JAMES CHAPTER TWO
(Please understand that these are only "expanded" Bible Study "summaries".)
James 2:1 "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons."
The apostle is here reproving, or rebuking a very corrupt practice. He shows how much damage there is in the sin of respect of persons, which seemed to be a very growing evil in the churches of Christ even in those early ages, and much more so here in these latter days. That these are Christians is fully indicated. They are such as have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ
James 2:2-3 "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; 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:
In matters of religion, rich and poor are on an equal level, as far as riches are concerned. No man's riches sets him in the least nearer to God, nor does any man's poverty set him at a distance from God. . If a poor man be a good man, we must not value him the less for his poverty; and if a rich man be a bad man (though he may have both gay clothing and a gay profession), we must not value him any the more for his riches.
Many poor of the world are rich in faith; thus the poorest may become rich; and this is what they ought to be especially desirous of. It is expected from those who have wealth that they be rich in good works, because the more they have the more they have to do good works with.
James 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Are you not divided among yourselves and are judges with evil thoughts? Do you not judge by false values?
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?
God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he hath promised to those that love him.
James 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Judgment seats is a reference to Jewish courts allowed and recognized under Roman law
Acts 5:21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
Acts 5:34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
James 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
James argument against favoring the rich is that they blaspheme that worthy name. It is not the name "Christian" that is blasphemed but the name of "Jesus Christ"
James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
If we fulfill the royal law (preeminent, greatest law).
Matt 22:36-39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
If we keep the royal law-love thy neighbor as thyself- we wont cater to the rich and despise the poor. This law can be found in the book of Leviticus.
Lev 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 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced (convicted) 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 2:11-12 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. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
There is a judgment for the Christian, and it will be based on his relation to the Christian ethical standard, the law that free men accept without compulsion The law of liberty.
Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
This judgment will be a works judgment.
1 Cor 3:13-15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Here is indicated again that we should examine ourselves as to whether we be in the true faith. If we habitually fail to love our neighbor as ourselves and perhaps cater to the affluent and despise the poor we are without mercy and possible are not in the faith.
James 2:14-16 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 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 is saying, what kind of mercy is that? That is no mercy. God does not say that we should feel mercy. God says show mercy.
James 2:17-18 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 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.
God says have faith and God says show faith. We show mercy by doing merciful things. We show faith by doing good works.
Christians are often accused of being unmerciful because they show no mercy. But seldom are Christians accused of being faithless because they do no good works. But "doing" is the same proof of faith as "showing" is of mercy.
If we show no signs of forgiving others, others think we have not forgiven them. If we have forgiven them we will show signs. We will not hold grudges. Our forgiveness will be apparent. Out attitude and action toward that person will show it. We will by nature show proof of our forgiveness If we have true faith, we will by nature show proof by works of our faith. God says we will.
How can some say that God may be wrong. That some may not have the time to do good works. God says we will do good works because He recreated believers in Jesus Christ to do good works. Can we say that failed in some believers. If God can fail to cause some true believers to perform good works, why can not He fail in providing salvation to some true believers.
But no, we believe all true believers will inherit eternal life. God has promised. He is all powerful, He will not fail. Well, why dont these same people believe that God will not fail to cause all true believers to perform good works.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James 2:23 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.
Abraham's life shows the impossibility of separating faith from works. In his case the two went hand in hand. Works brought faith to completion in Abraham's act of obedience.
Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Bare, unproductive faith, cannot save a man. True faith will demonstrate itself in works, and only such a faith brings justification.
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
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?
Read Joshua Chapter 2
Rahab believed in the God of the Israelites because of the mighty works He did in the sight of the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Her belief was accounted to her for righteousness. Her ACTION manifested her belief.
Josh 2:10-11 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
When our spirit separates (leaves) from our body we are dead physically. We are also spiritually dead if we do not have good works. If we have a faith without works we have a dead faith. The Holy Spirit of God is not in us. We are dead spiritually.
How can one show the world their faith without works, (an outward manifestation or showing) of their faith. One cannot show their faith without works. James said he can show his faith by his works. One does not do works because one thinks one has to do them to show ones faith. Works come automatically because God created believers in Christ Jesus unto, or for good works. (Eph 2:10)
James says these things because he knows that true faith will produce works in the believer