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God." ( James 3:9) Thus, Jesus Christ is described as the Lord of glory because this divine glory is reflected in every true child of God.

James 2:1Comments- James 2:1 tells us not to have partiality among people. James 2:2-4 explains the meaning of the word "partiality" by giving an illustration.

James 2:1Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:

Leviticus 19:15, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."

James 2:2 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;

James 2:2Word Study on "assembly" - The Greek word used in James 2:2 is συναγωγή. In every other place in the New Testament, this Greek word is translated "synagogue." This is the only occurrence of this Greek word in the New Testament epistles. It occurs frequently in the Gospels and Acts. There are only three occurrences of this word outside the Gospels and Acts. It occurs twice in the book of Revelations ( Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9), and here in the book of James.

Comments- The author is obviously speaking to Jews who are still accustomed to worshipping in the traditional synagogue.

Revelation 2:9, "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."

Revelation 3:9, "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."

James 2:3 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:

James 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

James 2:5 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?

James 2:5Comments- In James 2:5 we are told that God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith. Then Paul tells the believers at Corinth that there are not many wise men after the flesh who are called, not many noble ones ( 1 Corinthians 1:26). Why is this so? Why are the poor and weak and oppressed more open to the things of God than the rich and noble? Perhaps we can find the answer in the book of Genesis by looking at God's judgment upon Adam and Eve during the Fall. Man's original role in taking dominion over the earth was to tend the Garden. The woman's role in taking dominion over the earth was not in tilling the soil, but in bearing children. We then see how man was working the land while woman was tending to children. This was God's original divine order and plan for mankind to prosper and fulfill their destinies. This is reflected in the way in which God judged Adam and Eve in the Fall. The woman had her pain and sorrow increased in the area of childbearing while the man had his sorrow and pain increased in tilling the earth. God added travail and sorrow to each of their earthly journeys so that they would learn to turn to Him for their daily peace and rest. Such daily travail brings humility, and humility leads us back to God. In fact Ecclesiastes 3:10 tells us, "I have seen the travail that God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it." Thus, it is a state of travail and vanity that a person most easily turns to God. But those whose lives have been made easy by wealth and nobility tend to see no need for God because their flesh has been comforted.

James 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

James 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

James 2:6-7Comments - The rich have oppressed these Jewish believers ( James 2:6) because of their faith in Christ Jesus ( James 2:7). James uses this as an example of religious persecution to illustrate why these same Jewish believers should not despise their poor brethren and favor the rich.


Verses 1-18

The Path of Faith and Patience- Once James lays the foundational truths in our lives that there are two ways to face trials, with humility or with pride, by becoming doers of God's Word or by yielding to our own lusts ( James 1:2-27), we are ready to receive much wisdom from God to help us overcome anything. James will then take us through a course of learning how to walk by faith in every area of our lives. He will show us how we demonstrate our faith by not showing partiality ( James 2:1-26), by taming our tongue ( James 3:1-18), and by managing our temper ( James 4:1 to James 5:6).

Outline- Note the proposed outline:

1. Quick to Hear — James 2:1-26

2. Slow to Speak — James 3:1-18

3. Slow to Wrath — James 4:1-12

4. Covetousness — James 4:13 to James 5:6

5. Final Appeal: Patience and Prayer — James 5:7-18

James 2:1-26 — Quick to Hear: Overcoming Partiality by Refusing to Judge the Poor and Showing Him Mercy (Submitting our Hearts to God) - One of the greatest temptations of the flesh is to show partiality among the various social classes of a church congregation. In James 2:1-26 we find a teaching on having faith towards God without showing partiality towards others. James 2:1-26 paints a picture of Jewish believers gathering in the synagogue ( James 2:2) according to their tradition. They show partiality by seating the rich Jews in good seats near the front to be seen by others, while making the poor Jews sit or stand in the back. We know from the writings of Eusebius that James , the first bishop of the church in Jerusalem, worshipped and prayed in the Temple, showing that he sought to coexist with non-believing Jews as much as possible (Ecclesiastical History 2231-25). Thus, Jewish believers would have continued their tradition of worshiping in the Temple in Jerusalem and attending the synagogue as well as assembling with local believers. I have seen the partiality described in James 2:1-26 many times while a missionary in Africa, where the rich were seated in the front at functions and the poor stood outside on in the rear. This African custom was adopted by their churches as well, providing a vivid picture of this warning against showing partiality among the early church.

Outline- Here is a proposed outline:

1. Facing the Temptation of Showing Partiality — James 2:1-7

2. The Path of Death — James 2:8-13

3. The Path of Life — James 2:14-26

Other Passages on Partiality- We find a similar passage of Scripture regarding warnings against partiality in 1 Corinthians 3:1 to 1 Corinthians 4:21, in which Paul teaches the Corinthians to stop showing partiality towards church leaders.


Verses 8-13

The Path of Death- Those who continue to show partiality commit since by breaking the royal law, which teaches us to love our neighbour as ourselves. This will result in judgment without mercy ( James 2:8-13).

James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

James 2:8 Exodus 1:1-17 records the Ten Commandments that Moses received on Mount Sinai. The heart of these laws serve as the foundation of the man's faith in God in both the old and new covenants. They establish the divine principles by which man should live throughout the ages, from Genesis to Revelations.

The major theme of the Pentateuch is the delivering of the Mosaic Law to the children of Israel. On Mount Sinai, Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments, which can be referred to as the "Moral Law." He then delivered to them many statutes and ordinances regarding daily living and service in the Tabernacle. This set of rules and regulations can be referred to as the "Civil Laws." The Ten Commandments became the foundation for the Jewish civil laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments dealt with a man's heart, while the civil laws dealt with a man's actions. When a man held the moral laws within his heart, he would then be willing to follow the civil laws. Moses repeats the giving of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:1-22 to the new generation of people who will go in to possess the Promised Land.

When questioned by the Jews about the greatest commandment, Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two great commandments, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." ( Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28) Thus, we can understand that the first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. Jesus summed these four up with the statement that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

1Commandment ( Exodus 20:3) - No other Gods before Me. Love God with all your heart.

2Commandment ( Exodus 20:4-6) - No worship of graven images. Love God with all your soul.

3Commandment ( Exodus 20:7) - Do not take God"s name in vain. Love God with all your mind.

4th Commandment ( Exodus 20:8-11) - Keep the Sabbath. Love God with all your strength.

This order of heart, soul, mind and strength helps us to understand our make-up. When we set our heart on something or someone (1st commandment), we begin to think about it (2nd commandment). Our thoughts lead us to speak about it (3rd commandment). Our words direct our actions (4th commandment). The last six commandments deal with our relationship with our fellow man:

5th Commandment ( Exodus 20:12) - Honour father and mother.

6th Commandment ( Exodus 20:13) - Do not murder.

7th Commandment ( Exodus 20:14) - Do not commit adultery.

8th Commandment ( Exodus 20:15) - Do not steal.

9th Commandment ( Exodus 20:16) - Do not bear false witness.

10th Commandment ( Exodus 20:17) - Do not covet.

Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments in Matthew 7:12, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." He made a similar statement in Luke 6:31, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

In Romans 13:9-10 Paul summed up the last six commandments with the same statement that Jesus had taught, which says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Romans 13:9-10, "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

James describes the Ten Commandments as the "royal law" ( James 2:8-11).

James 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"

James 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:11 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.

James 2:11Comments- They become transgressors of the law just like an adulterer, by showing partiality.

James 2:10-11Comments - We Have All Transgressed the Law - The Law of Moses was one overarching mandate to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Andrew Wommack compares the Law to a large piece of glass, so that if one piece of this glass is broken, then the entire piece is broken and needs to be replaced. 106] If we have ever lied or cheated someone, or disobeyed our parents, then we are guilty of breaking all of the laws of God; murder, idolatry, adultery, stealing, covetousness, etc. In coming to Jesus as a sinner, we come to Him guilty of everything.

106] Andrew Wommack, Gospel Truth Conference, Kampala, Uganda, 26 October 2012.

I once questioned the Lord about feeling so much like a failure as a Christian, and He seemed to quicken to me James 2:10-11.

James 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

James 2:12"as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty" - Comments - God gives a greater grace. James 4:6 and Romans 5:17 says that we have received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness. We are now to live and talk as if we are about to be judged by the law of liberty." No more living like those who are under the law of sin and death.

When we abide in the perfect law of liberty, we will be blessed

We are to submit to man"s ordinances for Jesus" sake, as free people, being servants of Christ Jesus ( 1 Peter 2:13).

1 Peter 2:13, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord"s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;"

Thus, we are judged either by the law of liberty (in Jesus Christ) or by the law of sin and death.

Scripture References - Note:

Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Galatians 6:2, "Bear ye one another"s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

James 1:25, "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

James 2:12Comments - The law of liberty will show mercy to believers on Judgment Day ( Hebrews 2:17).

Hebrews 2:17, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

James 2:13Comments - If a sinner is still in his sins, he will be judged by the law of sin and death on Judgment Day. This judgment will be merciless to you who shows (or does) no mercy. However, if you are under the law of Jesus Christ, the law of liberty, God"s mercy towards you will triumph over this judgment. Therefore, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." ( Galatians 6:9)

If God shows us mercy in the law of liberty, let us show mercy to poor, or else, God will not show us mercy on the day of judgment.

Sowing and reaping:

Psalm 18:25, "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;"

Forgiving:

Matthew 18:21-35

Our judgment for sin took place on Calvary ( Ephesians 2:4, James 5:11).

Ephesians 2:4, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"

James 5:11, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job , and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."


Verses 14-26

The Path of Life- In order for them to get through their trials victoriously and joyfully they must give their full attention to God's Word and show compassion towards the poor ( James 2:14-16), and leave the judging of others to the Lord. Compassion towards others in need is our expression of faith in God ( James 2:17-20). James illustrates this divine principle of faith and works by using situations from the lives of Abraham and Rahab ( James 2:21-26).

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

James 2:14Word Study on "faith" - Jack MacGorman says the Greek article used with an abstract noun πίστις spells out faith in a very specific context. 107]

107] Jack MacGorman, "Class Lecture," GREEK 432 - New Testament Greek II, Spring 1982 (Fort Worth, Texas: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), comments on James 2:14.

Comments - James 2:14 helps answer 2questions:

1. Works Without Faith- What about a man who lives a good moral life, yet does not profess Jesus as his Savior? He doesn't realize that in God's eyes, his righteousness is as filthy rags ( Isaiah 64:6), and that he must trust in God's righteousness made available through Jesus Christ and do God's work ( John 6:28-29)

Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

John 6:28-29, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."

Illustration- I met a man while working at Fort Worth Country Day School, as a janitor during my seminary studies. He told me that he had never smoked, nor drank, ran around, nor drank coffee or tea, but he would not confess Jesus as Lord of his life.

Illustration- I had a man telling me after I asked about his relationship to Jesus that he was as righteous as any other man.

2. Faith Without Works- What about a man who makes a profession of faith in Jesus and later lives a bad lifestyle, such as in Galatians 5:19-21? He has a faith without works.

James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

James 2:15Comments - Food and clothing mentioned in James 2:15 are representative of our daily necessities. They are described in James 2:16 as "those things which are needful to the body."

James 2:16 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?

James 2:16Comments- Matthew 6:25-33 lists food, drink, clothing as the necessities of the body. Thus, note the phrases used here, "be warmed," and "be fed."

Illustration- An old man I once met while street witnessing had not eaten in three days and was going to sleep on the cold concrete that winter night. I came back later and left some food. My words seemed to be only a part of my testimony of Jesus' great love for that man. He needed help.

The abundant life involves sharing with others.

See:

Job 31:16-22

Acts 2:45, "And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need."

Acts 20:35, "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

James 1:27, "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."

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:17Comments- Even the feeblest of Christians have a work to do, for the perfecting of their faith. God has given everyone a ministry. Even widows have a role to play in serving the Lord:

1 Timothy 5:5, "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day."

Luke 2:36-38, "And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."

James 2:17 refers to a certain kind of works, which are the works of God, and not the works of the flesh. It refers to the works that we allow the Holy Spirit to perform through us. Note:

Galatians 5:19, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,"

These works are the works of faith:

John 6:28, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?"

John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

The works of Jesus were summarized in Luke 4:18-19 :

Luke 4:18-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

In James 1:5, we are to ask in faith for Wisdom of Solomon , and God will give it to us free and generously as a gift. However, the works must be an effort on our part. Notes these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Ye have faith in Me, this is good, but faith without works is dead. Faith I can give thee as a gift, but the works I can do through thee only as your ego is moved out of the way. For they are not your works, but My works, even as Jesus said ‘I must work the works of Him that sent Me'. And as Paul said ‘The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me'. And again in another place it is written, ‘It is no more I that live, but Christ liveth in Me.'" 108]

108] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 138.

Illustration- In 1985, I was pastoring a small church part-time and working with M & O Sanitation, which had bought out Floribay Sanitation Company. The owner of the company that sold out was a great Christian businessman that had employed me during my years on school break from seminary. In 1985 I decided to step out in faith and become self-employed. I began to take what little jobs I could find, doing handiwork around people"s homes. But the income was not enough to pay my bills. I finally gave up and drove my truck to a company named Gulf Power Company, looking for employment again. When I stepped out of my truck in the parking lot of this company, the Lord spoke to my heart, "Cleanse your hearts you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded."

It did not take me long to figure out that the Lord was telling me to stop being double minded. I had stepped out in faith, trusting God for work. I had testified in church how God was giving me jobs to do. Now, I was giving up.

I quickly stepped back into my truck, drove home, and lay on the floor of my bedroom in prayer. The only thing that I heard from the Lord that day was, "Faith without works is dead." As I began to meditate on this verse in James , I began to understand that I had to do something to bring in more jobs. I could not just sit in my home and expect God to bring jobs to me. I had to do what I could do. The Lord gave me an inspired idea of getting business cards. He also laid on my heart to go door to door down a particular street in the Cove in Panama City, Florida. I took this step of faith. Immediately, I found favour at many of the doors that I knocked on. Within a few months, I had more work than I could do. I had learned that I must do what I could do, by the leadership of God, and He would to the rest.

Joyce Meyer once said, "You cannot drive a parked car. If we will get moving, God can give us some direction." 109]

109] Joyce Meyer, Life in the Word (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

I will never forget how faithful God was during that part of my life, trusting him with everything that I had within me.

Once day, I was installing plastic sheeting around a tube in the bathroom of a rental home. I had purchased the materials for US$ 80. It was all the money that I had. In the process of installation, I cut the holes wrong for the faucets. I knew that I had ruined US$ 80 of materials. Not knowing what to do, I went outside, laid on the grass in the front yard, looked up to heaven and prayed a short prayer, "Lord, help." Immediately, the Lord showed me what to do. I jumped up, went into the bathroom, flipped the plastic sheet around, cut off a few inches on one side, and the piece slid into place.

Another time, I was repairing a section of cement in a driveway of a motel. I had purchased bags of cement in town, about a 30-minute drive. I ran out of cement needing just one bag to complete the job. I did not know what to do. If I made a trip back to town for cement, the concrete in the driveway would harden, and spoil a good job. Just as I was looking at the options, the owner of the motel drove up and asked me if I needed anything. I told him that I had just ran out of cement. He quickly pointed to a door in the motel a few feet away from where I was working. He said go find a bag of cement in that room. I ran over, and found enough cement to finish the job properly. God is so faithful, but we must do what we can do and believe that God will complete the work.

James 2:18 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.

James 2:18Comments- In James 2:18 James says to a person with a false faith, " Song of Solomon , you claim to have faith? Well, I have works. I challenge you to show, or demonstrate, your faith to me without using any works, and I will demonstrate my faith by my works. The truth is that you cannot show me your faith without doing some type of work."

Illustration- Abraham showed God his faith by his words, as mentioned in verses 21and 22of this passage.

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

James 2:19 — "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well" - Comments- Many religions of the New Testament period, like Greek and Roman mythology, believed in many gods. Thus, we hear in these words an allusion to the Hebrew "Shema," which is the great Jewish confession of faith in the one true and living God of Israel. The Shema says, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

James 2:19 — "the devils also believe, and tremble" - Word Study on "tremble" - Jack MacGorman says the Greek word φρί σσω literally means, "to stand on end," and is used to mean, "hair standing on end," and to describe soldiers' guns on shoulders or of hands in a crowd raised. In James 2:19 it describes the demons shuttering and trembling from sudden and awesome fright. 110]

110] Jack MacGorman, "Class Lecture," GREEK 432 - New Testament Greek II, Spring 1982 (Fort Worth, Texas: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), comments on James 3:14.

Comments - Perhaps the characteristic of demons trembling at the name of the Lord was manifest during exorcism by Jesus Christ in the Gospels ( Matthew 8:28-32, Mark 1:34, Luke 10:17), or by the early Church ( Acts 16:18), or by the Judaziers ( Acts 19:13-19). For example, Kenneth Hagin tells the story of seeing into the spirit realm through the gift of discerning of spirits and noticing a demon on a certain lady in the congregation. He commanded the demon to loose her in Jesus' name, and the demon began to tremble at the precious name of Jesus. 111]

111] Kenneth Hagin, The Holy Spirit and His Gifts (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1991, 1994), 99-100.

James 2:19Comments - James 2:19 tells us that it is not enough to simply believe in God, or believe the Bible stories about Jesus Christ. We must bow our knees and make Jesus Christ Lord of our lives.

Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

1 Corinthians 8:4-6, "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain Prayer of Manasseh , that faith without works is dead?

James 2:20 — "But wilt thou know" - The Greek reads, "Do you wish to know?" In other words, James gives his readers the choice of humbling themselves, receiving further understanding, and progressing in their spiritual journey, as he has exhorted them earlier in James 1:21-22.

James 1:21-22, "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

James 2:20 — "O vain man" - Comments - The word "vain" implies a person's attempts to accomplish a task, but with little benefits. It reveals the futility of a man's life to accomplish something in the flesh that proves worthless before God. Within the context of James 2:20 it reflects a man's vain attempts to claim his faith in God without having any works to prove it.

James 2:20"that faith without works is dead" - Word Study on "dead" - The Greek word "dead" ( ἀργός) (G 692) means, "inactive, lazy, useless."

Comments - This type of faith has the potential produce fruit, but it lies inactive, and thus, fruitless.

James 2:22"Seest thou how faith wrought with his works" - Comments - James 2:22 refers to a kind of works that requires faith (see Hebrews 11:1-40).

James 2:22"and by works was faith made perfect" - Scripture Reference- Note:

James 1:3-4, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

James 2:22Comments - With anything that we are believing God for, there is also something we can do, a work to bring about the manifestation of our faith, or the completion.

Illustration- Abraham's faith was tested by God in Genesis 22, and his faith was made perfect. Note the hard work done by the faithful servant in Luke 17:5-10.

James 2:23"and it was imputed unto him for righteousness" - Comments - Abraham's faith had been now tested and proven genuine.

James 2:23"and he was called the Friend of God" - Comments - We, also, are friends of God thru Christ Jesus ( John 15:14).

John 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

We find Abraham being called the friend of God in Isaiah 41:8.

Isaiah 41:8, "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend."

This word "friend" is used again in James 4:4 in contrast to an enemy.

James 4:4, "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."

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

James 2:24Comments - Our faith in God will be completed, or perfected, as it is tested by God. It will be exercised, like a muscle, so that it can grow stronger.

Note this kind of work as opposed to the "works of the law" ( Galatians 2:16).

Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

James 2:22-24Comments - The Role of Water Baptism- Does water baptism act much in the same way, perfecting our faith?

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

James 2:25Comments - The story of Rahab the harlot is recorded in Joshua 2:1-21; Joshua 6:17; Joshua 6:22-25. When we compare the references to Rahab in Hebrews 11:31, there is an emphasis made about her faith in God, which is a condition of the heart. This reflects the theme of Hebrew. The epistle of James emphasizes the believer's works as a part of his perseverance in sanctification. Therefore, the reference to Rahab in James 2:25 reflects upon her works. She does make confession of faith in YHWH as the true God in Joshua 2:9-11.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James 2:26Comments - Faith works by love ( Galatians 5:6). Note:

Galatians 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

Scripture Reference- Note:

Ephesians 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on James 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/james-2.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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