Archive for October 7th, 2010

James 2

James 2 begins with the admonition to “show no partiality” toward people based on their circumstances.  James speaks about the rich and poor, but the message is clearly that we must not “become judges with evil thoughts”.  When we treat people differently based on how they look we are failing to keep the commandment as he reminds us: “you will love your neighbor as yourself”.  Love does not treat people differently based on their status or class.  James makes it clear that failing in this area is a problem when he teaches us that “if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law”.  That is pretty straight forward isn’t it?  If we miss the love part – we are sinning.  And a key teaching of scripture is reinforced here.  Failing and falling in one area makes us guilty.  There are not shades of good and bad.  You either are a sinner or you are not.  And sinning in one area makes you a sinner no matter how much goodness there is in other parts of your life.  This is the problem of mankind in general.  None of us are good enough to live a life that is pleasing to God and meets His requirements for godliness and holiness.  “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it”.  There is a major problem for each one of us.  We are sinners.  We need a Savior.  We have to have Jesus if we want to overcome this issue and get to heaven.

James goes on to make another very important point in this chapter – he reminds us that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”.  Does that mean that we are saved by works?  Absolutely not.  Scripture tells us we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ period.  But faith is not some passive thing we have.  Faith means we are living it out.  Faith is an action word.  Like we learned in last chapter when James used the word “be”.  Faith means we are living out what we believe in.  “What good is it my brothers, if someone says he have faith but does not have works”?  They go together.   They are connected at the hip.  If you have faith, it will cause you to do works.  “Faith was completed by his works”.  We need to realize that a faith that is alive and real will exhibit works – lining up with what God is up to and joining him in doing good.  It is how faith manifests itself.  When we truly believe it drives us to get in the game and do things alongside our Lord.  “Faith apart from works is useless”.  It simply becomes a mental exercise.  That is not what real faith looks like.  The reality is that if we believe we will take action and join God in what He is doing around us.  “Faith apart from works is dead”.  Is your faith alive and active?  Are you joining God in what He is up to?  If you have faith, you won’t be able to control yourself from getting involved!

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