JAMES CHAPTERS 1 & 2

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of James. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

A careful observation of chapter one is key to understanding chapter 2, so let's take a look at chapters one and two in their entirety to see what we can observe from them before going elsewhere:

I) [Jas 1:1]:

(v. 1) "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings."

A) AUTHOR JAMES DECLARES HE IS A SERVANT/SLAVE OF GOD AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, I.E., HE IS A BELIEVER

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings." =

"doulos" = slave, servant

The author introduces himself as James and declares himself to be a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

James identifies himself first and foremost as a servant of Christ Jesus. The Greek word "doulas" is rendered in this verse as servant, lit. a slave, an individual owned by another. The context in this verse of "doulos" is that kind of slavery which is a voluntary and benevolent servitude.

So James' slavery is a voluntary one to the personal benevolent ownership of himself to Christ Jesus.

B) JAMES' LETTER IS ADDRESSED TO PEOPLE FROM THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL WHO WERE SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DWELLING AMONG THE GENTILE NATIONS

"To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. Greetings." =

Evidently, James' letter was addressed to people from the twelve tribes of Israel who were at the time scattered throughout the world and who dwelt among the nations, i.e., Gentile nations. The time the letter was written points to after Christianity had begun and before evangelism of Gentiles had formally commenced.

Notice the absence of concern throughout the epistle of conversion of Gentiles and the absence of reference to leaders of congregations/churches of the kind we now call "pastors". This corroborates the early date of this letter before the outreach to Gentiles as recorded in Acts.

[Zane C. Hodges states, ("The Epistle of James", Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Texas, 1994, pp. 17-18)]:

"James addresses an audience whom he calls the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. If we are right in thinking that this epistle was written to Jewish Christians not long after the first persecution of the church in Jerusalem (ca. A.D. 35...), the addressees are the true twelve tribes because their hearts have been circumcised by faith (Col 2:11-12).

In this light, the reference to the readers being scattered abroad (Greek: en te diaspora, 'in the dispersion') does not refer to the Diaspora, i.e., to the dispersion of ethnic Jews all over the Roman world that took place centuries earlier. Instead, it refers to the scattering of Jewish believers in the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1). Some time had passed (a few months?) since then, and these believers had taken advantage of less stressful times."

The tone and content of the letter corroborate that Jewish believers are being addressed yet the message is portrayed as inclusive of all believers.

II) [Jas 1:1-4]:

(v. 1) "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

(v. 2) Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

A) JAMES ADDRESSES HIS READERS AS BROTHERS, I.E., BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST, IDENTIFYING HIMSELF AS A FELLOW BELIEVER IN CHRIST

(v. 1) "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. (v. 2) Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials (peirasmois from the root word peirasmos) of many kinds," (Compare v. 2:1) "My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, don't show favoritism." =

James has already identified himself as a servant of Jesus Christ in verse one, i.e., a believer and brother in Christ. So in verse two the phrase "my brothers" continues the context of brothers in Christ as opposed to Jewish brethren, although the latter is also true but not in view. Compare verse 2:1 above which corroborates this.

So James is addressing his readers as brothers in Christ identifying himself as a fellow believer in Christ. This is corroborated all the more re: the date of this letter being between 45-50 A.D. - long after the dispersion of the Israelites of old. Later verses will corroborate the focus of fellow Israelite believers and believers in general rather than the limited focus of fellow Israelites which the latter is not what the context is limited to in the Book of James.

B) THE SCATTERED TWELVE TRIBES OF CHRISTIAN BRETHREN WERE EVIDENTLY FACING TRIALS OF MANY KINDS - TRIALS OF DIFFICULTY AND PERSECUTION ARE IN VIEW

(v. 1) "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. (v. 2) Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." (cont.) =

Considering the immediate attention author James gives to trials, the scattered tribes of Israelite Christian brethren were evidently facing trials of many kinds at that time. The phrase "consider it all joy" sets the tone for these trials as difficult ones, even persecution. James tells his Christian brethren to consider facing trials of many kinds as "pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"]."

C) CONSIDER IT ALL JOY TO FACE EXTERNAL TRIALS OF ALL KINDS BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY KNOWN THAT SUCH TESTING OF ONES FAITH DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE UNTO MATURITY AND COMPLETION AS A BELIEVER - A MESSAGE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE BEHAVIOR OF BELIEVERS, I.E., ISRAELITE CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." =

"you know" = "ginOskontges" = know through experience.

The phrases "consider it all joy" and "the testing of your faith develops perseverance" point to external trials of difficulty and persecution. External trials are in view, (peirasmois). The context does not address internal ones which are dealt with in verse 13. Believers are not to find joy in the trials themselves - which might sound a bit perverse; but to find joy in God's purpose behind them. James gives a reason to his brothers in the Christian faith for considering it all joy whenever they face external trials of many kinds: He reminds them that they already know this through experience. The Greek word "ginOskontges" = know through experience. So this is not new information that they "know that the testing of [their] faith develops perseverance" which must finish its work [in them] toward being mature and complete [in the faith]. This is obviously a message directed to believers. A reaction of "all joy" is to occur as a result of understanding that the many trials the believer faces have a godly purpose to develop perseverance in the believer which is God's finishing work so that the believer may be "mature and complete, not lacking anything". A spiritual maturity and completion is thus in view here to result in an inner joy when facing many trials because of the spiritual and eternal perspective that the believer is evidently exhorted to focus on while under external trials.

[Zane C. Hodges, 'The Epistle of James, Proven Character Through Testing', Grace Evangelical Society, Publishers; Irving, Tx, 1994, pp. 18-19]:

"The words "count it all joy" ... strike precisely the note of triumph that James wishes to sound for his Christian brothers. Various trials have occurred - and will continue to occur - in the lives of these readers. How should they face them? What attitude should they take? They should count them as joy, James declares. But not merely as a partial or insufficient kind of joy. Rather, James insists, they should count them as all joy, or (more idiomatically) as 'total joy'! How unnatural this is to the human heart is obvious. We usually greet troubles with distress and complaining! Clearly, James is exhorting these believers to view their hard times with the eye of faith.

Why should they count their trials as all joy? Because these trials have a positive and highly beneficial purpose in the plan of God. And that purpose is stated here as something known to the readers. God's intention in allowing our faith to be tested is to produce patience, more accurately, 'endurance' or 'perseverance.'...

The Greek phrase translated by the NKJV as the testing of your faith treats the Greek word dokimion [testing] as a noun. But dokimion could be the neuter singular of the adjective and literally can mean: 'the genuine [thing] of your faith'... We suggest the meaning, 'your quality-proven faith,' i.e., 'your unalloyed [pure] faith.' James is referring to the way trial and testing apply 'fire' to our faith, so that it can come through the 'furnace' of trouble cleansed of any dross or impurity from the flesh. Like gold that has been refined, faith can be purified from the selfish motives and misguided perceptions that often distort and weaken it. God can use trouble to accomplish just that."

Sad to say such is the condition of man that this is true.

[BKC, cont., p. 820]:

"It is important to note that James did not say that a believer should be joyous for the trials but in the trials. The verb translated 'face' might more literally be expressed as 'fall into,' peripesEte... When surrounded by these trials, one should respond with joy. Most people count it all joy when they escape trials. James said to couint it all joy in the midst of trials...

It is clear that the reference here is to external trials, or tests of stamina (peirasmois) whereas later in the same chapter (James 1:13) the verb form (peirazomai) of that noun is used to speak of inner temptations, or solicitations to sin...

This [verse 3: 'because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.'] is no new revelation. It is a simple reminder. James wrote, 'because you know' literally, 'knowing through experience' (ginOskontes). Everyone has experienced both the pain of problems and the ensuing profit of persistence. There is no gain in endurance without some investment in trials."

D) TRIALS ARE TO BE EXPECTED AND COUNTED AS JOY NOT EVIDENCE AND PUNISHMENT FOR SOME KIND OF FAILURE OR UNWARRANTED DISASTER IN THE BELIEVER'S LIFE

Notice that trials in the believer's life are to be expected and counted as joy not evidence and punishment of some kind of failure in the believer's life.

[The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord and Zuck Eds., Victor Books, USA, 1988,p. 821]:

"Trials should be faced with an attitude of joy. Trials should not be seen as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity but something that must prompt rejoicing. Furthermore they should produce 'pure joy' (lit., 'all joy'; i.e., joy that is full or unmixed), not just 'some joy' coupled with grief."

E) THE CONTEXT OF FACING TRIALS TO TEST ONES FAITH CORROBORATES JAMES' AUDIENCE AS SCATTERED AND PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN ISRAELITE BELIEVERS NOT ISRAELITES BEFORE CHRIST CAME TO EARTH

(v. 1) "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. (v. 2) Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." =

Considering the context of the first four verses, author James' stipulating that he and his readership are Christian believers and the appearance of James' letter between 45-50 AD, we can conclude that Christian Israelite believers are in view who evidently have been scattered amongst the nations. They are facing many trials as a result of and to test their Christian faith.

F) PERSEVERANCE UNTO THE MATURITY AND COMPLETENESS OF ONES FAITH IS IN VIEW

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." =

The first point author James makes after "Greetings" in verse 1 sets the context of James' letter to the testing unto perseverance of ones faith as a believer toward the end of maturity and completeness in that faith, which such testing the believer is to count as all joy. Trials are not something in and of themselves which would produce joy. On the other hand, the spiritual and eternal perspective of maturing in the faith, not lacking anything is that which one is to focus on when undergoing trials and which, with such a focus, one can then count it all joy.

[BKC, op. cit., p. 821]:

"Two words describe the goal: mature and complete. 'Mature' (teleioi), often translated 'perfect' or 'finished,' is coupled with 'complete' (holoklEroi, from holos, 'whole,' and klEros, 'part') to give the idea of a perfected all over or fully developed in every part."

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 19]:

"But we must not be impatient. this is the thrust of verse 4. When James urges his readers to allow 'endurance' (patience, NKJV) to have its perfect work, he means that they should allow the Lord to accomplish a complete work of endurance within them. Too often we are so eager to escape our difficulties that we seek mere relief from the trial, rather than to gain every possible spiritual benefit from it. If we say, "I cannot endure any more of this,' then God's work of endurance within us is not perfect (Greek: teleios, 'complete'). We can always endure what God allows...

A perfect work of 'endurance,' therefore, is what we should desire the outcome of any of our trials to be. When God is 'allowed' (by our submission to Him) to do such a work, then we will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Of course, by perfect James does not mean sinless perfection. Both of the Greek words here mean much the same thing, but we might render them this way: 'that you may be complete and intact, with no deficiency.'... Such a man or woman is prepared to cope with life's adversities in deep reliance upon the sufficiency and grace of God."

G) PERSEVERANCE TO PROVE OUT ONES FAITH OR AS A REQUIREMENT FOR 'TRUE FAITH' IS NOT IN VIEW

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (cont.) =

We do not have in view a perseverance to prove out ones faith as true saving faith or as a requirement for receiving/keeping eternal life; the words neither stipulate nor imply this idea.

But perseverance in the Christian which is to result in maturity and completion in his life is in view in the passage as stipulated in the underlined, italicized words above.

III) [Jas 1:2-5]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

A) THE BELIEVER IS TO DISCERN IF HE LACKS WISDOM RELATIVE TO THE END OF PERSERVING THROUGH TESTING AND THEN ASK GOD FOR THIS WISDOM - FOR SUCH DISCERNMENT IS KEY TO PERSEVERANCE

(v. 4) "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." =

Immediately after James provides the context of brothers, i.e., believers facing trials of many kinds in order to develop perseverance toward maturity and completeness, he addresses those who lack wisdom relative to testing - perseverance - maturity - completeness in the Christian life and tells them to ask God for it in faith.

Evidently, wisdom is a key factor in a believer's testing and perseverance and such comes from God, given that one is to ask God for it in faith.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 20]:

"One of the deficiences which trouble often exposes in us is lack of wisdom. Thus, if 'endurance' is to accomplish its 'complete work' in us, the deficiency in our wisdom needs to be supplied. Of course, James is not speaking here of any and all wisdom, since we will always be deficient in many such areas while still in the body. Rather, in this context, James is speaking of that particular wisdom we will need in order to cope with the various trials we experience.

So if a particular trial exposes a particular lack of wisdom in some area, what should we do? James' answer is that we should pray for this wisdom. Then the God to Whom we pray will give it liberally. That is, He loves to bestow wisdom and He bestows it bountifully. In granting wisdom our God is the very opposite of an earthly miser Who may have much but is reluctant to give away anything. God does not 'hoard' His wisdom, but dispenses it lavishly to all those who ask for it in faith (cf. v. 6) ... He [God] is eager to supply our deficiency from His boundless treasure of wisdom and knowledge. Ask, James reiterates, and it will be given to you."

B) JAMES TELLS BELIEVERS THAT GOD WILL NOT FIND FAULT WITH THOSE WHO ASK FOR WISDOM RATHER ONE WILL BE GIVEN IT GENEROUSLY

(v. 5) "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (cont.) =

James tells believers that God will not find fault with those who ask for wisdom rather it will be given generously. There is therefore no excuse for lack of wisdom, for God does not hold such lack against the believer and will provide it when asked for - with one proviso: one does not doubt that He will make such provision.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 20]:

"So if a particular trial exposes a particular lack of wisdom in some area, what should we do? James' answer is that we should pray for this wisdom. Then the God to Whom we pray will give it liberally. That is, He loves to bestow wisdom and He bestows it bountifully. In granting wisdom our God is the very opposite of an earthly miser Who may have much but is reluctant to give away anything. God does not 'hoard' His wisdom, but dispenses it lavishly to all those who ask for it in faith (cf. v. 6).

But God also gives wisdom without reproach. How easily He might chide us for our ignorance and stupidity - as also for how little we have learned in so long a time! But when we ask in faith, He does not reproach us for what we do not know. Instead, He is eager to supply our deficiency from His boundless treasure of wisdom and knowledge. Ask, James reiterates, and it will be given to you."

IV) [Jas 1:2-6]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

A) MATURING ONES FAITH IS IN VIEW, NOT FALSE FAITH VS TRUE FAITH

The context continues relative to perseverance unto maturity and completion, (v. 4). Believers are in view re: "If any of you [believers] lacks wisdom" and "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Notice that the believer who doubts is not declared a false believer, but one who "is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." He is immature.

[Professor John F. Hart, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Ill., 'How To Energize Our Faith: Reconsidering The Meaning Of James 2:14-26]:

"After James reaffirms that endurance can mature our faith, he admonishes us to ask God for the wisdom we lack. But we must “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (1:6). In this context, there is no impression that those who lack faith in prayer are false Christians. To the contrary, the terminology identifies an immature believer. While the readers trusted God for their eternal life, they doubted He would give them wisdom."

B) ONE MUST NOT DOUBT GOD WHEN ONE ASKS FOR WISDOM FOR THIS WILL DEFEAT ONES PURPOSE AND THWART PROGRESS TOWARD PERSEVERING UNDER TRIALS TOWARD MATURITY AND COMPLETENESS

(v. 5) "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." =

When a believer asks God for wisdom which comes out of trials in order to give perseverance unto maturity and completeness in the faith, he must believe that God will provide it. He must ask in faith, if he doubts God will give him what he has asked for, he will continue to be as a wave tossed by wind and sea, i.e., his lack of faith in God as Provider will disenable him to receive the wisdom which God has provided. His lack of trusting in God's direction in his life to enable him to persevere will cause self-destruction under trial. Hence the purpose of his request of God will be defeated and he will remain in the chaos of life under trial as a wave is tossed about by wind and sea - a picture of destruction which involves horizontal instability, (a wave blown by the wind) and vertical instability, (a wave tossed by the sea).

C) ONE MUST NOT DOUBT GOD - IF HE DOES HE IS LIKE A WAVE BLOWN AND TOSSED BY THE WIND, HIS LACK OF FAITH DISABLES HIS PATH TO PERSEVERANCE, MATURITY AND COMPLETENESS AS A BELIEVER

(v. 5) "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." =

Notice that this statement is a general one under which specific requests for wisdom from God is positioned. Hence any lack of faith in God to provide anything will result in the purpose for ones request of God being defeated and one will remain in the chaos of life in the absence of God's provision which has been rejected due to doubting, i.e., lack of faith. The message is that no matter what, God provides the believer with the way to persevere. Lack of faith in that provision will cause the believer to disable his path to perseverance, maturity and completeness as a believer.

[Hodges, cont., p. 21]:

"There is one stipulation, however. The request for wisdom must be made in faith. This also means the request must be made with no doubting. Faith and doubting are opposites, of course. When one doubts, he is not believing. When one believes, he is not doubting... The Christian who comes to God for wisdom must come with calm confidence in the Lord. If his heart is buffeted by doubts about God's willingness or ability to grant the request, then this Christian is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. That is, he is in the grip of uncertainty and perplexity."

D) THE ISSUE IS NOT ONLY TO TRUST IN GOD TO PROVIDE ONE WITH THE MEANS TOWARD THE END OF PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL BUT TO TRUST THAT WHATEVER GOD DOES PROVIDE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ONE TO PERSEVERE TOWARD THAT END

(v. 5) "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." =

The issue is not only to trust in God to provide one with the means toward the end of persevering under trial but to trust that whatever God DOES provide is sufficient to persevere toward that end. Doubting any of this leads to self-destruction under trial as implied by the words, "He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" (6b).

E) GOD'S WISDOM FOR PERSEVERING THROUGH TESTING IS PROVIDED THROUGH THE TESTING AND AFFIRMS THAT ONE IS A BELIEVER

(v. 3) "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." =

The request for wisdom for persevering through testing will not cease the testing; for the testing must continue in order that "Perseverance... finish its work" in the believer, (v. 4). Hence the wisdom which will be provided by God upon faithful request, (not doubting), i.e., prayer, is to be received through that testing. Since it is affirmed in this passage, (vv. 2-6), that believers are in view, we can conclude that facing many trials is part and an affirmation of the fact that one is a believer. This is contrary to those who consider trials an affirmation of an unbeliever.

[Hodges, cont., p. 21]:

"On the other hand, it must not be assumed that the answer to a prayer for wisdom will come like a bolt of lightning at the moment it is requested. Such a conclusion would ignore the context of James' thought here. James has just told us that God's goal in our trials is to furnish us with those spiritual assets which we lack (vv. 3-4). Thus, we can expect God to answer our prayer for wisdom through the very trial itself, as we endure it until God's perfect work in us is done."

V) [Jas 1:5-8]:

(v. 5) "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

(v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

(v. 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

A) ONE WHO ASKS GOD AND DOUBTS WILL NOT RECEIVE WHAT HE ASKS FOR - HE IS DOUBLE MINDED AND UNSTABLE IN ALL THAT HE DOES. HE IS ON THE PATH TO SELF-DESTRUCTION OF HIS LIFE BEFORE GOD AND ETERNITY

(v. 6) "But when he asks [for wisdom in order to persevere] he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; (v. 8) He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does" =

Verses 7 & 8 affirm the fact that when one asks God for wisdom in order to persevere under trial one must not doubt that God will deliver; for one who doubts will not receive and is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Not only is he unstable and self-destructive under testing, but he is such in all that he does. He is double minded, [lit., 'two-souled,' dipsychos], i.e. he vacillates between taking charge of his own life without God to seeking answers from Him. Without a pattern of fully trusting in God in ones life, instability results everywhere. Hence the implication is made that an individual who doubts God to provide the means for perseverance under trials evidently is symptomatic of doubting God in all things as a matter of course. His life before God is as a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind - self-destructive.

It can be inferred from this that the Christian life which is patterned by doubt and lack of God's wisdom will have no value before God and eternity relative to eternal rewards. It will have been destroyed by the believer.

[Hodges, cont., p. 21]:

"[The Christian's] failure to trust the One to Whom he comes in prayer is serious. Indeed, it is an insult to God Himself. Such a man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Just as our Christian life began with the confidence that eternal life was ours by faith in Christ, so our on-going need for wisdom must be sought from God with a similar confidence...

The Christian Who cannot make up his mind to leave his need for wisdom confidently in God's hands is spiritually unstable. He is, in fact, double-minded (Greek: dipsychos, 'two-souled'). He is a kind of 'split personality.' One part of him knows that he must leave this need for discernment with God, while the other part still feels that he can, and must, solve the puzzle by himself. The result of such an inward division in our perspective is likely to be a zigzag course of action filled with mistakes and false starts. The Christian who combines a lack of wisdom with the spirit of a 'doubting Thomas' is a prime candidate to make a mess of things. Or, as James puts it, he is unstable in all his ways."

VI) [Jas 1:2-9]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

(v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

(v. 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does

(v. 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position."

A) BEING IN HUMBLE (POOR) CIRCUMSTANCES IS IN VIEW AS A TRIAL TO PERSEVERE UNDER

(v. 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." =

Being in humble (poor) circumstances in view as a trial to persevere under.

B) THE CONTEXT OF PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL CONTINUES WITH A VIEW TO WISDOM FROM GOD WHICH ONE IN HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES OUGHT TO RECOGNIZE AND TAKE PRIDE IN HIS HIGH POSITION BEFORE GOD AND ETERNITY

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." (cont.) =

"KauchasthO de ...ho ..adelphos .......ho .tapeinos ....en tO .hupsei ........................autou"

"Let boast ......now the brother...[in] the low degree in .the elevation [high position]his"

The brother in humble circumstances, i.e., he is materially poor, continues the context of persevering under trial. Being in humble circumstances is in view as a particular kind of trial for the believer having its solution in an eternal focus instead of a temporal one. The wisdom from God is that the one in humble circumstances ought to recognize and take pride in his high position. Believers who are humble meaning materially poor, have nevertheless a high position. This evidently points to a high position before God - an everlasting one which takes precedence over ones temporal materially poor circumstances which the believer in humble circumstances is to focus on and take pride in. This suggests a position of everlasting life that God has graciously provided for him in spite of his humble circumstances. The high position of the brother in humble circumstances is evidently an eternal position with great benefits far beyond his relatively lowly temporal circumstances to which it is compared - one of an elevated, spiritual and eternal nature as opposed to a lowly material and temporal nature.

C) THE BROTHER IN HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES OUGHT TO TAKE PRIDE IN HIS HIGH POSITION OF ETERNAL LIFE WHICH IS FROM GOD HENCE THE FOCUS IS ON THE GRACE OF GOD AND NOT ON ONES TEMPORAL POSITION, ENABLING THE BROTHER TO PERSEVERE THROUGH TRIALS UNTO MATURITY AND COMPLETION

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." (cont.) =

A brother, i.e., believer in humble circumstances is one who is lowly in a material sense. As such he evidently has a high position before God regardless of his temporal status. This suggests a position that God has graciously provided for him in spite of his humble circumstances. The high position of the brother in humble circumstances is evidently an eternal position with great benefits far beyond his relatively lowly temporal circumstances to which it is compared - one of an elevated, spiritual and eternal nature as opposed to a lowly material and temporal nature. This is to be the source of his pride - a pride which is generated out of the love and grace of God Who freely provided that high position of eternal life the brother, not out of any merit. Hence this is not a sinful, self-absorbed kind of pride, which would contradict the commands elsewhere in Scripture about prideful behavior. This focus on God's grace and ones eternal position serves to divert the humble believer from an unwarranted focus on his temporal humble status leading to bitterness and unfaithfulness, enabling him to persevere through trials unto maturity and completion.

D) IN VIEW OF THE CONTEXT THAT A BELIEVER IN HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES IS TO TAKE PRIDE IN HIS HIGH ETERNAL POSITION OVER HIS LOW TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCE CORROBORATES THE CONTEXT THAT JAMES' AUDIENCE IS BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." (cont.) =

In view of the context that a believer in humble circumstances is to take pride in his high eternal position over his low temporal circumstance corroborates the context that James' audience is born again believers.

VII) [Jas 1:2-11]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

(v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

(v. 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does

(v. 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business."

A) THE CONTEXT OF PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL CONTINUES WITH THE TEST OF RICHES IN CONTRAST TO BEING MATERIALLY POOR IN A BELIEVER'S LIFE

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. (v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." =

"But" = A conjunction which places what follows in opposition to what has preceded, namely the context of a "brother [i.e., believer] in humble circumstances" as opposed to "one [i.e. a believer] who is rich". A believer must be in view here because of the eternal vs. temporal perspective and contrast with a brother in humble circumstances and since this letter is addressed to believers from the beginning.

B) A BROTHER WHO IS RICH SHOULD VIEW HIS WEALTHY, TEMPORAL POSITION AS A LOW ONE WITH PRIDE. IT IS A TEST TOWARD PERSEVERANCE TO MATURITY AND COMPLETENESS. HE WILL PASS AWAY LIKE A WILD FLOWER WITH A VIEW TO A HIGH ETERNAL POSITION BEFORE GOD

(v. 10) "But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. (v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." =

The temporal circumstance of the wealthy believer who is rich is a low one because he will pass away like a wild flower and he can't take his riches nor his wealthy temporal status with him into eternity. The wisdom of the believer who is undergoing the test of riches as well as other trials, (riches are a test!), is to take pride in his position of a soon to fade and pass away wealthy temporal life and regard his wealth as temporal and fleeting. His mortal life will "pass away like a wild flower."

Accepting ones wealthy temporal position as a lowly one implies that there is another position higher and not temporal but eternal. The wealthy believer evidently is to keep his eternal position before God in view to which his temporal wealth and mortal life pales in comparison. So the pride in his wealthy temporal life's value is to be generated by a focus on the wealthy believer's eternal position before God, resulting in persevering through trials toward maturity and completion.

C) IN VIEW OF THE CONTEXT THAT WEALTHY BELIEVERS ARE TO FOCUS ON THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY IN PRIORITY OVER THEIR TEMPORAL WEALTHY STATUS CORROBORATES THE CONTEXT THAT JAMES' AUDIENCE IS BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS

In view of the context that wealthy believers are to focus on their eternal destiny in priority over their temporal wealthy status corroborates the context that James' audience is born again believers.

D) THE WEALTHY BELIEVER'S ETERNAL POSITION IS TO SERVE TO DIVERT HIS ATTENTION FROM AN UNWARRANTED FOCUS ON HIS WEALTHY TEMPORAL STATUS ENABLING HIM TO PERSEVERE THROUGH TRIALS FOR HE WILL PASS AWAY LIKE A WILD FLOWER AND IT WILL BE GONE

Accepting ones wealthy temporal position as a lowly one implies that there is another position higher and not temporal but eternal. Such a focus by the brother who is wealthy enables him to persevere through trials unto maturity and completeness.

This focus on God's grace and ones eternal position serves to divert the wealthy believer from an unwarranted focus on his wealthy temporal status leading to arrogance, self-dependency and unfaithfulness, enabling him to persevere through trials - including the trials of riches - unto maturity and completion.

VIII) [Jas 1:2-12]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

(v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

(v. 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does

(v. 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

(v. 12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

A) THE SUBJECT OF PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL CONTINUES

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has become approved [i.e., stood the test], he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." =

"Makarios ..........anEr hos ..hupomenei .................peirasmon hoti

"Blessed [is the] man ..who .endures [perseveres] trials..........because

dokimos ....genomenos (aorist participle)..lEmpsetai ..........ton stephanon tEs .......zOEs

approved ..having been ...............................he shall receive .the crown ...................of life

hon .....epEggeilato .ho .Kurios .tois ............................agapOsin auton"

which .promised .....the Lord.....to the ones................ loving ......Him [the LORD]"

From verse 2 and through verse 12 we have in view believers facing and persevering under trials. Notice in particular, parts of vv. 2,3,6 & 9-11 which have been underlined, and have persevering under trial in view.

B) PERSERVERING UNDER TRIAL WILL BE REWARDED WITH THE CROWN OF LIFE WITH THE IMPLICATION THAT THIS PERSEVERANCE PROVES OUT ONES LOVE FOR GOD - A KEY POINT OF THE WISDOM OF GOD FOR THE TESTED BELIEVER TO KEEP IN MIND AS HE UNDERGOES TESTING

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." (cont.) =

Perseverance under trial has been given a grand encouragement for a believer when he is tested: "When he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." This crown of life is in essence part of the wisdom of God Who promises it for those who persevere under trials. Having this promise in mind can enable the believer to persevere under trials and prove out his love for God and in so doing will receive the crown of life as an eternal reward and symbol of his proving out of his love for God.

[Hodges, cont. p. 24-5]:

"Suppose, then, that every Christian, rich or poor, takes the attitude prescribed for him by James in vv. 2-11, what then? James' answer is that, the person who [perseveres under trial] can anticipate a crown of life...

The Greek word rendered temptation [in the KJV, and NKJV] here... tends to obscure the connection of this verse with what precedes. The Greek word... (peirasmon from the root word peirasmos) is the same one translated trials in v. 2... James is here building on his discussion (vv. 2-11) of the proper attitude for times of trial... Obviously, if we are to endure [persevere through] trials to their proper end, joyful acceptance of God's will should play a crucial role. If our eyes are fixed on the beneficial goal of trials, then in this very outlook we adopt an attitude of faith and submission to the Lord, which facilitates endurance.

Thus, when the trial ends and when the believer who endures it has been (Greek: genomenos, has become) approved (dokimos, aorist participle), James is alluding to the character development he has referred to in vv. 2-4...

Thus, the divinely desired result of our troubles is approved character. The man whose endurance through trial has cooperated to produce this outcome is indeed blessed of God.

So why should he be considered blessed (i.e., 'happy,' or 'fortunate')? The answer is that (since he has become approved) he will receive the crown of life."

C) THE CONTEXT IS OF A ONE TIME REWARD OF THE CROWN OF LIFE FOR A LIFESTYLE OF PERSEVERANCE THROUGH MANY TRIALS WHEREIN ONE IS DECLARED AS HAVING STOOD THE TEST OF ONES WHOLE LIFE. IT IS EXEMPLIFIED AS A LIFESTYLE OF LOVING GOD

The context of this chapter is established in verse 2 as brethren facing many trials over their lifetime. Verses 3 and 4 stipulate that perseverance is the intended result of the testing of a believer's faith, i.e., the trials mentioned in verse 2. The chapter continues exhorting and directing the believer under trial. Verse 12 stipulates that a reward will be received for persevering, namely "the crown of life". Notice that the phrase "the crown of life" is in the singular meaning one crown. It has a definite article signifying one reward for a lifetime pattern of persevering under trial. This crown of life is evidently a demonstration of a brother's lifetime pattern of perseverance under trial and his love for God.

Although temporal blessings may also be in order, they have an ongoing and not a one time context and would not be in view re: the crown of life, singular with a definite.

D) THOSE WHO EXEMPLIFY A LIFESTYLE OF PERSEVERANCE UNDER TRIALS ARE DEMONSTRATING THEIR LOVE FOR GOD AND ARE AMONG THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." (cont.) =

Those who exemplify a lifestyle of perseverance under trial are demonstrating their love for God and are among those who receive the crown of life.

[Hodges, cont., p. 26]:

"This experience [of receiving the crown of life] is for those who love Him (that is, the Lord). To such and only to such has God promised this crown of life. In fact, it may be stated that each of our various trials in some way or other is a test of our love for God. With each test there comes the temptation to resist God's will in sending the trial at all or, at least, the temptation to resent it and thus refuse to allow God to do the character-building work He desires to perform in us. Only when we submit lovingly to God's mighty hand do we find the crown of life awaiting us at the end of the trial."

IX) [Jas 1:2-13]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(v. 6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

(v. 7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

(v. 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does

(v. 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

(v. 12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

(v. 13) When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"

A) GOD'S HOLY AND PERFECT NATURE CANNOT RESPOND TO TEMPTATION TO DO EVIL

"God cannot be tempted by evil" =

On the one hand, Satan and humanity make constant efforts to tempt God to do evil. This is the objective view of temptation - to do evil wherein someone tries to persuade another to do evil. This is not in view in this passage.

On the other hand we have the subjective view of temptation wherein God cannot be tempted by any effort because there is nothing in His Holy and Perfect Nature that could respond positively to such efforts. The context of verse 13 portrays the subjective view of temptation wherein one is not effected to respond positively.

B) WHEN A BELIEVER WHO IS UNDERGOING TESTING IS TEMPTED TO DO EVIL, HE SHOULD NOT SAY 'GOD IS TEMPTING ME' - HE HAS STOPPED SHORT OF PERSEVERANCE AND FAILED THE TEST

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" =

"peirasmois" (peirasmos), (v. 2) = trials, "peirasmon" (peirasmos) (v. 12) = trial

The Greek words "peirasmois" and "periasmon" rendered "tempted" and "tempting me" respectively are from the same root word for trial in vv. 2 and 12, (peirasmos) which can mean trial or temptation. The context of this passage is of tempting one to do evil, considering the phrase, "For God cannot be tempted by evil" in 13b. Hence we have in view a believer who is tempted to do evil, implied via the second half of the verse, wherein no one should say "God is tempting me" [with evil to do evil]. The fact that a believer is being tempted to do evil one can infer from this that it is caused within the believer himself, not God. The context of the believer persevering under trials continues to be in view in which there is inherent in the trial the possibility that the believer would permit himself to be tempted to do evil and blame it on God in which case one has not persevered under trial and failed the test.

[Hodges, cont., p. 26-7]:

"If a Christian does not love God, a wrong attitude toward testing can easily arise....

The crown of life, therefore, is for those who love Him, but not for those who accuse God of tempting them with evil...

It may be safely said that in every 'trial' (broad sense) which we have, there is also a 'temptation' to evil (narrow sense)."

C) SOURCES OF TEMPTATION TO DO EVIL INCLUDE THE WORLD, THE DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS, ALL INDIVIDUALS - UNBELIEVERS AND BELIEVERS, BUT NEVER GOD

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." (cont.) =

The Word "tempted" in this context is defined by "tempted by evil" (v. 13b). Since this verse stipulates that "God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone," then we may conclude that the temptation to do evil must originate and be responded to outside of God which leaves the world, the devil and his demons, all individuals, unbelievers alike.

D) SINCE SUBJECTIVE TEMPTATION BY THE BELIEVER TO DO EVIL MUST COME OUTSIDE OF GOD THEN ONE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE BELIEVER HAS A CAPACITY TO BE TEMPTED TO DO EVIL AS PART OF HIS NATURE

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." (cont.) =

Since one cannot say "God is tempting me" [to do evil], then the temptation must come outside of God, i.e., the world and/or oneself. Evidently there remains within a believer's nature a capacity to do evil as a response to being subjected to temptation as the next verse teaches.

[Hodges, cont., p. 27]:

"In fact, one of the temptations we may face in times of trial is the temptation to blame God for the inward inclination toward evil which usually surfaces under stress. If we love God properly (1:12), we will never say that these evil inclinations are His responsibility. The person who claims, 'I am tempted by God,' has forgotten that God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He... tempt anyone. Instead, the source of our temptations is the inward pull exerted by our own [evil] desires. If we were not evil people we would have no such desires and would be free of wrong impulses."

E) ALTHOUGH GOD IS NOT THE SOURCE OF ANY KIND OF TEMPTATION TO GET SOMEONE TO DO EVIL, HE PERMITS IT IN ORDER THAT BELIEVERS CAN PERSEVERE UNDER SUCH TESTING TOWARD MATURITY

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." (cont.) =

Despite the fact that God is not the source of any kind of temptation to get someone to do evil, nevertheless temptation is stipulated as occuring in the world. Hence we can conclude that God being sovereign, permits such temptation within the context of this passage of persevering under testing in order to be mature, complete and not lacking anything.

[Hodges, cont., p. 28]:

"It is worth noting that James affirms of God that He Himself does not tempt anyone. This means that God is not personally the agent of temptation, but James' words leave room for the truth that God allows others to engage in temptation."

X) [Jas 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

(v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed."

A) THE SUBJECTIVE, I.E., PERSONAL SOURCE OF TEMPTATION TO DO EVIL IS THE EVIL DESIRE, I.E., SIN NATURE WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL NOT GOD - ALL INDIVIDUALS, EVEN BELIEVERS HAVE SIN NATURES

(v. 14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." =

Each believer when he is tempted to do evil positively responds to that temptation when his own evil desire drags him away and entices him. So the subjective, i.e, personal source of temptation to do evil by the believer is the source of evil desire within the individual himself not God - his sin nature. Notice that since believers are in view, we can conclude that believers have sin natures.

[Hodges, cont., p. 28]:

"Clearly, then, in this passage James is thinking of 'temptation' in the subjective, i.e., personal sense. All Satan's efforts to lead people into evil, and all of the world's seductions, would have no effect on a person at all unless he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. In the final analysis James is right. There is no temptation for us except when we respond to some seduction in an inward way and find the evil in some way desirable....

Thus the readers of James' letter must not sinfully charge God with responsibility for their temptations. Rather, the responsibility is their own because of their own wicked hearts."

B) THE BELIEVER IS TEMPTED TO DO EVIL BY BEING DRAGGED AWAY FROM THAT WHICH IS RIGHTEOUS BY HIS OWN DESIRES. HENCE HE IS ENTICED TO DO EVIL. HE HAS MADE A DECISION TO SIN

(v. 14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" =

The cause of a believer being tempted to do evil is his own evil desire which drags him (his mind) away from that which is righteous, enticing him to commit sin. So the positive response to external temptation resulting in sin comes from within the believer himself.

[Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, Frank E Gaebelein, Gen Ed, NIV, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, p. 172]:

"The source of temptation lies within man himself. He is tempted 'by his own evil desire.' James personifies man's sinful desire and identifies it as the efficient cause of temptation... He does not blame any external person or object. It is by man's own sinful nature that 'he is dragged away and enticed.' These two verbs are taken from the sphere of fishing and hunting. Although 'dragged away' is a possible translation of exelkomenous when it is coupled with dekeazonemos ('enticed'), it may better be rendered by 'drawn out.' James pictures man's 'evil desire', first as attracting his attention and persuading him by means of bait to yield to the temptation."

XI) [Jas 1:13-15]:

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

(v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

(v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, it gives birth to [premature physical] death."

A) ONE IS SUBJECTIVELY, I.E., PERSONALLY, TEMPTED TO DO EVIL WHEN DRAWN AWAY FROM RIGHTEOUSNESS BY ONES EVIL DESIRES AND ENTICED TO RESPOND. SIN IS THEN CONCEIVED IN THE MIND WHEREUPON ONE ACTS UPON THAT MINDSET, GIVING BIRTH TO THAT SIN

(v. 14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin" =

One is subjectively, i.e., personally tempted to do evil when one is drawn away from righteousness by ones own evil desires to do that evil and enticed to respond to do that evil. Sin is then sin conceived in the mind whereupon one acts upon that mindset, giving birth to the reality of sin.

[Hodges, cont., p. 29]:

"James now goes on to trace the potentially deadly consequences into which man's evil desires can lead him. The language he employs is the language of childbearing. Desire (as if it were a woman) experiences a 'conception' (syllabousa: when [desire] has conceived) and subsequently gives birth (tiktei) to sin."

B) WHEN SIN IS REPEATED TO THE EXTENT IT BECOMES A PATTERN IN THE BELIEVER'S LIFE, I.E, FULL-GROWN SIN, RESULTING IN PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH

(v. 14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." =

When sin is continually repeated and becomes full grown into a lifestyle pattern, it brings forth premature physical death. The believer who permits sin to become full grown in his life will not live out his appointed years because physical death is the ultimate result of a sinful pattern in his life. He will go home early to be with the Lord. This is evidently not a good thing to do when sin is the cause! Notice that brothers are in view, i.e., true believers.

[Hodges, cont., p. 29]:

"If we analyze the experience of temptation, James' words are instructive. Desire, he says, is the mother of sin. Perhaps we might even suggest that such conception occurs when desire, or lust, is united with the human will, so that the birth of sin becomes a determination of the heart. But after the sin is brought to birth through lust, it grows (or, is repeated) and reaches maturity (i.e., when it is full-grown). Then sin in turn bears a child of its own - namely, death (sin... brings forth [apolyO: 'gives birth to {premature physical} death).

Death, then, is the grandchild of sinful lust or desire! Death is the cul-de-dac into which our lusts can lead us... Since James is writing to his Christian brothers... it is plain that even a born-again Christian can flirt with premature physical death by indulging his sinful lusts. This is an extremely serious consideration."

[Expositors, cont., p. 172]:

"James changes his figure from a snare to conception and birth. The genealogy of evil desire is traced for three generations, as it were. A chronological order is suggested by the words 'then' and 'after.' First, temptation comes (v. 14); then desire, like a human mother, conceives and 'gives birth to sin.' In this graphic manner the author portrays the experience of yielding to temptation. Then sin, the child of evil desire, develops till it 'is full-grown' and ready to produce offspring. When it conceives, it 'gives birth to [premature physical] death.' "

C) ETERNAL DEATH DUE TO SIN IS NOT IN VIEW

(v. 14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." =

There is no indication that full grown sin in one causes eternal death, especially believers who are in view in this passage. Words such as eternal death, Lake of Fire, condemnation are not present. Brothers are in view, i.e., believers already saved unto eternal life who will not face eternal death are being addressed in this chapter. Furthermore, the picture of giving birth to sin and then sin becoming full grown in a believer leading to death does not have eternal death in view, but physical death. One does not receive eternal death at the point when sin becomes full grown in one, one is already under condemnation unto eternal death before the first sin is given birth to, much more permitting it to become full grown. All men are born in sin without committing sin and are destined to eternal death without having to give birth to a single sin until they become believers, much less permitting sin to become full grown in oneself. So avoiding eternal death is not in view, avoiding full grown sin unto physical death for a believer is.

XII) [Jas 1:13-17]:

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

(v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

(v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death.

(v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

(v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

A) STOP BEING DECEIVED, GOD DOES NOT TEMPT ANYONE TO DO EVIL. GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE GIVER OF EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT THAT IS EVER RECEIVED - HE DOES NOT CHANGE

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death. (v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. (v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." =

"mE planasthe =

"not do be deceived, present tense, passive mood, imperative (command) =

"Do not be deceived"

The context of admonishing believers not to say 'God is tempting them' continues with a present tense warning to them to stop being deceived that God is tempting them to do evil. Evidently a pattern of blaming God for tempting them to do evil is in view as a result of the present tense negative command.

God's character is affirmed as never changing. Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of heavenly lights. It is not in God's character to tempt one to do evil . Nothing but good comes from the Father, and this has always been His character. He never changes.

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 172]:

"'Don't be deceived' is an expression employed as a pointed introduction for a significant statement... The warning in this passage is against being deceived into thinking that God is the author of temptation. In fact, the Greek construction used here ("mE" with the present tense imperative) often implies that the addressees have been engaging in the practice being prohibited. In that case James would be saying, 'Stop being deceived!

Here follows the significant statement that the prohibition of the previous verse was intended to introduce. Instead of sending temptation, God is the giver of 'every good and perfect gift.' The concept of goodness rules out the possibility that God would send an influence as destructive as temptation. God's gifts are marked by kindness and helpfulness, not destructiveness. They are 'perfect,' which in the context excludes any possibility of moral evil, such as tempting his people to commit sin. The point of James' statement is that nothing but good comes from God. The second half of the verse shows that this is invariably true."

[Hodges, cont., p. 30]:

"Indeed, He is a flawless Giver, unlike all earthly givers. Every good and perfect gift is from Him and therefore from above. We might have expected James to say that God only gives good and perfect gifts, but in fact he says more than this. Where ever there is such a thing as a flawless gift, that gift is necessarily from above. All human gifts, by contrast, are flawed in some way because the human giver is flawed. Only God can give perfect gifts.

That is because He is the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

B) GOD THE FATHER FROM WHOM COMES EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT FROM HEAVEN ABOVE IS CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF THE HEAVENLY LIGHTS, I.E., PLANETS, SUN, STARS, COMETS

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death. (v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. (v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." =

God, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift from heaven above, being Father is Creator and Sustainer of the heavenly lights, i.e., planets, sun, stars, comets.

The word heavenly is not in the text but refers to the lights which are located in the heavens - outer space.

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 172]:

"Here God is designated as 'the Father of the heavenly lights.' NIV has inserted the word 'heavenly,' even though it is not found in the Greek text. The context seems to indicate that the lights referred to are the stars and planets. 'Father' probably has a two fold significance, pointing on the one hand to the creation of the lights and on the other to God's continuing sovereignty over them."

[Hodges, cont., p. 30]:

"Indeed, He [God] is a flawless Giver, unlike all earthly givers. Every good and perfect gift is from Him and therefore from above. We might have expected James to say that God only gives good and perfect gifts, but in fact He says more than this. Wherever there is such a thing as a flawless gift, that gift is necessarily from above. All human gifts, by contrast, are flawed in some way because the human giver is flawed. Only God can give perfect gifts.

That is because He is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

C) GOD THE FATHER FROM WHOM COMES EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT FROM HEAVEN ABOVE, WHO IS SUSTAINER OF THE HEAVENLY LIGHTS, DOES NOT CHANGE LIKE THE SHIFTING SHADOWS OF THOSE HEAVENLY BODIES

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." (cont.) =

God the Father from Whom comes every good and perfect gift from heaven above, Who is sustainer of the heavenly lights, does not change like the shifting shadows of those heavenly bodies. God's immutability especially relative to provisions to enable believers to persevere through testing unto maturity and completeness is in view. Hence He is always the Giver of every good and perfect gift from heaven above; never one who tempts to do evil.

[Hodges, cont., p. 30]:

"The Greek words for variation (parallagE) and turning (tropEs) seem to have had technical uses related to the movements and changes in the heavenly bodies, i.e., in the sun, moon, and stars. This suggests that the title Father of lights is a reference to God as the Creator of the heavenly bodies, or lights (See Gen 1:14-19). But unlike these celestial bodies which undergo 'variations' and cast 'shadows' on earth because of their rotation in space (turning), God is immutable in His activity of giving.

The Creator is therefore greater than His creation. When He gives, there is no fluctuation in the quality of His gifts. They are always good and perfect. Moreover, no shadow of imperfection is cast by these gifts, in contrast, for example, to the shadows created by the rising or setting sun. It is unthinkable that the shadow of death (the fruit of sin) should in any way mar our experience as a result of the divine Giver's gracious bestowals upon man."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 172-3, cont]:

"Unlike the 'shifting shadows' that are caused by the sun, moon, and stars, God 'does not change.' With Him there is no variation at all...

"ouk eni paralleagE"

"not ..is ..variation"

The shadows cast by the sun are minimal at noon, but just before sunset they stretch out for yards across the landscape. God is not like that. He does not change. He is always the giver of good gifts, never a sadistic being who would entice his creatures to destroy themselves in sin."

XIII) [Jas 1:17-18]:

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

(v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

(v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death.

(v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

(v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

A) A KEY REASON FOR PROVING THAT GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF TEMPTATION TO DO EVIL IS THAT GOD CHOSE BEFORE ALL THINGS CERTAIN ONES FROM AMONG HUMANITY WHO EVIDENCE THIS CHOICE WHEN THEY BECOME BELIEVERS TO GIVE THEM THE GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT OF SPIRITUAL BIRTH. IT WOULD THUS BE OUT OF CHARACTER IF GOD, WHO NEVER CHANGES, TEMPTED ONE TO DO EVIL

(v. 13) "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (v. 14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death. (v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. (v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life." =

A key reason for proving that God is not the author of temptation to do evil is that God chose before all things certain ones from among humanity who evidence this choice when they become believers to give them the good and perfect gift of spiritual birth. So the context of "Let no one say when he is tempted 'I am tempted by God' continues with corroboration that a God Who chooses to give believers the good and perfect gift of spiritual birth would not be a god who tempts one to do evil.

Note that the words rendered "He brought us forth" in the Greek is "apekuEsen", (aorist tense) from the Greek verb "apokueO" meaning to give birth to, is the same verb used in the present tense in verse 15 rendered "gives birth to death" ("apokuei thanaton"). Hence we are looking at a second birth given to an individual who has already experienced physical birth, this second birth coming solely out of a decision of God's as a gift to one who is a brother, a believer.

[Hodges, cont., p. 33]:

"The readers should never charge God with tempting them, since temptation has its fruit in sin and death (vv. 13-15). Such results cannot be God's work, and the readers would be deceived if they thought so (v. 16). Instead every excellent gift is what God bestows and the supreme example of this is the new life (in contrast with death) which He has granted to us (vv. 17-18). Indeed, God's gift of life to us is a foretaste of the world to come (v. 18b). If James' readers love God (cf. v. 12), this is how they will view things during their times of trial."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"James advances his final reason for denying that God is the author of temptation. Rather than acting destructively, God acts constructively. 'He chose to give us [believers] birth.' "

B) GOD CHOSE BEFORE ALL THINGS CERTAIN ONES FROM AMONG HUMANITY - WHO EVIDENCE THIS CHOICE WHEN THEY INEVITABLY DECIDE OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL TO BECOME BELIEVERS TO GIVE THEM THE GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT OF SPIRITUAL BIRTH. PHYSICAL BIRTH IS NOT IN VIEW

(v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." (v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" =

Since it is evident that not all men become belivers, then God evidently chose - exclusively "of His own will" - not dependent upon anything or anyone else - before all things certain ones from amongst humanity to be given the free gift of this second birth. These are those who evidence this choice when they choose to become believers to give them the good and perfect gift of spiritual birth.

Evidently this occurs when they become believers. This birth cannot be a physical birth because it is already implied that God chose before all things certain ones from among humanity, ie., from among those who would already be physically born to give them another birth. This second birth comes "through the word of truth" pointing away from a natural birth, since natural birth does not require knowledge of the Bible.

Those certain ones whom God chose before all things from humanity all evidence this choice when they inevitably choose to become believers, whereupon God gives them spiritual birth. God is portrayed in this passage as sovereign in this operation, ("of His own will He brought us forth"), and therefore is not dependent upon the choice of men to become believers, whereupon God would have to respond and give them spiritual birth, putting man in sovereign control over God. Thus God does not depend upon His knowledge ahead of time of who will choose to believe and then give them this gift of the second birth unto eternal life. He has already decreed this to occur beforehand. The latter would impugn the total sovereignty of God by depending upon what man chooses to do and contradict verse 18.

[Hodges, op. cit., pp. 30-31]:

"Christians should know this truth (v. 17) best of all, and James' readers are Christians, therefore James can say of them and of himself, of his own will He brought us forth, i.e., He 'gave birth' to us.

We must not miss the connection of this statement with the context. James' word for brought us forth (apokyO) is the same word used in v. 15 for 'brings forth.' Sin, James is saying, 'gives birth' to death, but God 'gives birth' to us! Of course James has in mind here the truth of new birth and, like every NT writer, he knows it to be a gift!... Thus, following the statement of v 17 about God's flawless giving, James is using new birth as the example par excellence of a good and perfect gift!...

To James, new birth is a gift of God... Moreover, it is not related to the 'will' of man, by which it could be flawed due to the corruption of that 'will.' Rather, new birth finds it source in God's will (of His own will) and is effected by the word of truth."

C) THE SECOND BIRTH IS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE/SALVATION, GIVEN AS A GIFT BY GOD SOLELY OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD TO BELIEVERS THROUGH THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE BIBLE - FAITH ALONE IN WHAT THE WORD OF TRUTH PRESENTS TO MAN ON THIS MATTER IS WHAT RESULTS IN THE SECOND BIRTH TO THE EXCLUSION OF MAN'S WILL AND ANY HUMAN DOING

(v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" =

"Of His own will = "boulEtheis", aorist nominative participle, lit., 'one having willed it.'

Information from the "word of truth", the bible, specifically the gospel, when acted upon by an individual by a moment of faith results in him becoming a believer, which then, solely by God's deliberate choice of having exercised His will, provides him with a second birth, a spiritual one, eternal life as a gift, (Jas 1:17). This rules out the physical birth in view of the fact that one must already be physically alive in order to believe in the word of truth. Evidently this points to simply trusting in what the word of truth says about the second birth unto eternal life, i.e., the gospel, to the exclusion of man's will or any contribution by man, otherwise this would contradict the stipulation that the second birth is a gift by the will of God. Notice that it is the will of man to choose to believe in the gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life, but it is solely by the will of God to offer and provide that gift.

D) GOD'S PURPOSE IN BIRTHING BELIEVERS IS THAT THEY MIGHT BE A KIND OF FIRSTFRUITS - A FORETASTE OF THE ETERNAL WORLD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO COME

(v. 2) "Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything... (v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]" =

Firstfruits, the first pick of the crop to be harvested, are a key representative of the success of the harvest. In the same way, the believer is the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come. So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come.

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"His purpose in regeneration is 'that we might be a kind of firstfruits.'... The term 'firstfruits' referred to the first portion of the harvest given to God, a foretaste of that which was to come."

[Hodges, cont., p. 33]:

"In addition, here we seem to meet the... idea that as children of God we are a sort of anticipation or foreshadowing of what God will accomplish for the entire creation....

So understood, James' point will be that God's gift of new life is so good and perfect that when we possess that life we are a foreshadowing of what God will do for all His creatures (all created things). Just as the first crops from a field (firstfruits) suggest the quality of the harvest as a whole, so the miracle of regeneration in our lives is so wonderful that what God plans for the entire creation can also be called a regeneration... Although James recognizes that the analogy is not exact (we are a kind of firstfruits), yet it carries his point effectively. There is no flaw in the gift of new life; otherwise it could serve as no true model of what God wants to do for the entire creation."

E) BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN BIRTHED BY GOD AS FIRSTFRUITS OF HIS CREATURES WITH A VIEW TO THE ETERNITY FUTURE - AN IMPLICATION OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BORN AGAIN BELIEVER

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]" =

The believer is the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come, (v. 1:18). So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come. Note the direct implication of the eternal destiny of the believer as firstfruits of the eternal kingdom.

XIV) [Jas 1:2-4, 17-20]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...

(v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 19 NKJV) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

A) THE PHRASE "SO THEN" CONTINUES THE CONTEXT OF BELIEVERS HAVING BEEN GIVEN THE GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT OF SPIRITUAL BIRTH BY GOD AS A GIFT SO AS TO PERSEVERE UNDER TRIALS TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 19) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." =

"So then" = "iste adelphoi" follows verse 18.

The connecting phrase "so then" continues the context of the previous 18 verses with a view to God choosing to give us [believers] birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life. The context then continues with those who have been birthed by God through the word of truth commanding them to "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" as an example of how to conduct themselves under trials with the result of bringing "about [in them] the righteous life that God desires." (v. 20).

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 174]:

"Verses 19-21 may seem at first glance to be an isolated section of miscellaneous exhortations. Further examination, however, reveals significant links to the preceding and following contexts. The term 'word' is found in vv. 18, 21-25 and refers to the Scriptures, the Word of God. Verse 18 indicates that regeneration comes through the instrumentality of the Word."

B) THERE IS IMPLIED AN OBLIGATION TO GOD OF THE ONE GIVEN THE GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT OF SPIRITUAL BIRTH TO LEAD A RIGHTEOUS LIFE WHICH GOD DESIRES

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 19) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." =

There is implied an obligation to God of the one given the good and perfect gift of spiritual birth to lead a righteous life which God desires; from whence comes the trials to bring about that end.

C) BELIEVERS ARE TO BE SWIFT TO HEAR AND SLOW TO SPEAK IN ORDER TO PERSEVERE UNDER TRIALS SO AS TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...(v. 19) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" =

Believers are to be swift to hear hence they must be slow to speak else they will block out what is necessary to hear - especially wisdom from God through the word of truth. This is key to persevering under trials so as to "bring about the righteous life that God desires."

[Hodges, cont., p. 35]:

"The first admonition is (1) Be swift to hear. A willingness to listen properly is an essential ingredient in successful endurance under testing. Although we need this trait at all times, yet when we experience stress we urgently need to be attentive to the wisdom that God offers us through His Word or through the counsel of others based on that Word.

But typically we are more eager to talk in times of stress than to listen. Hence the second admonition is (2)Be...slow to speak. Our eagerness to pour out our thoughts and feelings under trial needs to be restrained."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 174]:

"In vv. 19-21a, James is attempting to clear the way for the reception of God's truth (v. 21b). He begins by calling for the readers' attention: 'Take note of this.' The reception of the Word demands a readiness 'to listen.' Reluctance at this point will block the acceptance of truth. It also demands restrained speech. A continual talker cannot hear what anyone else says and by the same token will not hear when God speaks to him."

D) BELIEVERS ARE TO BE SWIFT TO HEAR AND SLOW TO SPEAK AND SLOW TO WRATH IN ORDER TO AVOID UNGODLY ANGER AND PERSEVERE UNDER TRIALS SO AS TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...(v. 19) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (cont.) =

The command to be slow to wrath is connected with being swift to hear and slow to speak. Evidently self discipline and composure is in view. All of this generates the godly kind of reaction to trials such that believers may persevere and bring about the righteous life that God desires. Being quick to hear and slow to speak goes hand in hand with being slow to anger. Such constraint and self-control lead to persevering under trials and the "righteous life that God desires"

Note that all anger is not ruled out here, just man's anger that is quick to arise. The kind of anger that might arise with a godly composure is not in view as being forbidden.

[Hodges, cont., p. 36]:

"The third admonition is: (3) Be...slow to wrath. Everyone knows that wrath (Greek: orgE, anger) is one of mankind's most common reactions to difficult times. The human heart is easily swayed to anger by undesirable events. Then we begin to blame men, or even God, for our troubles. Obviously the ability to avoid anger at such times is a supremely admirable trait.

But such restraint is not merely admirable; it is also functional. For, adds James, the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. The ultimate goal for a Christian undergoing trial is the realization of God's righteousness in his life. That is to say, the moral improvement we can gain through trials, which James has already referred to (vv. 2-4), is in the last analysis a growth in righteousness and God-likeness...

Obviously, human wrath is counterproductive under trials if the goal of those trials is a righteousness that promotes inward and outward peace...

It should be noted, however, that James does not forbid all wrath but he exhorts us to be slow to make this response. The hair-trigger temper that is set off rapidly and without restraint is decidely the wrath of man - in contrast to God's own holy wrath. This kind of anger blocks, or severely inhibits, the production of the righteousness of God in our lives."

XV) [Jas 1:2-4; 19-21]:

(v. 2)"Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(v. 19 NKJV) So let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, my dear brothers,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls."

A) WITH THE WORD 'THEREFORE', THE CONTEXT OF BELIEVERS PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL BRINGING ABOUT IN THEIR OWN LIVES THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES CONTINUES WITH THE STIPULATION THAT HAVING LAID ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR ONE IS TO INSTEAD MEEKLY, I.E., WITH OBEDIENCE IN AN ONGOING FASHION - HUMBLY ACCEPT THE WORD PLANTED IN THEM WHICH CAN SAVE THEIR SOULS, I.E., THEIR LIVES FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH

(v. 2)"Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything... (v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives]" =

With the word 'therefore', the context of believers persevering under trial toward being "mature and complete, i.e., (vv. 2-4), bringing about in their own lives the righteous life that God desires, (v. 20b), continues with the stipulation that having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil as acceptable behavior and instead one is to meekly, i.e., with obedience in an ongoing fashion accept the word planted in them which can save their souls, i.e., their lives from premature physical death.

Note that an ongoing reception of the implanted word is in view considering the context already established of ongoing perseverance under trials to bring about the righteous life that God desires. This is corroborated in verse 25:

1) [Compare Jas 1:25]:

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

B) INDIVIDUALS HAVING THE IMPLANTED WORD, I.E., THE WORD OF TRUTH, ARE BORN AGAIN, I.E., BELIEVERS. UNBELIEVERS ARE NOT IN VIEW

The stipulation in v. 21 that individuals have within themselves the implanted word, i.e., the word of truth, (v. 18), connects with having been brought forth by God, i.e., given a new birth, (v. 18) as having resulted from and is characteristic of this new birth. Hence, born again believers are in view throughout this passage, not unbelievers needing to be saved or become born again.

[Hodges, cont., p. 40]:

"That Word, James notes in passing, is implanted (emphytos: 'inborn'). In context, it is reasonable to take this as a reference to the readers' new birth (v. 18), which was effected by the word of truth."

C) GETTING RID OF ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL IN ONES EXPERIENCE, I.E., SINLESS PERFECTION IS NOT IN VIEW - ESPECIALLY UNTO ETERNAL LIFE;

WHAT IS IN VIEW IS AN ONGOING DECISION, EACH TIME HAVING LAID ASIDE THE ENTERTAINMENT OF ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL IN ONES LIFE, TO DECIDE INSTEAD TO RECEIVE WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE THE IMPLANTED WORD

(v. 15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls" (cont.) =

"With meekness" = "En prautEti", Str #4240, with humble obedience, cf. 1 Pet 2:21, 25-3:1-4.

The phrase "with meekness" means with humble obedience. Hence to receive the word with meekness is not just to accept it as true but to humbly obey it.

"having laid aside" = Gk, apothemenoi, aorist participle, middle voice, lit., "having laid aside." The aorist participle indicates, in this context, a completed simple event antecedent to the main verb, "receive" = Gk, dexasthe, which is aorist, middle voice, imperative mood. The dual action in view in this verse points to:

1) having to lay aside sinful behavior each time in order to:

2) receive with humble obedience the implanted word.

So the two are portrayed mutually exclusive.

Notice that "having laid aside" = Gk, apothemenoi is in the middle voice which has the individual and an outside Agent, (God), acting in behalf of that individual in order for that individual to lay aside all filthiness and abundance of evil. Evidently, the activity of receiving with humble obedience the implanted word coincides with the enablement of God in that individual to set aside all filthiness and abundance of evil in order to receive with humble obedience the implanted word.

Just as having laid aside the entertainment of all prejudice towards others of different races and abundance of racial partiality as acceptable behavior in the work place in order that one can obey the command of Federal Law to receive with humble obedience the law of Equal Employment Opportunity and this does not imply that one has rid oneself of all prejudice and abundance of racial partiality in ones experience but that one has received with humble obedience the Law of Equal Employment Opportunity, which reception thereupon is mutually exclusive of all racial prejudice and abundance of partiality;

so having laid aside the entertainment of all filthiness and abundance of evil as acceptable behavior in order that one can obey the command of Scripture to receive with humble obedience the implanted word and this likewise does not imply that one has rid oneself of all filthiness and abundance of evil in ones experience but that one has received with humble obedience the implanted word which reception thereupon is mutually exclusive of all filthiness and abundance of evil.

In view then is the oft to be repeated decision in ones mind, having laid aside the entertainment of all filthiness and abundance of evil as acceptable behavior, to receive with humble obedience the implanted word, i.e. information from God's Word which is implanted in ones mentality from the time they were "brought forth", i.e., birthed by God, (v. 18). In effect in ones mind one must have laid aside the entertainment of all filthiness and abundance of evil in ones life in order to truly receive with humble obedience the implanted word. Evidently moral filthiness and abundance of evil are mutually exclusive of humbly and obediently receiving the implanted word.

Getting rid of all moral filthiness and evil in ones experience as a completed action is therefore not what is commanded here, nor is it possible; but having laid it aside in the sense of entertaining it as acceptable in ones life is in view. For it is impossible for an individual to completely lay aside all moral filth and abundance of evil in order to be saved unto eternal life in this mortal life. No one in history so far except the Lord Jesus Christ Himself can be declared completely absent of "all filthiness and abundance of evil" - even for a moment. Furthermore, sinlessness is not in view since it is an abundance of evil which one is commanded to lay aside, not all evil. So the context of the entire chapter so far does not have in view an expectation of experiential sinless perfection, rather an exhortation of persevering through trials, some of which are to lay aside the temptation of sin, internally and externally as exceptable behavior. Verse 15 implies that sin exists in the believer and that he is not to permit it to become full grown, otherwise face premature physical death. Hence we do not have the expectation of experiential sinless perfection when we come to verse 21's "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls". Instead we have a parallel between "sin when it is full grown" in verse 15 with "all filthiness and overflow [lit. abundance] of evil" in verse 21 both of which are speaking of the same that which causes premature physical death.

D) THE WORD "SOULS" IN THE PHRASE "WHICH CAN SAVE YOUR SOULS" REFERS TO ONES LIFE BEING SAVED FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH. IT DOES NOT REFER TO BEING SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls" (cont.) =

It has already been established that "sin when it is full grown" in a believer "gives birth to [premature physical] death, (v. 15); so "having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil as acceptable behavior [i.e., the full grown sin as stipulated in v. 15] and humbly accepting the word with accompanying deeds planted in you will "save your souls, i.e., save you from premature physical death, (v. 21 NKJV).

The soul in this context is defined as the essence which animates the body, i.e., the physical life, and which is not dissolved by death. Hence the expression 'to save the soul' represents a Greek phrase whose most common meaning in English would be 'to save the life' - the physical life. So the phrase "to save your souls" means to save your physical lives from premature physical death.

Since the audience throughout this chapter has unwaveringly been believers who are already saved unto eternal life, (vv. 2-19); who have been birthed by God and become the firstfruits of God's eternal kingdom, (v. 18); who are exhorted to persevere through trials, (vv. 2-4), and not permit sin to birth or become full grown in them, (v. 15), but having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil and with humble obedience receive the implanted word which can save your souls from premature physical death for letting sin become full grown in one, (vv. 15, 21), then the reception of eternal life by unsaved unbelievers is not in view.

Note that the concepts of having laid aside in the sense of experientially getting rid of all sin in ones life is neither possible nor what provides the new spiritual birth from God. Verses 17-18 have already stipulated that being born of God is a gift, (for which one does nothing proactive) 'by [faith in] the word of truth'.

Furthermore, it is impossible for an individual to have completely laid aside all moral filth and abundance of evil in order to be saved unto eternal life in this mortal life. No one in history so far except the Lord Jesus Christ Himself can be declared completely absent of "all filthiness and abundance of evil" - even for a moment. So the salvation in verse 21 which results from "having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil and humbly accepting and obeying the word planted in you" is not toward the reception of eternal life.

[Hodges, cont., p. 41]:

"Many readers as well as expositors have an automatic reaction to the phrase save your souls in English, which leads them to understand it of eternal salvation from hell. But none of James' readers were at all likely to get such a meaning out of this text. The Greek phrase found here (sOsai tas psychas hymOn) was in common use in the sense of 'to save the life.' It is used in both the Greek OT as well as in the NT in exactly that sense (see Gen 19:17; 32:30; 1 Sam 19:11; Jer 48:6; Mark 3:4//Luke 6:9). This is its obvious sense also in Jas 5:20, which refers to the physical preservation of a life from death. It may even be said that there is not a single place in the entire Greek Bible (i.e., the NT plus the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT) where this phrase signifies deliverance from hell...

Nevertheless the meaning of the data supports - 'to save your lives' - is precisely the meaning most suited to this context. The readers are already born again (v. 18) and are in no need of being saved from hell. Moreover, James has just spoken of the death-dealing consequences of sin (vv. 14-15). In this light, the meaning of v. 21 is transparent: although sin can culminate in physical death, the Word of God, properly received, can preserve physical life."

E) BELIEVERS HAVING LAID ASIDE THE ENTERTAINMENT ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, ARE TO INSTEAD RECEIVE WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE THE IMPLANTED WORD WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE THEIR LIVES FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH

"Dio ...........apothemenoi ........pasan rhuparian ............................kai .perisseian .kakias

"Therefore having laid aside ..all.......filthiness, (i.e., moral filth) .and abundance of evil

en prautEti ........................................................dexasthe ton emphuton logon

in gentleness, (meekness = humble obedience) receive ...the implanted word

ton ...........................dunamenon ......................sOsai tas psuchas humOn"

which (lit., the one) is able (lit. 'being able') ..to save ....souls .....your"

Notice that verse 21 begins in the Greek with a participle phrase, "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil" which establishes that believers must consider entertainment of such behavior as unacceptable. This points to what they are to be doing instead: receive with humble obedience, (works), the implanted word which works are able to save them, literally, their "souls", i.e., their lives from premature physical death had they continually remained in all filthiness and abundance of evil. Recall verse (v. 15): "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, "when it is full-grown," [i.e., when their lives are characterized by all filthiness and abundance of evil, it then] "gives birth to" [premature physical] "death." =

Evidently a lifestyle pattern of reception with humble obedience of the "implanted word" in believers works to maximizing the length of their appointed years, reducing full grown sin, i.e., reducing filthiness and abundance of evil, saving their souls from premature physical death.

F) HAVING LAID ASIDE THE ENTERTAINMENT ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, AND INSTEAD OF THIS, BELIEVERS ARE TO RECEIVE WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE THE IMPLANTED WORD CONVEYS A PICTURE OF A PLANTING WITHIN ONESELF WHICH HAS TAKEN ROOT AND IS TO GROW NURTURED BY CONSTANTLY RECEIVING IT WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE

(v. 15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls (cont.) =

So the source of salvation from early physical death is having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil in ones life and instead receive with humble obedience the implanted word in believers. The word implanted refers to information in the believers' minds from the 'word of truth', the bible, to enable believers to bring about the righteous life God desires and live out their appointed years, saving them from premature physical death. The picture that the phrase "implanted" conveys is of a planting within oneself which then is to take root and grow which is nurtured by receiving it with meekness, i.e., humble obedience.

[Hodges, cont., pp. 40-41]:

That Word, James notes in passing, is implanted (emphytos 'inborn'). In contrast, it is reasonable to take this as a reference to the readers' new birth (v. 18), which was effected by the word of truth... Now these Christians should receive the instructions of God's Word, recognizing it as the very thing that had been implanted in them by the Gospel...

Furthermore, the implanted word can produce an enormous benefit, for James tells his readers that it is able to save your souls."

XVI) [Jas 1:15-22]:

(v. 15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death.

(v. 16) Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

(v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 19 NKJV) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

A) RELATIVE TO THE GOAL OF HAVING LAID ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AND BEING SAVED FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH THE BELIEVER MUST HUMBLY ACCEPT THE WORD PLANTED IN HIM INSTEAD OF ENTERTAINING THAT FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL IN HIS LIFE AS ACCEPTABLE.

HUMBLE ACCEPTANCE MEANS THAT THEY MUST NOT MERELY LISTEN TO THE WORD, BUT ALSO DO WHAT IT SAYS

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." =

Relative to the goal of "having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil" you [believers] must "receive with meekness, i.e., humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives]" toward the end of "bring[ing] about the righteous life that God desires", (v. 20) so as to be saved from a premature physical death, (v. 21 NKJV). So the believer is to humbly go to the source of information that provides instruction on this matter; the word, i.e., the word of truth, the bible, (v. 15). To receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word is not to merely listen to the word without acting upon it. This results in deceiving oneself that progress toward the righteous life is being made. Believers instead are also to do what it says.

B) THE WORD, I.E., THE BIBLE MUST BE ACTIVELY LISTENED TO AND OBEYED AS A MATTER OF COURSE, IT ISN'T SIMPLY IMPLANTED IN A BELIEVER. EACH BIT OF INFORMATION FROM GOD'S WORD MUST BE HEARD AND ACCEPTED IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE IMPLANTED IN ONE

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." =

Notice that a believer is exhorted to, "not merely listen to the word... [but] Do what it says." which implies an ongoing exposure to hearing what the Word, i.e., the bible says. Hence one cannot conclude from the phrase in verse 21, "receive with meekness the implanted word" that the entire Word of God is implanted in one when one becomes a believer. Hence an effort by the believer needs to be constantly made to listen to and obey the Word of God. Each bit of information from God's Word must be heard and accepted in order for it to be implanted in one.

XVII) [Jas 1:21-24]:

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

(v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror

(v. 24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

A) JUST AS IT IS ABSURD FOR ONE TO SCRUTINIZE HIS FACE IN A MIRROR AND THEN FORGET WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE WHEN HE WALKS AWAY SO IT IS RIDICULOUS FOR ONE TO SCRUTINIZE THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE BIBLE, AND THEN NOT DO IT

"Houtos ..eoiken andri .katanoounti to prosOpon tEs geneseOs ...............autou

"This one is like .a man observing .....the face ..............of existence, birth his

en esoptrO (v. 24) katenoEsen .................gar heauton kai .apelEluthen ....kai

in a mirror (v. 24) he observed carefully for .himself ..and has gone away and

eutheOs .......epelatheto hopoios ...............En."

immediately forgot .......what sort of man he was."

"katenoEsen" = Str. #2657, from katanoeo: 'kata' an emphatic, strengthened form when added to 'noeo' to perceive, i.e., carefully observed, attentively scrutinzed, Vines, TDNT, 4:975.

James paints a picture of an individual who looks intently at his face in a mirror, scrutinizing it - the one he has had from birth - an expression that makes the point even more emphatic of carefully observing, i.e., attentively scrutinizing his face in a mirror so that he would be sure to would recognize his face. But when he walks away he immediately does not remember what he looks like! It would be ridiculous if he forgot what he looks like immediately upon walking away from such a scrutiny of his face in a mirror! Yet this is what is paralleled to how ridiculous it is for the believer to hear the word in like manner: attentive scrutiny of it and then immediately not do what it says! The purpose of listening to truth is to act upon it.

[Expositors, cont., p. 175]:

"After urging the practice of the Word in v. 22, the author proceeds to explain why people should do more than merely listen to the truth. Here he uses the illustration (vv. 23-24) of a man who 'looks at his face in a mirror.' The Greek verb katanoeO does not describe a hasty glance as some have suggested. Instead, it refers to careful observation. It is 'attentive scrutiny of an object' (TDNT, 4:975). So the man carefully studies his face and becomes thoroughly familiar with its features. This illustrative act is paralleled by the person who listens to the Wrod, apparently not momentarily but attentively, and at length, so that he understands what he hears. He knows what God expects him to do. Any failure to respond cannot be blamed on lack of understanding...

James further explains that upon going away the man 'immediately forgets what he looks like.' For him it is 'out of sight, out of mind.' In spite of thoroughly scrutinizing his face, he forgets what it was like. This is, of course, ludicrous, but no less ludicrous is the believer who listens carefully to God's truth and does not remember to put into practice what he has heard. Listening to truth is not an end in itself any more than gazing at one's face in a mirror is an end in itself. The purpose of listening to truth is to act upon it."

XVIII) [Jas 1:18, 21-25]:

(v. 18) "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [= humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

(v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror

(v. 24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

(v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

A) THE PHRASE "PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM" REFERS TO THE WORD OF TRUTH, NOT TO THE LAW OF MOSES

(v. 18) "He [God] chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." (v. 22) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. (v. 24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." =

The word "law" without the definite article, (not 'the Mosaic Law), refers here to rules to live by, in this case commands from the implanted word of truth to live by, i.e., information received from God's Word, the bible. The phrase "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does", (v. 25), parallels, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says," (v. 22). Both verses refer to the "word of truth," (v. 18), the Word of God, the bible which one is exhorted in both verses to listen to, i.e., continue to intently look at and do what it says.

Note that God gave birth to individuals who believed through the word of truth, (v. 18) evidencing that an individual is exposed to a body of information from God whereupon they believed in it and were birthed (born) again. Furthermore, the Word is implanted in the birthed again individual which he is to receive with humble obedience to save him from early physical death, (v. 21). This "Word" evidently is information from the "Word of Truth" which is implanted, i.e., incorporated into the mentality of the birthed again individual, implying an exposure to this information such that a volitional acceptance of it and obedience to it will save that individual from early physical death is in view. Finally, the Word is to be listened to and obeyed, (v. 22), to receive blessing beyond preservation from early physical death, (v. 22-25). The Word is called the Perfect Law that gives freedom, which suggests a freedom from the penalties of lack of blessing and early physical death and freedom to be the individual God intended him to be.

B) ONE IS TO CONTINUOUSLY STUDY THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE BIBLE AND DO WHAT IS SAYS AND THEREBY BE BLESSED IN ALL THAT ONE DOES

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. (v. 24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." =

The phrase 'the perfect law that gives freedom' is used to describe the word of truth, the bible. Verse 21 previously stated that as one receives with humble obedience the implanted word of truth, in view of having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil, salvation from early physical death will be the result. So during those times of humble obedience to the word of truth, one is not obeying the law of practicing filthiness and evil which leads to early physical death, (vv. 15, 21) - another kind of law that has disastrous results. So by receiving and humbly obeying the implanted word of truth, the bible, i.e., practicing the "law that gives freedom", one is indeed freed from the lifestyle of sin that leads to early physical death.

Furthermore, the Word of Truth reflects the true person and purpose of the individual, before God. One who looks intently into it and does what it says frees one to be who one was created to be by God from the moment one receives the gift of second birth from God through the implanted Word of Truth.

[Hodges, cont., p. 44]:

"The 'work-doer' James is describing is introduced in this verse as someone who looks into the perfect law of liberty. The perfect law of liberty is the spiritual 'mirror' into which a believer looks when he hears 'the implanted word.' Since the commands of this Christian law are in accord with his innermost nature as a born-again person, they are not in any way a form of bondage but rather they are a law of liberty [freedom]. What the Christian really learns from the Word (as we have pointed out in vv. 23-24) is to become (in conduct) what he already is by virtue of his regenerate nature. When I am doing something as a natural expression of my true nature, I am obviously enjoying the liberty of just being myself."

One is to continuously look intently into what the bible has to convey, i.e., to constantly study it. As he continues to study God's word, "not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it he will be blessed in all that he does."

C) CONTINUALLY STUDYING AND APPLYING THE WORD OF GOD IS THE KEY TO BEING BLESSED, SAVING ONESELF FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH AND ATTAINING THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (cont.) =

Notice that the phrase "and continues to do this", (v. 25), i.e., and continues an ongoing humble reception of the implanted word, the bible, in order to be "blessed in what he does", (v. 25), parallels the requirement in v. 21 of "having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil, and an ongoing reception with humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save your souls" both to the end of persevering under trials, (v.4), and to the end of bringing about the "righteous life that God desires", (v. 20). So the continual study and application of the Word of God is the key to being blessed and living out ones life to attain the righteous life that God desires.

D) LOOKING INTENTLY AT ONESELF IN THE MIRROR AND NOT WALKING AWAY FORGETTING WHAT ONE LOOKS LIKE IS PARALLELED WITH CONTINUOUSLY LOOKING INTENTLY INTO, I.E., STUDYING THE PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM, THE BIBLE, NOT FORGETTING WHAT ONE HAS HEARD, DOING IT UNTO BLESSING AND THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 22) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. (v. 24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (cont.) =

Notice that the picture of looking intently at oneself in the mirror and walking away forgetting what one looks like which is opposed to continuously looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, the bible, and not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it unto blessings in all he does unto the righteous life that God desires.

XIX) [Jas 1:19-22; 25-27]:

(v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

(v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does

(v. 26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

A) PERSONAL CONDUCT, ESPECIALLY PROPER USE OF THE TONGUE IS KEY TO ACCEPTABLE RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOR IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does (v. 26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. =

Personal conduct, especially proper use of the tongue is key to acceptable religious behavior in order to bring about the righteous life that God desires. Ones religion becomes worthless when one does not control ones tongue. One important instruction on this matter has already been given in vv. 19-20:

(v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

Notice that the focus on good religion then should be godly personal conduct especially how and what one speaks to another. Hence how one conducts oneself especially with the use of the tongue takes precedence over religious rituals and activities.

B) PERSONAL CONDUCT ESPECIALLY HELPING THE NEEDY AND KEEPING ONESELF FROM SIN IS RELIGION THAT IS ACCEPTABLE BY GOD AS PURE IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

(v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does (v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." =

Personal conduct especially helping the needy and keeping "oneself from being polluted by the world", i.e, sin is religion that is acceptable by God the Father as pure. Notice that pure and faultless religion in God's point of view centers around ones personal conduct; helping others - merciful acts and conduct to "bring about the righteous life that God desires", (v. 21), and not religious ceremony, ritual and outward behaviorisms without inward humble obedience to the word of truth, (vv. 21-22).

[Expositors, cont., pp. 176-177]:

"Verses 26-27 point out three specific areas where truth should be put into practice. The first is speech. James introduces a hypothetical case. The person involved 'considers himself religious.' The word thrEskos ('religious') occurs only here in the NT; and the corresponding noun thrEskei ('religion') appears but four times in the NT, two of which are in James 1:26-27. The adjective thrEskos describes a person who performs the external acts of religion, such as public worship, fasting, or giving to the needy. The person James is referring to is the one who 'does not keep tight rein on his tongue.'... He exerts no controlling restraint on his speech.... His uncontrolled tongue reveals that 'his religion is worthless,' being merely external sham. Such a person has been playing the part of one who is religioius and has convinced himself that he really is religious, but in so doing 'he deceives himself.' This is the second instance of self-deceptioin in this chapter. In v. 22 the person who hears the truth but does not put it into practice is self-deceived. In v. 26 the self-deceived person is the one whose religious acts do not make a difference in the way he lives....

The kind of 'religion that God our Father accepts' is the kind that exerts a positive influence on one's life. Notice that this verse does not give us a definition of religion. Instead, it presents a concrete way of insisting that genuine religion is a life-changing force. One's religion, then, should be more than external; it must spring from an inner spiritual reality that expresses itself in love to others and holiness before God. James next describes a specific example of love - the care of 'orphans and widows.'... One whose religion is genuine will also avoid 'being polluted by the world.' 'World' describes the total system of evil that pervades every sphere of human existence and is set in opposition to God and to righteousness.

To summarize, vv. 22-27 insist that a person's religion must consist of more than superficial acts. It is not enough to listen to the statement of spiritual truth (vv. 22-25), nor is it sufficient to engage in formal religious activity (v. 26). The person whose religious experience is genuine will put spiritual truth into practice, and his life will be marked by love for others and holiness before God."

XX) [Jas 1:19-21; 26-27; 2:1]:

(v. 19 NKJV) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

(v. 2:1 NKJV) My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism."

A) THE INTRODUCTION WHICH IS ALL OF CHAPTER ONE ANNOUNCED THE CENTRAL THEMES OF JAMES' LETTER WHEREUPON "MY BROTHERS, AS BELIEVERS IN OUR GLORIOUS LORD JESUS CHRIST" ANNOUNCES THE BEGINNING OF THE BODY OF THE LETTER IN VERSE 2:1

(v. 26) "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (v. 2:1 NKJV) My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism." =

Notice that verse 2:1 begins with "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" which announces the beginning of the body of the letter. It focuses on specifics within the congregation of believers which chapter one has already covered. Chapter one has provided the central themes which are then dealt with for the rest of James' letter.

[Hart, cont.]:

"It is now common to view an epistolary introduction as an authorial device that announces the central themes of a letter. Like the growth of a flower, the prologue of an epistle is the thematic bud and the body of the epistle is the full blossom. Further, the conclusion and the introduction will often be joined with verbal and conceptual links that form a harmony of ideas, confirming the themes. These two hermeneutical principles form a check and balance system for interpretation. If I find in the body of an epistle several basic themes that are not found in the prologue or the epilogue, my exegesis may likely be faulty. Traditional approaches to James 2 flounder against these hermeneutical tests. The issue of true faith/false faith does not appear in the introduction or conclusion of the letter. Nor does the introduction concern itself with a conception that true faith results in consistent good works. The opening of the epistle reveals that the saints to whom James writes are undergoing trials that are testing their faith (1:2). While some are convinced that this test is designed to separate genuine faith from spurious faith, such thinking is not readily evident."

B) IN LIGHT OF PREVIOUS DISCUSSION OF BRINGING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES AND THEIR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE LORD OF GLORY, BELIEVERS ARE EXHORTED NOT TO SHOW FAVORITISM

(v. 2:1 NKJV) My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism." =

"Adelphoi mou mE en ....prosOpolEmpsiais echete ...tEn pistin tou ....kuriou

"Brothers my ...not with .respect of persons .do have the. faith ..of the Lord

hEmOn iEsou christou tEs doxEs"

our ........Jesus Christ ...of ...glory"

The context continues to have believers in view, relative to their "bring[ing] about the righteous life that God desires," (v. 20), through looking "intently at the perfect law that gives freedom [i.e., studying the bible] and continu[ing] to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it...," (v. 25a). Verse 26 exhorts a believer in the light of doing what the bible says to "keep a tight rein on his tongue." Verse 27 adds "Look after widows and orphans in their distress" and "keep oneself from being polluted by the world," (cf. 1:21-22). James then continues in this vein with "Don't show favoritism," prefacing it with the key motivation to do this: "My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." In light of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, i.e., of heaven, the abode and presence of God in Whom they believe, the brothers are exhorted to do those things that the "perfect law that gives freedom" says to do, (v. 25a) in order to "bring about the righteous life that God desires," (v. 20). James mentions the specific exhortation of not showing favoritism as a special emphasis upon which he elaborates further in the next few verses.

[Hodges, cont., p. 48]:

"Actually in this verse [2:1] the italicized words (in the NKJV), the Lord, are not present in the original, which simply has 'of (the) glory.' It is possible that this latter phrase is used like an adjective in the sense of 'our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.' But the presence of the definite article (tEs) does not easily fit this view. More likely, the phrase in Greek equals '(the) Glory,' that is, heaven or the presence of God (cf. 1 Tim 3:16). The whole expression will then mean 'of our Lord Jesus Christ of (from) Glory.' James would be thinking, in that case, of the fact that the true abode of the Lord was (and is) the glorious abode of God Himself. Such a splendid origin for Christ makes any kind of earthly wealth and glory appear drab and worthless by comparison. Faith in One Who belongs to 'Glory' makes all deference to rich people on earth look shabby and cheap. The readers should not combine their faith with such demeaning behavior."

C) JAMES EXHORTS BELIEVERS TO NOT SHOW FAVORITISM IMPLYING THAT 'TRUE' BELIEVERS CAN EVIDENCE NOT DOING GOOD WORKS AND STILL BE VIEWED AS BELIEVERS

(v. 2:1 NKJV) "My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism," (cont.) =

James exhorts those whom he stipulates as "believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" to not show favoritism, implying that believers can show favoritism, i.e., evidence sinful behavior as opposed to doing good works yet still be true believers as he stipulated. No where in this section or elsewhere in his letter does James question the authenticity of his audience being anything but true believer's destined to be firstfruits in the eternal kingdom to come, works or not.

[Hart, cont.]:

"The very heart and method of James's appeal in chapter 2 is to arouse acts of mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy of God. James simply does not question the fact that his readers are true Christians. He appeals to them based on the reality of the new birth, [1:18]. Perhaps the most transparent statement to this effect is 2:1, 'My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, do not show favoritism'... All that James has to say is designed to shake us 'as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ' from the comfort of worldliness and challenge us to meet the practical needs of others such as the needs of an orphan or a widow (1:26). He does so without ever finding it necessary to scrutinize our experience of salvation."

XXI) [Jas 1:19-23; 25-27; 2:1-4]:

(v. 19 NKJV) So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

(v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.

(v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does

(v. 26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

(v. 2:1) My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

(v. 2:2) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.

(v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,

(v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"

A) THE WORD RENDERED 'MEETING' REFERS TO A CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION, NOT A TRADITIONAL JEWISH SYNAGOGUE

(v. 2:2) "Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. (v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet, (v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" =

"meeting" = Greek, "sunagOgEn", lit., synagogue, meeting. TDNT - 7:798,1108; n f AV - a bringing together, gathering (as of fruits), a contracting (strong's number 4864)

[Hodges, cont., p. 49]:

"Although the Greek word for assembly [meeting] is the one used for a synagogue, the word had a broader sense of 'place of assembly' or even 'meeting' (BGD, synagOgE, 2b and 5). 'Meeting' seems most natural here. In fact, it has been maintained recently that the use of the word synagOgE for a place of meeting 'began to develop primarily in the later first century,' but that the earlier meaning referred to a group which gathered for a religious purpose (Kee, NTS: 281-83). In the circle of churches to which James writes..., it is not likely that there were many which met in the local synagogue, since that would imply the conversion of most of the synagogue's members. Most probably the Jewish-Christian churches of Palestine met in private homes where rooms might be set aside to accommodate these gatherings."

B) "STAND THERE OR SIT ON THE FLOOR BY MY FEET" REFERS TO LESS PREFENTIAL SEATING FOR THE POOR MAN

"Stand there or sit on the floor by my feet" =

"Kai tO ......ptOchO eipEte .............su ...stEthi ekei ...E ..kathou hupo

"And to the poor ......may have said you .stand .there .or .sit.........under

to hupopodion mou"

.....footstool .....my"

[Hodges, cont., p. 49]:

"The statement, sit here at my footstool, is literally, 'sit here under (or, below) my footstool.' There could be a touch of ironic exaggeration in these words: James suggests that the position given the poor visitor is so demeaning as to be underneath the footstool on which the speaker rested his own feet!

However, the scene James had in mind may well have been one in which the Christians were reclining at a table to observe the Lord's Supper. If so, the rich visitor is allowed to sit down on a seat in the room to observe the prceedings. The poor visitor, on the other hand, is told simply either to stand (against the wall?) or to sit on the floor 'under' (i.e., behind) the pillow or object on which the speaker placed his feet."

C) MAKING THE DISTINCTION THAT ONE MAN IS BETTER THAN ANOTHER ON THE BASIS OF MATERIAL WEALTH IS DISCRIMINATORY AND JUDGMENTAL - BASED ON EVIL THOUGHTS

(v. 2:2) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. (v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet, (v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" =

Paul paints a particular scenario as unacceptable Christian behavior, wherein a man of material means is favored over a poor man in a meeting as to where they are to sit. Such a distinction that a rich man is better than a poor man because of his material wealth is indicated as descriminatory and judgmental based on evil thoughts, (as opposed to judging on a biblical basis).

XXII) [Jas 2:1-5]:

(v. 2:1) My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

(v. 2:2) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.

(v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,

(v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

(v. 2:5) Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?"

A) INHERITING NOT INHABITING THE KINGDOM IS IN VIEW WHICH MATERIALLY POOR BELIEVERS LARGELY WILL DO VIA FAITHFULNESS DEMONSTRATING LOVE FOR GOD, BUT RICH BELIEVERS WILL GENERALLY NOT CHOOSE TO DO SO

"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? " =

"To inherit the kingdom' =

"Akousate adelphoi mou agapEtoi ouch ho theos .exelexato ...tous ptOchous

"Listen .....brothers my ..beloved ...not ........God ..Did choose .the ..poor

tO kosmO ............plousious en pistei kai .klEronomous .tEs ....basileias

of the world to be rich .........in faith ..and heirs ...............of the kingdom

hEs ....epEggeilato .tois ....agapOsin ........auton"

which He promised to the ones loving .....Him"

......................................................who love Him

"Inherit the kingdom, lit. "Heirs of the kingdom" refers to persons who inherit, i.e., receive ownership of the kingdom. It does not have in view dwelling in the kingdom, rather ownership of it.

1) [Compare Jas 1:17-18]:

(v. 17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

James stipulates that believers have been brought forth from God, i.e., born again, as a "good and perfect gift" to be "firstfruits of His creation," (v. 18), with a view to assurance of eternal life. Hence they are assured of inhabiting the kingdom of heaven as the "firstfruits of His creatures," (v. 18). On the other hand, whether or not believers inherit ownership of the kingdom, depends upon how they demonstrate their love for God via persevering under trial so as to bring about the righteous life that God desires, (v. 20).

James stipulates that God chose the materially poor of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit ownership of the kingdom He promised those who love Him. Evidently to be rich in faith is to demonstrate a love for God.

2) [Compare Jas 1:9-12]:

(v. 9) "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

(v. 12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

In the light of verses 1:9-12, verse 2:5 states that, (as a general rule), as chosen by God, the materially poor believer will choose to persevere unto maturity and the righteous life that God desires, (v. 20), taking "pride in his humble position", becoming "rich in faith", demonstrating love for God, (v. 12), and hence become an heir of the kingdom as opposed to the rich man who, (as a general rule), will not choose to persevere in his struggle, hence permitting his faith and love for material wealth to take precedence over his faith and love for God. Hence rich men will generally not be heirs of the kingdom.

[Hodges, cont., p. 51]:

"Ironically, a rich Christian may have less opportunity to trust God for his needs than a poor man who must trust Him day by day, and sometimes meal by meal. Thus, by the providential arrangement of God, a poor Christian may become very rich in the area of personal faith in God, while the rich Christian may be poverty-striken in this aspect of spiritual experience. James' readers needed to remember this whenever a scruffy, poor brother came to their assembly. Despite outward appearances, he might be a spiritual millionaire!"

This is not a passage which has hell or heaven in view, for eternally secure believers are being addressed, (vv. 1:18, 2:1); poor ones vs rich ones, ones who will be heirs, i.e., inherit ownership of the kingdom of heaven and ones who will not. Notice that who will inhabit the kingdom is not the issue, but who will inherit it is. All believers have the sure hope of Jesus Christ's presence, i.e., assurance of eternal life:

3) [Compare Jas 1:18]:

"Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]"

On the other hand, not all believers will inherit ownership of the kingdom. The stipulated proviso of a believer being an heir of the kingdom is a lifestyle pattern of loving God which evidently will generally be materially poor believers.

B) THOSE THAT LOVE GOD ARE THOSE WHO DEMONSTRATE A LIFESTYLE OF PERSEVERING UNDER TRIALS UNTO COMPLETENESS SO AS TO PRODUCE THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES

1) [Compare Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Verse 1:12 stipulates that those believers who love the Lord receive the crown of life as a reward for a faithful lifestyle. The context of these two chapters has been one of exhorting believers to persevere in the faith unto maturity so as to produce the righteous life that God desires in a lifestyle demonstration of their love for the Lord. Hence the phrase "to those that love Him [God]" in 2:5 refers to those believers, (v. 2:1), who demonstrate a lifelong lifestyle of persevering under trials unto completeness so as to produce the righteous life that God desires resulting in the "crown of life", (v. 12), and being "heirs, not just inhabitants, of the kingdom", (v. 2:5).

C) GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY OF CHOOSING THE POOR TO BE HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM AND BELIEVERS' FREE WILL CHOICE TO PERSEVERE UNDER TRIALS UNTO THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES RESULTING IN BECOMING AN HEIR TO THE KINGDOM ARE BOTH IN VIEW

God's sovereignty of choosing the poor to be heirs of the kingdom and believers' free will choice to persevere under trials unto the righteous life that God desires resulting in becoming an heir to the kingdom are in view. The context of chapters one and two establishes that heirship of the kingdom is open to all believers, rich and poor, who demonstrate a love for God via a faithful lifestyle, i.e., perseverance unto maturity to bring about the righteous life that God desires. Yet the sovereignty of God remarkably chooses the materially poor to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, evidencing the fact that riches are usually a stumbling block toward bringing about the righteous life that God desires. Riches are a test of life that most believers who are given this test will fail to persevere under.

XXIII) [Jas 2:1-7]:

(v. 2:1) My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

(v. 2:2) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.

(v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,

(v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

(v. 2:5) Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?

(v. 2:6) But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

(v. 2:7) Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of Him to Whom you belong?"

A) THOSE WHO HAVE RICHES USUALLY ABUSE IT, YET THOSE NOT SO BLESSED ARE OFTEN DISHONORED BY THE RICH

James gives good reason in verses 6 & 7 why one should not give preferential treatment to the rich. For it is often someone with wealth and power who is behind oppression, unfair legalistic restriction and defamation of one's character in order to gain further advantage, even to the extent of "slandering the noble name of Him Whom you belong." Note James' earlier comment of those who are rich:

1) [Compare Jas 1:9-11]:

(v. 9) "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

(v. 10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

(v. 11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business."

Notice that in God's viewpoint those that are rich have a low position relative to the temporal nature of material wealth: one that will "pass away like a wild flower."

[The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck Editors, J. Ronald Blue contributing author, Victor Books, USA, 1988, pp. 832-833]:

"It is not the wealth itself that is condemned, but the greedy attitude toward it and the grisly actions with which it is obtained. God is not deaf to the cries of injustice that rise both from wages withheld in fraud and from the laborers who have been oppressed by the rich. The Jewish converts were well aware of God's Law forbidding holding back on wages (Lev 19:13; Deut 24:15) and oppressing the poor (Prov 3:27-28; Amos 8:4-6; Mal 3:5)....

In the scramble for more wealth, the rich used their influence in courts of justice, and in the process were guilty of bringing condemnation and even death to innocent men who offered no resistance... What began as an interest in money ended as an insensitivity to murder."

[Hodges, cont., p. 52]:

"Poor believers, then, tended to live such lives and to be people of importance in the light of God's coming kingdom, and disdainful treatment of a poor person who attended a meeting was a failure to take that fact into account. 'You should have honored him,' James is saying, but instead you have dishonored the poor man. Conversely, as a class, rich people were more likely to be the enemies of Christianity and to be oppressors rather than helpers of the Christian community. Though some indeed would be saved, their tendency to trust riches rather than God made their salvation difficult (Mark 10:23-27). Like ungainly camels, they were too big and self-important to enter the kingdom by simple, child-like trust. Still worse, in the Jewish context of this book, many unbelieving, wealthy Jews were a source of oppression to Christians and might drag them into the courts on any pretext. Moreover, many did not hesitate to blaspheme that noble name by which you are called. That is, they blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ (see v. 1). By putting the statements about rich men in question form, James is simply making them face what they already knew. It made no sense for any reader of James to obsequiously extend himself in welcoming a rich person into the Christian assembly, while at the same time slighting a potential heir of the kingdom!"

XXIV) [Jas 1:12, 18-2:8]:

(v. 12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

(v. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

(v. 20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

(v. 21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

(v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

(v. 23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.

(v. 25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.

(v. 26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

(v. 2:1) My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

(v. 2:2) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.

(v. 2:3) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,

(v. 2:4) have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

(v. 2:5) Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?

(v. 2:6) But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

(v. 2:7) Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of Him to Whom you belong?

(v. 2:8) If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right."

A) THE ROYAL LAW TO BRING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES IS TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

"If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right." =

In the light of chapters one and two so far, the exhortation to believers to do what is stipulated in order to persevere through trials and tests in order to "bring about the righteous life that God desires", (v. 1:21), author James summarizes all of this in the second commandment of the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law, namely "Love your neighbor as yourself." He calls it the "Royal Law found in Scripture," relative to "doing right," i.e., bringing about the righteous life that God desires, (v. 1:21), which chapters one and two up to this point have been expounding upon.

In view of the immediate proximity of 2:1-7, keeping the Royal Law found in Scripture especially satisfies James' exhortation herein of not showing favoritism. It is self-evident that loving ones neighbor as oneself, i.e., loving others one comes in contact with daily as oneself is to treat them without prejudice, i.e., in a righteous manner = "doing right", (v. 2:8); so that believers "don't show favoritism", (v. 2:1).

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 52-53]:

"The failure to avoid partiality (v. 1) in dealing with the rich and the poor was more than a failure to face reality in regard to these two classes of men. More fundamentally, it was a breakdown in Christian morality. It was a violation of Scripture's Royal Law commanding love for our neighbor based on how we ourselves would wish to be treated. Certainly no one desired to be slighted in the way described by James (v. 3)."

B) THE PHRASE "ROYAL LAW" IMPLIES A RULE OF LIFE TO LIVE BY RELATIVE TO HOW ROYALTY SHOULD LIVE IMPLYING THAT PERSEVERING BELIEVERS WHO KEEP THE ROYAL LAW ARE TO BE VIEWED AS ROYALTY, I.E., HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM

(v. 1:12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" (v. 2:5) "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? (v. 2:8) If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right." =

The phrase "Royal Law" implies a rule of life for believers to live implying that persevering believers who keep the Royal Law are to be viewed as royalty, who will "inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him", (v. 2:5); who will "receive the crown of life," (v. 1:12); and be the "firstfruits of His creatures", (v. 1:18) - all characterizations that point to royalty.

[Hodges, cont., p. 53]:

"In calling the command to love your neighbor as yourself a Royal Law, James has created a memorable expression with more than one significant facet. The command to love is royal because it is issued by the King - our Lord Himself, in fact, first as the divine Revealer (Lev 19:1, 18) and then in His incarnation among men (Matt 22:37-40). But it is also Royal because it is conduct of a high order that is worthy of a king. No doubt James is alluding to the theme of heirship in the kingdom which he had just mentioned (2:5). The heirs were the future kings of God's kingdom, and they should conduct themselves according to the royal (kingly) law of love for one's neighbor. Note how skillfully James pulls together in 2:5-9 the two great commands of OT revelation - i.e., love for God and love for man (see Mark 12:28-31). These two commands are also part of the New Covenant law of liberty. The aspiring future kings will possess (reign over) the kingdom if they love God (v. 5), but this requires also love for men (this verse; see 1 John 4:20-21)... Thus, James is saying, if the readers really (mentoi) do fulfill the command to love others as they love themselves, they are doing the right thing (i.e., you do well). And they are acting in a royal way."

XXV) [Jas 2:8-11]:

(v. 8) "If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right.

(v. 9) But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the Law as lawbreakers.

(v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

(v. 11) For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker."

A) THE PHRASES "THE LAW", "THE WHOLE LAW" REFER TO A DIFFERENT LAW WHICH HAS MORE THAN ONE POINT, THE MOSAIC LAW

(v. 9) "But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (v. 11) For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker." =

Since the Royal Law only has one point, "Love your neighbor as yourself," and is referred to as "The Royal Law", then we can determine that the phrases "The Law" and "The whole Law" and "yet stumbles at just one point [of "the Law"] is guilty of breaking all of it,"refer to a different law, the Mosaic Law not the Royal Law.

Note that verse 11 stipulates two of the Ten Commandments which are part of the Mosaic Law corroborating the fact that the phrases in verse 10 of "the Law" and "the whole Law" refer to the Mosaic Law and not the Royal Law which is limited to "love your neighbor as yourself"

B) BELIEVERS WHO SHOW FAVORITISM OR ANY INFRACTION OF THE MOSAIC LAW AS A MEASURE OF THEIR BEHAVIOR ARE GUILTY AS LAWBREAKERS OF BREAKING THE WHOLE LAW - ALL BELIEVERS HENCE ARE CONVICTED AS SINNERS BEFORE GOD

(v. 9) "But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the Law as lawbreakers. (v. 10) For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." =

For believers to show favoritism is sin and an infraction of the Mosaic Law wherein such believers are characterized not only as having broken the Mosaic Law just at that one point, but as "lawbreakers... guilty of breaking all of it." Hence one single infraction is sufficient to determine that one is personally characterized as a "lawbreaker", i.e., a sinner who is guilty of breaking the whole Law. This points to a sinful capacity within the believer to do just that! Even the believer who keeps the whole Law but "stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" and is to be classified as a lawbreaker before God. He is a sinner like the rest of humanity. Evidently the Mosaic Law is God's standard of behavior which Christian believers are to use as a measure of their behavior. Furthermore, the Mosaic Law establishes the fact that all men, even believers, are sinners and lawbreakers who are guilty before God of breaking the whole Law.

Note that other passages located especially in the New Testament epistles establish that most of the moral statues of the Mosaic Law have been carried over into the rule of life required of Christians in this age. Recall that James is first and foremost addressing Jewish brothers in Christ who have a history of being under the Mosaic Law.

[Hodges, "Epistle of James", pp. 53-56]:

"But do they indeed fulfill it? [the Law]. Not if they show partiality to the rich over the poor, for in that case they commit sin, and the biblical command to love exposes them as transgressors of God's Law. No doubt, as Jewish converts to Christianity, James' readers still held the moral standards of God's OT Law in high esteem, as should we. After all, every one of the ten commandments, except the one about the Sabbath day, is repeated in the NT. Thus the repeated commands are binding on those who live under the New Covenant rather than under the Old, which has been set aside (see Hebrews 8). Therefore, the failure to love a brother as oneself (which is a failure reflected in partiality) constitutes a genuine infraction of God's will for us."

"For whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." =

[Hodges, cont.]:

"Furthermore, such failure exposes our inadequacy in the light of God's holy standards. An infraction of the Law of the sort James is discussing is to break the Law as a whole. No matter how well we might keep the rest of it, a sin against love constitutes a person a lawbreaker - i.e., a criminal before the bar of justice!"

[Hodges, cont., p. 54]:

"This disturbing point is driven home by James with the observation that the commands against adultery and murder are part of the same Law. Since both sins were punishable by death under the Old Covenant, James' argument has great force. Obviously, he is saying, if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, your innocence in one area does not excuse you in the other. As James' readers would know, murderers suffered the ultimate penalty for lawbreaking whether or not they had ever committed adultery.

Naturally James is addressing himself to Jewish Christian readers... who still retained a high opinion of law-keeping, though possibly not as intensely as those in Jerusalem who were so zealous for the Law (Acts 21:20). Their culture and heritage strongly inclined them to this, even after they had been justified by faith in Christ. James writes with considerable perception to his readers. Even though justification is not the issue here, his readership (like their unsaved but self-righteous fellow countrymen) put a high premium upon avoiding such sins as adultery and murder. But they needed to be reminded that a failure to love a poor brother who came to their assembly nullified any pride they might have in obeying God's law in other respects. One either obeyed it all, or he did not obey it - whatever the specific infraction might be....

James' words remind us that in the final analysis any sin is enormously serious because it breaks God's law and makes a person a lawbreaker...

Even James' converted readers, however needed to be reminded of this truth about the Law, so that they would not ignore their own unloving partiality and carelessly regard themselves as law keepers in God's sight. 'Don't think that way at all,' James is saying, 'for your loveless behavior sets you under the Law's condemnation, not the Law's approval!' Thus the kind of 'hearing' James wants of his readers (see 1:19 ff.) is not mere moral separation from sins like adultery and murder. No indeed. To be swift to hear is also to be swift to love, and that excludes partiality.

It should be noted how James can effectively use the Law in an exhortation to Christian readers who esteemed it highly. Just as Paul did, James employs it for the condemnation of sin, since by the Law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20). Thus James uses the Law 'lawfully,' in accord with Paul's own perception of this. The Law, Paul would later affirm, can be lawfully used to reprove whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God (see 1 Tim 1:8-11). That is exactly what James is doing in this passage."

XXVI) [Jas 1:25; 2:8-13]:

(v. 1:25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

(v. 2:8) "If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right.

(v. 2:9) But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the Law as lawbreakers.

(v. 2:10) For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

(v. 2:11) For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker."

(v. 2:12) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,

(v. 2:13) because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!"

A) TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH BEING FAVORABLY JUDGED UNDER THE "LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM," THE WORD OF GOD, IS TO "KEEP THE ROYAL LAW FOUND IN SCRIPTURE, 'LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,' [SO THAT] YOU ARE DOING RIGHT"

(v. 1:25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (v. 2:8); "If you really keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right," (v. 2:12) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom." =

Verse 1:25 exhorts believers to look "intently into the perfect law that gives freedom" and be "doing it." It refers to studying and obeying the Word of God. Verse 2:12 refers again to "the law that gives freedom", the Word of God, by which believers are advised they will be judged: this command that one is to "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the Law that gives freedom." Verse 2:12 directly follows and parallels the exhortation in vv. 2:1-2:11 to "keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' [so that] you are doing right", (v. 2:8). Hence to act in acordance with and being favorably judged under the "Perfect Law that gives freedom", (v. 1:25; 2:12) is to "keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' [so that] you are doing right.' and will be favorably judged by the law that gives freedom"

[Hodges, cont., p. 44]:

"The 'work-doer' James is describing is introduced in this verse as someone who looks into the perfect law of liberty. The perfect law of liberty is the spiritual 'mirror' into which a believer looks when he hears 'the implanted word.' Since the commands of this Christian law are in accord with his innermost nature as a born-again person, they are not in any way a form of bondage but rather they are a law of liberty [freedom]. What the Christian really learns from the Word (as we have pointed out in vv. 23-24) is to become (in conduct) what he already is by virtue of his regenerate nature. When I am doing something as a natural expression of my true nature, I am obviously enjoying the liberty of just being myself."

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 56]:

"But it is not the OT law by which Christians will be judged, but rather by the law of liberty to which he has already referred (1:25..). The qualifying phrase of liberty clearly suggests a differentiation from the mere term law when not so qualified... Chrisitans are not under the Mosaic Law of the Old Covenant... but rather it allows them to express what they really are as children of God. Thus it is a law of freedom.

Yet at the same time it is the code of conduct by which our Christian lives will be judged. Thus we should so speak and so do with that fact in mind. Our Christian lives will be assessed in the light of the high and holy standards of the law of liberty."

B) TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH BEING FAVORABLY JUDGED UNDER THE "PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM" IS TO "KEEP THE ROYAL LAW FOUND IN SCRIPTURE, 'LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,' [SO THAT] YOU ARE DOING RIGHT WHICH IS FURTHER CHARACTERIZED AS BEING MERCIFUL

(v. 1:25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (v. 2:12) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, (v. 2:13) because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" =

The command that one is to "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the Law that gives freedom", (v. 2:12), directly follows and parallels the exhortation in vv. 2:1-2:11 to "keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' [so that] you are doing right", (v. 2:8). Hence to act in acordance with and being favorably judged under the "Perfect Law that gives freedom", (v. 1:25; 2:12) is to "keep the Royal Law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' [so that] you are doing right.' and will be favorably judged by the law that gives freedom, which favorability is characterized as being merciful.

C) ALTHOUGH BELIEVERS ARE ETERNALLY SECURE, THEIR LIVES WILL NEVERTHELESS BE JUDGED BY GOD NOT RELATIVE TO ETERNAL LIFE, BUT RELATIVE TO TEMPORAL DISCIPLINE AND ETERNAL REWARDS. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE WITHOUT MERCY TO ANY WHO HAVE NOT BEEN MERCIFUL

(v. 1:12) "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

(v. 1:15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death"

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]

(v. 1:25) "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

(v. 2:5) Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?"

(v. 2:9) "But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the Law as lawbreakers."

(v. 2:12) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,

(v. 2:13) because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" =

Although believers are eternally secure, their lives will nevertheless be judged by God not relative to eternal life, but relative to temporal discipline and eternal rewards. God's judgment will be without mercy to any who have not been merciful. The believer is eternally secure: He is declared to be the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come(1:18). So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come. Note the direct implication of the secured eternal destiny of the believer as firstfruits of the eternal kingdom.

James chapters one and two have already indicated that believers will be judged for their actions in their mortal lives. If they were unmerciful then they will be judged unmercifully by God. They will be judged as to how they persevere under trials, (vv. 1:2-4). Perseverance will be rewarded with the crown of life, (v. 1:12). Letting sin become full grown will be judged by God unto early physical death, (v. 1:15); living a lifestyle rich in faith will be rewarded with inheritance/ownership of the kingdom, (v. 2:5); one who shows favoritism or commits other sins will result in being judged as a lawbreaker, (v. 2:9); the believer's life will be judged by the law that gives freedom, the Word of God, (vv. 1:25, 2:5). Temporal and eternal blessings/rewards and discipline are in view. Some judgments will be merciful and some will not depending upon how believers have treated others with mercy.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 58]:

"In this light, then, the cold indifference toward the poor man of vv. 2-3 was a dangerous procedure to follow. Instead, that poor man should have been welcomed with the warmth and sensitivity which the merciful person is careful to express. Only in that way would their treatment of him be a positive, rather than a negative, factor at the Judgment Seat of Christ."

[Expositors,cont., p. 180]:

"The reason for responding to the exhortation of v. 12 is that 'judgment without mercy' will be the lot of the unmerciful. No doubt mercy is singled out because James has the poor man of v. 2 in mind. Instead of the mercy the man needed, he received cruel discrimination."

[Hart, cont.]:

"First, some think that the merciless judgment mentioned in 2:12-13 must be the final judgment. As a result, the "save" in 2:14 must relate to eternal life.1[1] But surely this exegesis cannot avoid the charge of a works salvation since according to 2:13 the doing of mercy (= works) will bring mercy in judgment (= forgiveness and eternal life)... A judgment of believers must be in view in 2:12 because James challenges his readership to act like those who have been forgiven and freed from guilt.1[1] But unbelievers or false believers cannot act like they have been freed from guilt. Additionally, 2:12-13 corresponds to 3:1 as an inclusio. Therefore, the judgment mentioned in 3:1 corresponds with the judgment mentioned in 2:12-13. But in 3:1, James himself states that he will experience this judgment, and that it will involve greater strictness for him and for all teachers. Can anyone suppose that James thought of himself as appearing before God to determine his eternal destiny? Was heaven held in the balance for him? Absolutely not!"

XXVII) [Jas 1:14-18, 21; 2:14]:

(v. 1:14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

(v. 1:15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death."

(v. 1:16) "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

(v. 1:17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 1:21) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls"

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?"

A) THERE IS NO DISTINCTION AS TO KINDS OR DEGRESS OF FAITH, ONLY DIFFERENCES AS TO THE CONTENT OF WHAT ONE BELIEVES - TO EXPRESS FAITH IS TO ACCEPT AS TRUE

VERSE 14 IS PROPERLY RENDERED "CAN FAITH SAVE HIM" AND NOT "CAN SUCH FAITH SAVE HIM"

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

"ti ...........to ..ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin legE tis ...........echein

"What is the .benefit, brothers my ..if ....faith ..says someone to have

........................profit......................................................................he has

erga ...de ..mE echE .............mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"

works but .not he does have not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"

.....................................................................that

"Can faith save him?" = Gk: "mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"

.........................................................."not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"

..................................................................................that

Note that some translations have "can such/that faith save him", (ex. NIV, AMP, NAS), as if to distinguish different kinds of faith. However there are no words in the original text which can be rendered "such" or "that" in English. The NKJV, KJV, NRSV and RSV are on the other hand correct in their rendering, "Can faith save him?" Objectors to this point to the definite article "hE" that accompanies the word rendered "faith" = "hE pistis" to suggest a specific kind of faith as a result of the article and thus falsely render the Greek 'such faith' or 'that faith'. But there is no special significance to the article here but a standard appearance of the article in koine Greek, (as well as many other languages such as Spanish and French which likewise provide a definite article with abstract nouns like love, hope, faith, etc., where English does not) which has no translatable equivalent in English. So "hE pistis" is accurately rendered "Can faith save him?" Notice that in this passage the definite article also appears with "pistis" = "faith" in vv. 17, 18, 20, 22. In none of these places do any translations or objectors offer "such faith" or "that faith."

Furthermore, the normative rules of language, context and logic do not permit a distinction as to kind of faith. Faith in something is defined as an acceptance of that something as true. There are no degrees of faith relative to believing in someone or something more or less or falsely vs. truly. Just as one believes or does not believe that a light will go on once someone flicks a particular light switch, so one believes or does not believe that Christ died for ones sins or not unto eternal life. One cannot by definition falsely believe in something, such as falsely believe that Christ died for ones sins. Belief is either on or off. If a result is tied to a specific belief such as belief that Christ died for ones sins unto eternal life, then that result will occur at the moment the belief begins - that's the nature of believing. There are only differences in the frequency and content/object of ones faith, not the quality.

So expressions of faith can be described as varying in accordance with the difficulty of the content of what one believes in or in the consistency of the same belief over moments of time; but never is there a certain degree of faith required in the same content at some moment in time to determine a true vs. false belief or bring about a stipulated result. Hence believing that God will provide food, shelter and clothing in prosperous times may be described as less difficult to hold to than in hard times - but notice that it is either on or off. Furthermore, trusting that God will provide may go on and off more frequently over time for some who are more fortunate than others. But a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone will always provide eternal life from that moment on by definition.

1) FAITH BELIEVE TRUST DEFINED

a) ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason."

According to the dictionary and Scripture, the words belief and trust are synonymous with faith.

b) NT GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:

"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

The Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement.

A moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is the only thing that saves unto eternal life. This must not be confused with 'the faith' meaning the doctrines of the bible nor 'faithfulness' meaning obedience to those doctrines. The latter two are never in view in a salvation/eternal life passage. Hence they do not save unto eternal life.

B) AUTHOR JAMES IMPLIES THAT SAVING FAITH WITHOUT WORKS DOES EXIST

1) [Compare Jas 2:1 NKJV]:

"My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism."

James exhorts those whom he stipulates as "believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" to not show favoritism, implying that believers can show favoritism, i.e., evidence sinful behavior as opposed to doing good works yet still be true believers as he stipulated. No where in this section or elsewhere in his letter does James question the authenticity of his audience being anything but true believer's destined to be firstfruits in the eternal kingdom to come, works or not.

[Hart, cont.]

"The very heart and method of James's appeal in chapter 2 is to arouse acts of mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy of God. James simply does not question the fact that his readers are true Christians. He appeals to them based on the reality of the new birth, [1:18]. Perhaps the most transparent statement to this effect is 2:1, 'My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, do not show favoritism'... All that James has to say is designed to shake us 'as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ' from the comfort of worldliness and challenge us to meet the practical needs of others such as the needs of an orphan or a widow (1:26). He does so without ever finding it necessary to scrutinize our experience of salvation."

C) CHAPTER ONE IS THE INTRODUCTION TO JAMES' LETTER WHICH ANNOUNCES THE CENTRAL THEMES OF THE LETTER. IT MAKES NO MENTION OF ANY ISSUE BETWEEN TRUE FAITH/FALSE FAITH OR ANY DISTINCTION ABOUT KINDS OF FAITH - HENCE IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE BODY OF THE EPISTLE PRESENTS SUCH AN ISSUE

Notice that verse 2:1 begins with "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" which announces the beginning of the body of the letter. It focuses on specifics within the congregation of believers which chapter one has already covered. Chapter one has provided the central themes which are then dealt with for the rest of James' letter. Since chapter one does not deal at all with an issue of true faith/false faith or anything to do with kinds of faith, it is unlikely that the body of the letter has such an issue.

[Hart, cont.]

"It is now common to view an epistolary introduction as an authorial device that announces the central themes of a letter. Like the growth of a flower, the prologue of an epistle is the thematic bud and the body of the epistle is the full blossom. Further, the conclusion and the introduction will often be joined with verbal and conceptual links that form a harmony of ideas, confirming the themes. These two hermeneutical principles form a check and balance system for interpretation. If I find in the body of an epistle several basic themes that are not found in the prologue or the epilogue, my exegesis may likely be faulty. Traditional approaches to James 2 flounder against these hermeneutical tests. The issue of true faith/false faith does not appear in the introduction or conclusion of the letter. Nor does the introduction concern itself with a conception that true faith results in consistent good works. The opening of the epistle reveals that the saints to whom James writes are undergoing trials that are testing their faith (1:2). While some are convinced that this test is designed to separate genuine faith from spurious faith, such thinking is not readily evident.

D) THE WORD 'FAITH' IN 2:14 IS STIPULATED WITHOUT WORKS AND IS PORTRAYED AS EXISTING. IT WILL NOT PROFIT ONE IN THE TEMPORAL LIFE NOR SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH NOR TEMPORAL LOSS NOR PROVIDE ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:1) "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism." (v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

Since "brothers as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ" are being addressed in this passage, (v. 2:1); who are "brought forth", i.e., born again as a free gift from God by faith and whose destiny is thus assuredly to be the firstfruits of God's creatures in eternity, (vv. 1:17-18);

and since it is stipulated in v. 2:14 that "someone says he has faith but does not have works?" then the faith in 2:14 is defined as a faith which provides eternal life. The context demands that Mr. Someone's saying he has faith is a reality otherwise the question which follows: "Can faith save him?" cannot be asked.

On the other hand, a question is asked in 2:14, "What does it profit... if someone says he has faith but does not have works," which is posed in such a way - given the context, that the answer is no profit at all. Considering the context of perseverance through temporal trials and living the righteous life that God desires relative to temporal rewards and discipline, the profit or lack thereof in view does not have gain or loss of eternal life in view, but temporal gain or loss.

This question is immediately followed by another, "Can faith save him?" which is posed again in such a way - given the context, that the answer is no. These two questions affirm the fact that Mr. "Someone" does have saving faith as he has said he does. There is no question as to this fact that Mr. Somone's faith is real and not merely professed, because the context is not whether or not Mr. Someone has the faith he has said he has; but the focus of both questions is, 'Can faith which someone has but who does no works save that individual in some manner?'

E) THE CONTEXT OF CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO OF BEING SAVED FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH DUE TO FULL GROWN SIN, I.E., CONTINUAL UNFAITHFULNESS/NO WORKS HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED. BEING SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE VIA FAITHFUL DEEDS HAS NOT BEEN IN VIEW

(v. 1:14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 1:15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

The context in chapters one and two of being saved from premature physical death due to full grown sin, i.e., continual unfaithfulness/no works has already been established. Being saved unto eternal life has not been in view. There is no indication that full grown sin as opposed to sin causes eternal death, especially in believers who are in view in this passage. Words such as eternal death, Lake of Fire, condemnation are not present. Brothers are in view, i.e., believers already saved unto eternal life who will not face eternal death are being addressed in this chapter. Furthermore, the picture of giving birth to sin and then sin becoming full grown in a believer leading to death does not have eternal death in view, but physical death. One does not receive eternal death at the point when sin becomes full grown in one, one is already under condemnation unto eternal death before the first sin is given birth to, much more permitting it to become full grown. All men are born in sin without committing sin and are destined to eternal death without having to give birth to a single sin until they become believers, much less permitting sin to become full grown in oneself. So avoiding eternal death is not in view, avoiding full grown sin unto premature physical death for a believer is. Hence v. 2:14's "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

F) THE WORD "SOULS" IN VERSE 1:21 IN THE PHRASE "WHICH CAN SAVE YOUR SOULS" REFERS TO ONES LIFE BEING SAVED FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH. IT DOES NOT REFER TO BEING SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 1:15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 1:19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 1:20) for man's anger does notbring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 1:21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls" =

It has already been established that "sin when it is full grown" in a believer "gives birth to [premature physical] death, (v. 15); so "having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil as acceptable behavior [i.e., the full grown sin as stipulated in v. 15] and humbly accepting the word with accompanying deeds planted in you will "save your souls, i.e., save you from premature physical death, (v. 21 NKJV).

The soul in this context is defined as the essence which animates the body, i.e., the physical life. Hence the expression 'to save the soul' represents a Greek phrase whose most common meaning in English would be 'to save the life' - the physical life. So the phrase "to save your souls" means to save your physical lives from premature physical death.

Since the audience throughout this chapter has unwaveringly been believers who are already saved unto eternal life, (vv. 2-19); who have been birthed by God and will assuredly become the firstfruits of God's eternal kingdom, (v. 18); who are exhorted to persevere through trials, (vv. 2-4), and not permit sin to birth or become full grown in them, (v. 15), but having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil as acceptable behavior and with humble obedience, i.e., works, receive the implanted word which can save their souls from premature physical death for letting sin become full grown in them, (vv. 15, 21), then the reception of eternal life by unsaved unbelievers is not in view.

[Hodges, cont., p. 41]:

"Many readers as well as expositors have an automatic reaction to the phrase save your souls in English, which leads them to understand it of eternal salvation from hell. But none of James' readers were at all likely to get such a meaning out of this text. The Greek phrase found here (sOsai tas psychas hymOn) was in common use in the sense of 'to save the life.' It is used in both the Greek OT as well as in the NT in exactly that sense (see Gen 19:17; 32:30; 1 Sam 19:11; Jer 48:6; Mark 3:4//Luke 6:9). This is its obvious sense also in Jas 5:20, which refers to the physical preservation of a life from death. It may even be said that there is not a single place in the entire Greek Bible (i.e., the NT plus the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT) where this phrase signifies deliverance from hell...

Nevertheless the meaning of the data supports - 'to save your lives' - is precisely the meaning most suited to this context. The readers are already born again (v. 18) and are in no need of being saved from hell. Moreover, James has just spoken of the death-dealing consequences of sin (vv. 14-15). In this light, the meaning of v. 21 is transparent: although sin can culminate in physical death, the Word of God, properly received, can preserve physical life."

Hence v. 2:14's "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

G) THE CONTEXT OF BELIEVERS PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL BRINGING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES CONTINUES WITH THE STIPULATION THAT ONE IS TO LAY ASIDE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AND WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE (WORKS) ACCEPT THE WORD PLANTED IN THEM IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR SOULS, I.E., THEIR LIVES FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH. HENCE FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM DYING EARLY

(v. 1:2)"Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1:3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything... (v. 1:19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 1:20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 1:21 NKJV)Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives]" (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

With the word 'therefore' in v. 1:21, the context of believers persevering under trial toward being "mature and complete", i.e., (vv. 1:2-4), bringing about in their own lives "the righteous life that God desires", (v. 1:20b), continues with the stipulation that one is to lay aside the acceptability of all filthiness and abundance of evil and with humble obedience (works) accept the word planted in them in order to save their souls, i.e., their lives from premature physical death. Hence faith without works will not save one from dying early.

(v. 1:21 NKJV):

"Dio ...........apothemenoi ........pasan rhuparian ............................kai .perisseian .kakias

"Therefore having laid aside ..all.......filthiness, (i.e., moral filth) .and abundance of evil

en prautEti ........................................................dexasthe ton emphuton logon

in gentleness, (meekness = humble obedience) receive ...the implanted word

ton ...........................dunamenon ......................sOsai tas psuchas humOn"

which (lit., the one) is able (lit. 'being able') ..to save ....souls .....your"

Notice that verse 1:21 begins in the Greek with a participle phrase, "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil" which establishes that believers must consider entertainment of such behavior as unacceptable. This points to what they are to be doing instead: receive with humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save them, literally, their "souls", i.e., their lives from premature physical death had they continually remained in all filthiness and abundance of evil. Recall verse (v. 1:15): "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, "when it is full-grown," [i.e., when their lives are characterized by all filthiness and abundance of evil, it then] "gives birth to" [premature physical] "death." =

Evidently a lifestyle pattern of reception with humble obedience of the "implanted word" in believers works to maximizing the length of their appointed years, reducing full grown sin, i.e., reducing filthiness and abundance of evil, saving their souls from premature physical death.

Note that an ongoing reception including response with deeds of the implanted word is in view considering the context already established of ongoing perseverance under trials to bring about the righteous life that God desires. This is corroborated in verse 25:

1) [Compare Jas 1:25]:

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

Hence v. 2:14's "Whatdoes it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

H) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH: A BELIEVER WHO DOES NOT DO WHAT THE IMPLANTED WORD SAYS, WHO DOES NOT LAY ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, WHEREIN SIN HAS BECOME FULL GROWN IN HIM, HAS NO WORKS - FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT BE SAVED FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH

(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

(v. 2:14):

"ti ...........to ..ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin legE tis ...........echein

"What is the .benefit, brothers my ..if ....faith ..says someone to have

........................profit......................................................................he has

erga ...de ..mE echE .............mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"

works but .not he does have not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"

.....................................................................that

"Can faith save him" = Gk: "mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"

.........................................................."not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"

..................................................................................that

Relative to the goal of "having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil" [believers] must "receive with meekness, i.e., humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives from premature physical death]" toward the end of "bring[ing] about the righteous life that God desires", (v. 1:20) so as to be saved from a premature physical death, (v. 1:21 NKJV): The believer is to humbly go to the source of information that provides instruction on this matter, the word, i.e., the word of truth, the bible, (v. 1:15). To receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word is not to merely listen to the word without acting upon it. To listen without doing results in deceiving oneself that progress toward the righteous life is being made. Believers instead are also to do what it says. A believer who does not do what the implanted word says, does not lay aside all filthiness and abundance of evil, i.e., sin has become full grown. He has no works. This scenario is portrayed in 2:14 wherein the believer has no works and because of this will not be saved from early physical death.

[Joseph C. Dillow, 'The Reign of the Servant Kings', 1992, Schoettle Publishing, Miami Springs, Fl, p. 118]:

"[Jas 2:14]:

'What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can faith save him?'

The form of the question requires a negative answer. No, faith without works cannot save.... Works clearly are a condition of salvation according to James. But what is the content of that salvation?

James takes us back to the teaching of his Master in 1:21 when he refers to the saving of our lives. The Greek text reads: 'Humbly accept the implanted word which is able to save your lives [sosai tas psychas humon].' The expression 'save your lives' is the same one used by the Lord Jesus in Mt 16:25. That salvation does require work and self denying service to Christ. But it does not constitute final deliverance from hell. Rather, it involves the preservation of physical life now, a victorious perseverance through trials, and a glorious reward for our faithful service in the future...

There is nothing here about a 'saving faith' and one that does not save in the sense of final deliverance from hell. There is no perseverance in holiness taught. Nowhere does James tell us that works are the inevitable result of the faith that delivers from hell, nowhere, unless salvation means deliverance from hell. But then, if it does, James is teaching salvation by works!"

XXVIII) [Jas 1:17-18; 2:14-17]:

(v. 1:17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

(v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.

(v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

(v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

A) AN EXAMPLE OF BELIEVERS NOT HELPING A NEEDY BROTHER AND SISTER CORROBORATES WHAT HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY IN VIEW: THAT FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT PROFIT OTHERS NOR ONESELF, NOR SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH, NOR FROM LOSS OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, NOR ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17). In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." =

"eipE de ...tis ..........autois ...ex .humOn hupagete .en eirEnE thermainesthe

"says .and someone to them of ..you, ......'Go ..........in .peace....be warmed

kai chortazesthe mE dOte .................de ...autois ..ta ..epitEdeia ...........tou ....sOmatos

and filled ............not .you do give .....but .to them the necessary things of the body

....................................V_AAS2Plural

ti ..........to ophelos"

what is the benefit?"

Notice in the phrase, "you do not give them the things which are needed for the body", "you" is plural which refers to the entire group of believers none of whom did anything to help the brother or sister in need.

An example of a brother or sister being without clothes and daily food is given wherein "one of you", i.e., a believer as spokesman for a group of believers responds inadequately with a statement of well wishing. The group of believers does nothing to actually help the brother or sister in need. Notice that the question, "What does it profit?" is identical to "What does it profit" in verse 2:14 evidently for emphasis. It is couched in a context which demands an even stronger "No" as an answer than the first time the phrase was used. Just as in verse 2:14, the phrase "What does it profit", therefore, does not refer to the lack of reception or loss of eternal life, but to the lack of profiting with temporal blessings for others and oneself, and living out the length of ones life and the reception of eternal rewards.

B) LOSING THE BENEFIT OF ETERNAL LIFE CANNOT BE IN VIEW SINCE ETERNAL LIFE HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THIS PASSAGE AS A GIFT BY FAITH WHICH IS ETERNALLY SECURE - NOT SUBJECT TO BE GAINED OR LOST BY THE EFFORTS OF MAN OR LACK THEREOF

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17). In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

1) The Second Birth Is Unto Eternal Life/Salvation, Given As A Gift By God Solely Out Of The Will Of God To Believers Through The Word Of Truth, The Bible - Faith Alone In What The Word Of Truth Presents To Man On This Matter Is What Results In The Second Birth To The Exclusion Of Man's Will And Any Human Doing

(v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" =

"Of His own will = "boulEtheis", aorist nominative participle, lit., 'one having willed it.'

Information from the "word of truth", the bible, specifically the gospel, when acted upon by an individual by a moment of faith results in him becoming a believer, which then, solely by God's deliberate choice of having exercised His will, provides him with a second birth, a spiritual one, eternal life as a gift, (Jas 1:17). This rules out the physical birth in view of the fact that one must already be physically alive in order to believe in the word of truth. Evidently this points to simply trusting in what the word of truth says about the second birth unto eternal life, i.e., the gospel, to the exclusion of man's will or any contribution by man, otherwise this would contradict the stipulation that the second birth is a gift by the will of God. Notice that it is the will of man to choose to believe in the gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life, but it is solely by the will of God to offer and provide that gift.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 31]:

"To James, new birth is a gift of God... [which] finds its source in God's will (of His own will) and is effected by the word of truth."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"Inasmuch as this birth is 'through the word of truth,' that is, through the gospel, the birth referred here must be spiritual rather than natural. God accomplishes this action by His own deliberate choice (boulEthesis)."

2) God's Purpose In Birthing Believers Is That They Might Be A Kind Of Firstfruits - A Foretaste Of The Eternal World Of Righteousness To Come, Testifying To The Eternal Security Of The Believer

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]" =

Firstfruits, the first pick of the crop to be harvested, are a key representative of the success of the harvest. In the same way, the believer is the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come. So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come, testifying to the eternal security of the believer.

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"His purpose in regeneration is 'that we might be a kind of firstfruits.'... The term 'firstfruits' referred to the first portion of the harvest given to God, a foretaste of that which was to come."

[Hodges, cont., p. 33]:

"In addition, here we seem to meet the... idea that as children of God we are a sort of anticipation or foreshadowing of what God will accomplish for the entire creation....

So understood, James' point will be that God's gift of new life is so good and perfect that when we possess that life we are a foreshadowing of what God will do for all His creatures (all created things). Just as the first crops from a field (firstfruits) suggest the quality of the harvest as a whole, so the miracle of regeneration in our lives is so wonderful that what God plans for the entire creation can also be called a regeneration... Although James recognizes that the analogy is not exact (we are a kind of firstfruits), yet it carries his point effectively. There is no flaw in the gift of new life; otherwise it could serve as no true model of what God wants to do for the entire creation."

C) THE PROFIT FROM FAITH WITH WORKS, LIKE HELPING OTHERS IN NEED, HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS PASSAGE AS TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, LIVING OUT THE LENGTH OF ONES LIFE AND ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" =

The profit from faith with works, like helping others in need, has already been established in the context of this passage as temporal blessings, living out the length of ones life and eternal rewards.

For example, believers who face trials faithfully can "count it pure joy", (v. 1:2); faithfully persevering under trials results in maturity and completion, (v. 1:3-4); asking God for wisdom in faith, without doubt, results in receiving that wisdom, (1:5-6); brothers in humble circumstances having a faithful attitude toward trials are assured of their high position in eternity, (1:9); standing the test of trials results in the eternal reward of the crown of life, (1:12); listening to, accepting and doing what that word of truth says results in temporal blessings and the salvation of ones physical life from premature physical death and temporal blessing, (vv. 1:21-22; 2:14); believers who are materially poor and rich in faith will inherit ownership of the kingdom, (v. 2:5); speaking and acting with mercy under the Law that gives freedom will result in God's mercy, (2:12-13).

D) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS STILL FAITH WHICH PROVIDED ETERNAL LIFE. NEVERTHELESS, IT IS DEAD 'IN THE SAME WAY' STIPULATED IN VV. 2:14-16 & BEFORE, I.E., UNPROFITABLE TO THE RECEPTION OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS BY OTHERS AND ONESELF; WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH; AND USELESS IN PROVIDING ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

"houtOs kai ..hE pistis ean mE erga ..echE .............nekra estin kath .......heautEn"

"Thus ....also the faith, if ....not works it does have, dead ..is ......being by itself"

1) DEATH DEFINED

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, Mass, 1980]:

"1. deprived of life.

2. a. having the appearance of death b. very tired c. (1) incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually (2) grown cold

3 a. inanimate, inert b. barren, infertile c. no longer producing, functioning

4 a. (1) lacking power or effect (2) no longer having interest b. no longer in use c. no longer active d. lacking in gaiety or animation e. lacking in commercial activity (2) no longer having interest..."

Note that the word "dead" neither means non-existent nor insufficient to provide eternal life. None of the available definitions for the word "dead" stipulate or support either. Just as a car battery without a charge is useless in starting an automobile engine and can be described as a dead battery which is still in existence and at one time did start the car engine; so faith without works in the context of verse 2:17 is dead in the manner indicated in chapters one and two as unprofitable to the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; will not save one from premature physical death; and is useless in providing eternal rewards. Nevertheless the faith in view has been previoiusly described as having provided eternal life as a gift which by definition is ongoing forever.

a) [Compare Jas 2:17 vs. 2:20]:

(v. 2:17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

(v. 2:20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"

Since faith without action, (deeds), is dead,

and faith without deeds, (action), is useless,

then dead can be defined as useless in the context of James chapters one and two, which is one of the available definitions for the word "dead".

Therefore a dead faith does continue to exist, albeit without works which makes it useless to some end. If it is true, (and it is not), that a dead faith can describe a faith that does not exist, then the entire verse, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead", would deteriorate into nonsense.

Finally, losing the benefit of eternal life cannot be in view because of a dead faith since eternal life has already been established in this passage as a gift by a moment of faith which thereafter is eternally secure once received by definition and corroboration in verse 1:18 - not subject to be gained or lost by the efforts of man or lack thereof.

E) DEAD FAITH CANNOT BE FALSE FAITH ANY MORE THAN DEAD SIN IS FALSE SIN. IN THE SAME WAY THAT SIN WITHOUT THE LAW IS INACTIVE, SO FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS INACTIVE

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

1) [Compare Ro 7:8b]:

“For apart from the law sin is dead”

Notice that sin in this verse cannot be viewed as false sin. Rather apart from the Law sin is not active. Neither can faith in Jas 2:17 be viewed as false faith. Rather apart from works, faith is not active.

[Hart, cont.]:

"Evangelicals have been content to interpret dead faith as a false faith. The closest syntactical parallel to Jas 2:17 is found in Rom 7:8b, “For apart from the law sin is dead” (NASB). No one would suppose that Paul intended to say that apart from the law sin was “false sin” or an unreal sinfulness. Sin is still real and true sin, even apart from the law. The thought is that sin lies dormant and unrecognized until the law arouses it to action. In the same way, faith apart from works is true and real faith. But works have a way of enlivening faith and arousing it from abeyance."

F) MATURING ONES FAITH IS IN VIEW, NOT FALSE FAITH VS TRUE FAITH

(v. 1:2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1:3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (v. 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 1:6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

The context continues relative to perseverance unto maturity and completion, (v. 1:4). Believers are in view in 1:5-6: "If any of you [believers] lacks wisdom" and "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Notice that the believer who doubts is not declared a false believer, but one who "is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." He is immature. Hence there is no issue here re: false faith vs true faith.

[Professor John F. Hart, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Ill., 'How To Energize Our Faith: Reconsidering The Meaning Of James 2:14-26]:

"After James reaffirms that endurance can mature our faith, he admonishes us to ask God for the wisdom we lack. But we must “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (1:6). In this context, there is no impression that those who lack faith in prayer are false Christians. To the contrary, the terminology identifies an immature believer. While the readers trusted God for their eternal life, they doubted He would give them wisdom."

XXIX) [Jas 2:17-18]:

(v. 17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(v. 18a) But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'

(v. 18b) "Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith"

A) THE AUTHOR USES A WELL KNOWN LITERARY DEVICE: AN IMAGINARY OBJECTOR TO PROVE A POINT

"But someone will say" =

The word "But" which begins verse 2:18 signifies an impending objection which is corroborated by the beginning phrase of 2:18, "But someone will say."

Author James evidently assumed that some of his readers might take opposition to his words. So he used a very effective, well known, ancient technique of presenting an opposing argument from an imaginary objector so that he could emphasize his point by refuting an opposing point of view that might occur in the reader's mind. This device is a point-counterpoint device which consists of the author announcing an imaginary objector such as, "But someone will say..." and then conveying an objection that might be on someone's mind. This is followed by a pointed retort by the author such as "You foolish man", followed by a stern rebuttal.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 64-65]:

'''But James does not expect that his words will go unchallenged among his readers. Even in Christians, the impulse to excuse or cover our failures is strong. So James anticipates his readers' excuse by introducing the words of an imaginary objector. Such alleged objectors were a common stock-in-trade for writers on morals in James' day. The inspired author here employs this well-known literary foil. The entirety of vv. 18-19 belong to this hypothetical speaker...

In vv 18-19, the specific literary format James uses was familiar from the Greek diatribe, which was a learned and argumentative form of discourse... Words such as James' 'But someone will say' (v. 18) are used to introduce the objection and, when the objection has been stated, a sharp rejoinder is begun with words like James' 'But do you want to know, O foolish man' (v. 20). As David's (Commentary, p. 126) notes: 'The address 'O foolish person' is part of the strong, direct style of the diatribe (...cf. Hermas Vis[ions] 3.8.9; Epict[etus] 2.16.31-32).' Precisely the format we are discussing in James occurs also in Paul at Rom 9:19-20 and in 1 Cor 15:35-36. Note as well in 4 Maccabees 2:24-3:1, the objection: 'How is it then, one might say, that...' and the reply: 'This notion is entirely ridiculous...' (RSV). The view of many writers that James' reply has to begin at v. 18b ignores the manifest structural signals of James' text, and these writers have failed to produce any comparable text in the relevant literature.'''

B) MR. SOMEONE BEGINS HIS OBJECTION BY HIS OPENING WORDS "YOU HAVE FAITH; I HAVE DEEDS" - THIS CANNOT BE CONSTRUED AS A COMPLETE STATEMENT OF OBJECTION AS SOME MAINTAIN

Mr. Someone begins his objection by his opening words contained in v. 18a: "You have faith and I have deeds." This short sentence cannot be construed as a complete statement of objection as some maintain after which follows v. 18b, "Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith". Verse 18a does not contain sufficient information to provide an objection to the idea that James has been presenting, namely an objection to faith and works being connected. Verse 18a needs more information, another adjoining statement to make a completed point of objection. Hence 18b must be part of Mr. Someone's statement and not a rebuttal by author James. Recall that the punctuation that appears in English translations, including punctuation marks, is not part of the original manuscript text which had little or no punctuation. It is an interpretation that may or may not be accurate. The context must decide the punctuation.

C) SHOW ME YOUR FAITH BY YOUR WORKS IN LIEU OF SHOW ME YOUR FAITH WITHOUT YOUR WORKS BEST FITS THE CONTEXT

(v. 18b) "Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith" =

Deixon moi ton pistin sou .....ek .....ton ergon .sou

Show ...me .the faith ..your ..from .the .works your

kago .deixo ......soi ..ek ....ton ergon mou ton pistin mou"

and I will show you from the works my ..the faith ..my"

Most manuscripts have "ek" in verse 2:18b, yet most translations take the minority manuscript text of "choris" = "without" in lieu of "ek" = "by" for some reason. The fact that "ek" = "by" is the majority text opens up the possibility that "ek" is the correct rendering especially since it best fits the context.

So verse 18b is best rendered "Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith" rather than "Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by what I do."

If the rendering, "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works," were correct, then this necessitates that author James be the one who is 'speaking' since it is he who maintains that works do indeed have a significance in showing what one believes and not the objector. But this forces verses 18 - 20 to bounce back and forth awkwardly between the objector and James - a change of 'speaker' four times creating a confusing discourse. Furthermore, it does not conform to the customary pattern of the literary device of imaginary objector. This pattern is one of presenting the objector's case fully and then the author answering it fully - one presentation for each. Furthermore, the first statement of Mr. Someone, "you have faith I have works" if left by itself is open ended and insufficient. Finally, James uses a standard opening for his response to the imaginary objector: "You foolish man..." in verse 2:20 and not before, leaving the rest of the text of vv. 18-19 to the Objector.

If "ek" is used, verse 18 fits the context, the choice of the preposition "ek" from the majority of manuscripts is made, and the entire verse can then be attributed to the Objector as is customary with the literary device of imaginary objector:

"Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith."

And by this 'Mr. Someone' meant, 'You say that faith and works are connected - that faith without works is a dead faith. But I say, 'Show me the kind of faith you have from what you do, which is impossible to determine - the two are not connected; and if you can, (and I know you cannot), then I will show you from what I do what I believe in, (which will not correlate with what you show)'

[Hodges, "Epistle of James," pp. 64-65]:

"The text is only correctly understood when the entirety of vv 18-19 (starting with, You have faith) is assigned to the objector and none of it assigned to James....

The view of many writers that James' reply has to begin at v 18b ignores the manifest structural signals of James' text, and these writers have failed to produce any comparable text in the relevant literature.

But what does the objection mean? Since most Greek manuscripts read the word 'by' (ek) in place of the familiar word 'without' (choris) in v 18, we prefer the reading 'by' here....

The objector's statement may then be given as follows, retaining the Greek word order more exactly...

"But someone will say:

'You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith by [ek] your works, and I will show you, from [ek] my works, my faith....'

The argument which these words express appears to be a reductio ad absurdum (reducing someone's claims to absurdity). It is heavy with irony. 'It is absurd,' says the objector, 'to see a close connection between faith and works. For the sake of argument, let's say you have faith and I have works. Let's start there. You can no more start with what you believe and show it to me in your works, than I can start with my works and demonstrate what it is that I believe.' The objector is confident that both tasks are impossible.'''

D) MR. SOMEONE SAYS THAT FAITH AND WORKS ARE NOT CONNECTED

(v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (v. 2:18) "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds, show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith" =

(v. 2:18) "All .erei ......tis ...........su ..pistin echeis kagO erga ...echO

..............."But will say someone you faith ..have ..and I .works have,

deixon moi ton pistin sou .....ek .ton ergon sou

show ...me .the faith ..your ...by .the works your

kago ..deixo ......soi ..ek .ton ergon mou ton pistin mou"

and I ..will show you .by .the works my ..the faith ..my"

The objector, Mr. Someone, defends his point of view that faith and works are not connected with "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds, show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith," as if to say that neither will result in a true reflection of what one believes, so much the less will both results agree with one another. The Objector implies that the two are not connected - that ones faith is a separate entity, not related to what one does.

XXX) [Jas 1:17-18; 2:17-19]:

(v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(v. 2:18a) But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'

(v. 2:18b) Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith

(v. 2:19) You believe that there is one God. You do well! Even the demons believe that - and shudder."

A) THE OBJECTOR USES INSUFFICIENT CONTENT OF ONES BELIEFS AND A FALSE ANALOGY OF DEMONS VS HUMANS RELATIVE TO THEIR RESPECTIVE BELIEFS IN ONE GOD TO MAINTAIN THAT WORKS SHED NO LIGHT ON THE CONTENT OF ONES FAITH

" 'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' " =

Mr. Someone, the objector, uses a false analogy of demons vs. humans relative to their respective beliefs in one God to falsely maintain that works shed no light on the content of ones faith. Some attribute this verse to James and not to the objector, but James does not say this - the objector, 'Mr. Someone' does. The objector in verse 19 makes a misguided attempt to build a case for not doing works. James wouldn't say this because he is on the side of works being performed by the believer in addition to faith. Furthermore, demons cannot be compared to humans relative to this matter; nor is there enough information relative to the content of the faith of each to make a legitimate comparison.

So it is Mr. Someone who says, 'You do believe that there is one God - you believe in monotheism, don't you? You do well' with the implication that some humans who believe in one God do good works. But then he switches subjects and indicates that demons who believe that there is one God do not behave properly: "Even the demons believe that and shudder." Recall that most of James' readership is Jewish, which is intensely monotheistic. They tended to believe that good behavior must be the result of such a belief. Mr. Someone says, 'But the demons also believe in one God and look at their actions - totally the opposite from you, they shudder in fear like a bristling dog, evidencing a lack of any relationship with God.' So Mr. Someone is saying that what an individual does proves nothing about what he believes and vice versa. Mr. Someone maintains that works shed no light on the content of one's faith. Therefore, Mr. Someone maintains that there is no obligation for a believer to do good works to validate his faith.

But there is a vital element in the content of ones belief in one God which determines ones behavior relative to 'doing well' with God or 'shuddering in fear' before God, (v. 2:19). This element is not present in Mr. Someone's argument which thereby falsifies it; namely whether or not one believes in the sovereignty of the one God over ones personal life. Hence this leaves the belief in one God open to a number of possibilities of behavioral response from outright rebellion and 'shuddering before God' to 'doing well' and friendship and blessing with God. Hence Mr. Someone's argument is flawed. Just as one might believe in the fact that a certain man is ruler of ones country but may or may not accept that ruler's sovereignty over one, so it is with believing in one God. Furthermore, comparing demons with humans relative to this matter is arguably a false premise since demons and humans are different and God has dealt with each group differently. Furthermore, Scripture does not stipulate that angelic beings are held accountable to the doctrines of the faith or the gospel.

B) ON THE OTHER HAND, THE REBELLIOUS AND EVIL BEHAVIOR OF DEMONS DOES NOT CONTRADICT WHAT THEY BELIEVE. THEY BELIEVE IN ONE GOD ALRIGHT BUT THEY ALSO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS NOT SOVEREIGN OVER THEM HENCE THEY SHUDDER IN FEAR OUT OF REBELLION

" 'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' " (cont.) =

Notice that the imaginary objector attempts to rebut author James by using the example of Christians and demons believing in one God, yet they don't act the same. So he concludes from this that works do not prove out what one believes. This is illogical because believing that there is one God does not necessarily include believing that He is sovereign over one's life; nor does believing in one God make one a Christian, especially demons who are not offered the opportunity to become Christians. So believing in one God does not always lend itself toward doing good works. It is insufficient to conclude anything relative to good or bad works. For example, one may believe in one God but not trust that He is sovereign over one's life. As a matter of fact, scripture teaches that the demons do believe in one God but also believe that they are not held accountable to God for what they do. As a result they decide that they can behave any way they want to - while still maintaining their belief in one God. Hence they shudder in fear out of rebellion, fearing God's potential reprisal. On the other hand while one believes in one God and in His sovereignty over one's life before God, i.e., that one was accountable for what one did, then there certainly will be a different behavior pattern resulting in good works.

The truth of the matter is that the demons' rebellious and evil behavior does reflect their state of evil rebellion and what they believe. They believe there is one God and tremble in fear and they believe that they can become like God, and usurp His authority:

1) [Compare Isa 14:12-14]:

(v. 12) "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

(v. 13) You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

(v. 14) I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'"

The demons do not believe in God as their God and worship Him nor trust in Christ for their personal salvation - which offer was never provided for nor made to angelic beings in the first place. They slander against God and man. Their murderous, lying and evil ways accurately reflect their rebellious belief system:

2) [Compare Jn 8:44]:

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

3) [Compare 1 Tim 4:1]:

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons"

Notice that demons may believe in one God, but they are deceivers and murderers who oppose the doctrines of the faith and God's Holiness. Hence they are rebellious and in direct opposition to believing in the sovereignty of the one God in Whom they believe.

C) LACK OF WORKS DOES NOT DETERMINE THAT ONES FAITH IS NOT SAVING UNTO ETERNAL LIFE NOR ARE THERE DEGREES OF FAITH SUCH THAT SOME WHO HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST WILL NOT BE SAVED AND SHOW IT BY DOING EVIL

" 'You believe there is one God, you do well. So do the demons believe and [they] shudder in fear.' " (cont.) =

Some interpret this verse to say that there are different kinds or degrees of faith such that the wrong kind of or insufficient faith in Christ will not provide salvation/eternal life and evidence itself in evil behavior. Hence they read verse 2:19 to say, 'Those who have sufficient faith do well, but the demons who believe do not properly believe and are condemned and look how they behave: they shudder in fear." On the other hand, one must approach the passage from an objective point of view, via the normative rules of language, context and logic:

1) Comparing Demons With Humans Is A False Premise, And The Demons' Belief In One God Is Not The Same As A Human Believing In Jesus Christ To Save One Unto Eternal Life. It Is Invalid To Use Such An Argument To Prove That There Are Different Qualities Or Quantities Of The Same Faith.

Comparing demons with humans relative to this matter is arguably a false premise since demons and humans have a different makeup and God has dealt with each group differently. Demons have never been offered the chance to believe in the doctrines of the faith nor the gospel in order to receive God's grace. It is also illogical to compare believing in one God with believing in Christ unto eternal life. Even the demons believing that the Son of God, Jesus Christ exists, (Mt 8:29), is not the same as believing that He died for ones sins. The comparisons are not valid. Demons are not offered salvation unto eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ to save them anyway, (Heb 2:16); nor is believing by anyone in one God or even that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, exists, the same as faith in Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Hence it is invalid to use such as an argument to prove there are different qualities or quantities of the same faith - some which save and some which do not.

2) There Is No Distinction As To Kind Or Degree Of Faith, Only Differences As To The Content Or Frequency Of What One Believes - To Express Faith Is To Accept As True - A Mental Assent

The normative rules of language, context and logic do not permit a distinction as to kinds of faith. Faith in something is defined as an acceptance of that something as true. There are no degrees of faith relative to believing in someone or something more or less. Just as one believes or does not believe that a light will go on once someone flicks a particular light switch, so one believes or does not believe that Christ died for ones sins or not unto eternal life or not. One cannot by definition falsely believe in something, such as falsely believe that Christ died for ones sins. Belief is either on or off. If a result is tied to a specific belief such as belief that Christ died for ones sins unto eternal life, then that result will occur at the moment the belief begins. That's the nature of believing. There are only differences in the frequency and content of ones faith, not the quality.

So expressions of faith can be described as varying in accordance with the difficulty of the content of what one believes in or in the consistency of the same belief over moments of time; but never is there a certain degree or kind of faith required in the same content at some moment in time to determine a true vs. false belief to bring about a stipulated result. Hence believing that God will provide food, shelter and clothing in prosperous times may be described as less difficult to hold to than in hard times - but notice that it is either on or off, i.e., on more frequently or less frequently. Furthermore, trusting that God will provide may go on and off more frequently over time for some who are more fortunate than others. But a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone will always provide eternal life from that moment on by definition without any further requirements such as ongoing faithful actions.

a) Faith Belief Trust Defined

i) English Dictionary Definition Of Faith

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason."

According to the dictionary and Scripture, the words belief and trust are synonymous with faith.

ii) NT Greek Dictionary Definition Of Faith

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:

"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

The Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement.

The bible stipulates throughout that a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves unto eternal life. This must not be confused with 'the faith' meaning the doctrines of the bible nor 'faithfulness' meaning obedience to those doctrines. The latter two are never in view in a salvation/eternal life passage. Hence they do not save unto eternal life. Nor are they an accurate measure of whether or not one is saved. For example, even a pattern of not demonstrating faithful actions at one time or another in the Christian life which is never described in Scripture as perfect does not mean that one is not a believer.

iii) James Implies That 'True' Saving Faith Without Works Does Exist

[Compare Jas 2:1 NKJV]:

"My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism."

James exhorts those who he stipulates as "believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" to not show favoritism, implying that believers can show favoritism, i.e., evidence sinful behavior as opposed to doing good works yet still be true believers as he stipulated. No where in this section or elsewhere in his letter does James question the authenticity of his audience being anything but true believer's destined to be firstfruits in the eternal kingdom to come, works or not.

[Hart, cont.]

"The very heart and method of James's appeal in chapter 2 is to arouse acts of mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy of God. James simply does not question the fact that his readers are true Christians. He appeals to them based on the reality of the new birth, [1:18]. Perhaps the most transparent statement to this effect is 2:1, 'My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, do not show favoritism'... All that James has to say is designed to shake us 'as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ' from the comfort of worldliness and challenge us to meet the practical needs of others such as the needs of an orphan or a widow (1:26). He does so without every finding it necessary to scrutinize our experience of salvation."

3) The Second Birth Is Unto Eternal Life/Salvation, Given As A Gift By God Solely Out Of The Will Of God To Believers Through The Word Of Truth, The Bible. Faith Alone In What The Word Of Truth Presents To Man On This Matter Is What Results In The Second Birth To The Exclusion Of Man's Will And Any Human Doing

(v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" =

"Of His own will = "boulEtheis", aorist nominative participle, lit., 'one having willed it.'

Information, specifically the gospel, from the "word of truth", the bible, when acted upon by a moment of faith by an individual results in them becoming a believer, which then, solely by God's deliberate choice of exercising His will, God provides them with a second birth, a spiritual one, eternal life as a gift, (Jas 1:17-18). Evidently this points to simply trusting in what the word of truth says about the second birth unto eternal life, i.e., the gospel, to the exclusion of man's will or any contribution by man. Otherwise this would contradict the stipulation that the second birth is a gift by the will of God. Notice that it is the will of man to choose to believe in the gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life, but it is solely by the will of God to offer and provide that gift.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 31]:

"To James, new birth is a gift of God... [which] finds its source in God's will (of His own will) and is effected by the word of truth."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"Inasmuch as this birth is 'through the word of truth,' that is, through the gospel, the birth referred here must be spiritual rather than natural. God accomplishes this action by His own deliberate choice (boulEthesis)."

4) God's Purpose In Birthing Believers Is That They Might Be A Kind Of Firstfruits - A Foretaste Of The Eternal World Of Righteousness To Come, Testifying To The Eternal Security Of The Believer From The Moment They Believed

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]" =

Firstfruits, the first pick of the crop to be harvested, are a key representative of the success of the harvest. In the same way, the believer is the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come. So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come, testifying to the eternal security of the believer from the moment they believed.

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"His purpose in regeneration is 'that we might be a kind of firstfruits.'... The term 'firstfruits' referred to the first portion of the harvest given to God, a foretaste of that which was to come."

[Hodges, cont., p. 33]:

"In addition, here we seem to meet the... idea that as children of God we are a sort of anticipation or foreshadowing of what God will accomplish for the entire creation....

So understood, James' point will be that God's gift of new life is so good and perfect that when we possess that life we are a foreshadowing of what God will do for all His creatures (all created things). Just as the first crops from a field (firstfruits) suggest the quality of the harvest as a whole, so the miracle of regeneration in our lives is so wonderful that what God plans for the entire creation can also be called a regeneration."

XXXI) [Jas 2:17-20]:

(v. 17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(v. 18a) But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'

(v. 18b) Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith

(v. 19) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder.

(v. 20) You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

(v. 21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?"

A) AFTER THE IMAGINARY OBJECTOR'S REBUTTAL IS COMPLETED WITH AN EXAMPLE ABOUT DEMONS, AUTHOR JAMES BEGINS HIS REBUTTAL WITH A STANDARD OPENING "YOU FOOLISH MAN..."

"You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?" =

Note that James begins his answer to the objectors rebuttal by beginning with a standard opening for his response to the imaginary objector: "You foolish man..." and then sets up his points of rebuttal: "Do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"

It is evident that this began James' rebuttal at verse 20 and not before; for it permited the objector to make a full point and then a standard rebuttal address came next, whereupon James made his statement and provided corroboration of his point.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 64-65]:

'''In vv 18-19, the specific literary format James uses was familiar from the Greek diatribe, which was a learned and argumentative form of discourse... Words such as James' But someone will say (v. 18) are used to introduce the objection and, when the objection has been stated, a sharp rejoinder is begun with words like James' But do you want to know, O foolish man (v. 20). As David's (Commentary, p. 126) notes: 'The address 'O foolish person' is part of the strong, direct style of the diatribe (...cf. Hermas Vis[ions] 3.8.9; Epict[etus] 2.16.31-32).' Precisely the format we are discussing in James occurs also in Paul at Rom 9:19-20 and in 1 Cor 15:35-36. Note as well in 4 Maccabees 2:24-3:1, the objection: 'How is it then, one might say, that...' and the reply: 'This notion is entirely ridiculous...' (RSV). The view of many writers that James' reply has to begin at v. 18b ignores the manifest structural signals of James' text, and these writers have failed to produce any comparable text in the relevant literature.'''

B) JAMES PROVIDED THE STRONGEST EXAMPLE TO PROVE HIS POINT TO HIS ISRAELITE CHRISTIAN READERS: ABRAHAM PERSEVERING UNDER TRIALS AND PROVING OUT HIS FAITH AS A SECOND KIND OF JUSTIFICATION OF HIS MATURING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD: JUSTIFICATION OF IT BEFORE MEN

(v. 1:2) "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1: 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (v. 20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (v. 21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" =

The phrase "our ancestor Abraham" affirms that the letter is addressed to Israelites who are Christians. The example of Abraham is the strongest possible example of works proving out ones faith especially considering James' immediate readership of Israelite Christians. Abraham is given as an example of perseverance under trials unto maturity and completion, (vv. 2-4), as a second kind of justification - to men, (God already knows). This is a major theme of the Epistle of James.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 66-67]:

"In refuting the objection he has cited, James selects the most prestigious name in Jewish history, the patriarch Abraham. He selects also his most honored act of obedience to God, the offering of his own son Isaac. Since in Christian circles it was well known that Abraham was justified by faith, James now adds... He was also justified by works! If James' subject matter is kept clearly in mind, we will not fall into the trap of pitting him against the apostle Paul. In no way does James wish to deny that Abraham, or anyone else, could be justified by faith alone. He merely wishes to insist that there is also another justification, and it is by works."

C) THE ISSUES OF TRUE FAITH/FALSE FAITH AND SAVING FAITH RESULTING IN CONSISTENT GOOD WORKS DO NOT APPEAR IN THE INTRODUCTION OR CONCLUSION OF THE LETTER, BUT A CONTRAST BETWEEN IMMATURE AND MATURE FAITH DOES

HENCE JAMES IS NOT SAYING THAT ABRAHAM'S ACTIONS PROVED HIS FAITH TO BE TRUE AND EFFECTIVE TOWARD SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BUT RATHER IT GIVES EVIDENCE OF A FAITH MADE COMPLETE, I.E., MATURE

(Jas 1:2) "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (Jas 1: 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (Jas 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Jas 2:20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (Jas 2:21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" (cont.) =

The issues of true faith/false faith and saving faith necessarily resulting in consistent good works do not appear in the introduction or conclusion of this letter. Hence to bring up the idea that an issue exists in the body of the letter that is absent in the introduction or conclusion is outside of the pattern of Biblical epistles and most likely is not a valid one. But a contrast between immature and mature faith does appear in the introduction, body and conclusion. So we can conclude that James is not saying that Abraham's actions proved out that his faith was true and effective toward salvation unto eternal life, but rather, it gave evidence of a mature faith that was made complete by his actions with Isaac.

[Hart, cont.]:

"It is now common to view an epistolary introduction as an authorial device that announces the central themes of a letter. Like the growth of a flower, the prologue of an epistle is the thematic bud and the body of the epistle is the full blossom. Further, the conclusion and the introduction will often be joined with verbal and conceptual links that form a harmony of ideas, confirming the themes. These two hermeneutical principles form a check and balance system for interpretation. If I find in the body of an epistle several basic themes that are not found in the prologue or the epilogue, my exegesis may likely be faulty. Traditional approaches to James 2 flounder against these hermeneutical tests. The issue of true faith/false faith does not appear in the introduction or conclusion of the letter. Nor does the introduction concern itself with a conception that true faith results in consistent good works. The opening of the epistle reveals that the saints to whom James writes are undergoing trials that are testing their faith (1:2). While some are convinced that this test is designed to separate genuine faith from spurious faith, such thinking is not readily evident. On the contrary, the testing process itself is a mark that one is within the family of God. As an OT believer, Abraham faced a test of his faith when he was commanded to offer up his son Isaac (Gen 22:1; Heb 11:17) - a test that forms the essential backdrop to the mention of this incident in Jas 2:22. The Father is in the business of putting his children into situations that will develop their trust in Him. The potter does not examine defective vessels...What then does he examine? Only the sound vessels...Similarly, the Holy One, blessed be He, tests not the wicked but the righteous, as it says, "The Lord trieth the righteous." What the introduction does present is a contrast between a mature faith and immature faith. James reminds his readers that trials can lead to endurance, and endurance should be permitted to "have its perfect [teleios] work, that you may be perfect [teleios] and complete, lacking nothing" (1:4). The same Greek root used in 1:4 is employed by James in 2:22 (teleioo") to describe the maturing of Abraham's faith. If the believer will respond to trials with joy and allow endurance to have its perfecting (maturing) work, he will develop a mature, complete character. Since immediately following the Jas 2:14-26 context the author brings up the thought of maturity again (3:2), there is no reason to think that the concept should not be given much greater weight in the James 2 unit than any conception of a so-called false faith."

XXXII) [Jas 2:17-23]:

(v. 17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(v. 18a) But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'

(v. 18b) Show me your faith by your works, and I will show you, by my works, my faith

(v. 19) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder.

(v. 20) You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

(v. 21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

(v. 22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

(v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend."

A) BEFORE BEING CONSIDERED RIGHTEOUS FOR WHAT HE DID WHEN HE OFFERED ISAAC ON THE ALTER, ABRAHAM WAS DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY THE LORD, I.E., JUSTIFIED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BY FAITH ALONE WHEN HE BELIEVED IN THE LORD'S PROMISE OF PROVISION OF A SAVIOR THROUGH ABRAHAM'S SEED

(v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." (Gen 15:4) "Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.' (Gen 15:5) He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring [lit. your Seed"] be.' (Gen 15:6) Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." =

1) [Compare Gen 15:1-6]:

(v. 1) "After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

'Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,

your very great reward.'

(v. 2) But Abram said, 'O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'

(v. 3) And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'

(v. 4) Then the word of the LORD came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring [lit. your Seed"] be.'

[" 'So shall your offspring ([lit. your Seed") be.' " =

In order for Abram to have countless offspring and be blessed by it in his own life he would have to have eternal life. The next verse indicates that God credited His perfect righteousness to Abram which is to say that Abram was granted entry into the kingdom of heaven, i.e., eternal life]:

(v. 6) Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness."

So God presents a picture to Abraham to affirm His promise of an heir - an actual physical heir who was to come through the loins of Abraham, (Gen 15:4). This picture was 'painted' by God across the star studded night time heavens. An uncountable number of stars were visible to Abraham. God promised that just as the universe contained such an innumerable number of stars, so would be numbered the descendants of Abraham. This picture gave to Abraham the concept of him seeing countless numbers of descendants - a picture of his having eternal life in order for this to be possible. And so, Abraham was promised by God to have an infinite number of descendants evidently over an infinitely long lifetime, i.e., eternal life. When Abraham believed in God's promise of eternal life, God acounted to Abraham His righteousness. That is to say that Abraham was credited with God's perfect righteousness in conjunction with God's promise to Abraham of eternal life which evidently is required in order to have eternal life. This is the definition of justification unto eternal life: to be declared righteous by God. And note that it was received by a moment of faith alone. This cannot be misconstrued to mean that Abraham did or was expected to do anything in order to be perfectly righteous in his lifestyle. There is no stipulation to that effect in the passage.

So Gen 15:5-6 is not just a picture of Abraham's countless descendants living long after he died and had gone into the Lake of Fire. What would be the purpose of that if Abraham would never see them - being condemned to the Lake of Fire? Why would God make such a promise to Abraham if Abraham had no chance of ever seeing them in person, i.e., having eternal life? So this indeed was a picture of God's promise to Abraham of eternal life - eternal life with countless descendants over an eternity of time.

So Abraham was now qualified to have eternal life by being credited by God with the absolutely perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ as a result of his faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life. And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled.

B) BECAUSE OF HIS OBEDIENCE WITH HIS SON ISAAC, ABRAHAM WAS DECLARED BY THE LORD TO SURELY BE BLESSED WITH ETERNAL LIFE - HIS ACTIONS DEMONSTRATED THAT HE WAS THE FRIEND OF GOD

(v. 2:21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?"

(Gen 22:15) "The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time (Gen 22:16) and said, 'I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, (Gen 22:17) I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, (Gen 22:18) and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.' " =

1) [Compare Gen 22:9-18]:

(Gen 22:8) "Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' And the two of them went on together.

(Gen 22:9) When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

(Gen 22:10) Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

(Gen 22:11) But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham! Abraham!' 'Here I am,' he replied.

(Gen 22:12 'Do not lay a hand on the boy,' he said. 'Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.'

(Gen 22:13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

(Gen 22:14) So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'

(Gen 22:15) The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

(Gen 22:16) and said, 'I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

(Gen 22:17) I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

(Gen 22:18) and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.' "

Notice that the LORD says "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore", i.e., eternal life. The word surely is an emphatic confirmation of the LORD's earlier declaration that Abraham was justified by faith alone, (Gen 15:6). This is not to say that because of Abraham's obedience he would now be justified. He already was justified by faith alone, (Gen 15:6)! If it were the case that obedience was required, then Gen 15:6 would be in error by omission.

C) ABRAHAM PERSEVERED UNDER TRIAL - HE WAS DECLARED RIGHTEOUS, I.E., JUSTIFIED FOR WHAT HE DID AND HIS FAITH WAS MADE COMPLETE UNTO BEING CALLED THE FRIEND OF GOD BEFORE MEN - EVIDENTLY A SECOND KIND OF JUSTIFICATION BEFORE MEN

(v. 1:2) "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1: 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (v. 21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" (v. 22) "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." =

Abraham is given as an example of perseverance under trials unto maturity and completion, (vv. 1:2-4). The reception of eternal life for deeds has already been established as not in view in James 1 & 2. Furthermore, verse 2:23 quotes Gen 15:6 wherein Abraham is declared righteous, i.e., justified before God unto eternal life by faith alone apart from any works. Just as the rest of James chapters one and two has already indicated that perseverance through testing/works results in being made mature and complete and not lacking anything, so James in 2:22-3 is not saying that Abraham's faith was made complete by what he did in order to receive eternal life; instead James states that Abraham's actions made his faith complete so as to be "called God's friend," i.e., so as to be justified in a second way by works before men which demonstrate that he is the friend of God - evidently to mankind. God already justified Abraham by faith alone, (Jas 2:23; Gen 15:6) and already knew Abraham was His friend long before he presented Isaac as a sacrifice to God. Being called God's friend implies that men acknowledged Abraham's friendship with God, for it is man that does the calling, God already knew years before.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 67-69]:

'Therefore, in responding to the kind of person who tried to divorce faith from works in Christian experience, James takes a skillful approach. We may paraphrase it this way: 'Wait a minute, you foolish man! You make much of justification by faith, but can't you see how Abraham was also justified by works when he offered his son Isaac to God? [v 21]. Isn't it obvious how his faith was cooperating with his works and, in fact, by works his faith was made mature? [v 22]. In this way, too, the full significance of the Scripture about his justification by faith was brought to light, for now he could be called the friend of God' (v 23).

It should be carefully noted that in referring to Abraham's offering of his son Isaac, James has returned to the theme of trials, which is the basic concern of his epistle (see 1:2-18). In Jewish tradition, this story about Abraham represented the supreme trial of the patriarch, over which he had triumphed gloriously...

And now he could be called the friend of God, not only by God Himself, but also by men...

1) [Compare Isa 41:8]:

"But you, O Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend."

2) [Compare 2 Chr 20:7]:

"O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?"

[Hodges, cont.]:

"This is in fact the name by which Abraham has been known down through the centuries in many lands and by at least three religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Had Abraham not obeyed God in the greatest test of his life, he would still have been justified by the faith he exercised in Gen 15:6. But by allowing that faith to be alive in his works, he attained an enviable title among countless millions of people. In this way he was also justified by works (before men; cf. Rom 4:2).

When a person is justified by faith, he or she finds an unqualified acceptance before God. As Paul puts it, such an individual is one to whom God imputes righteousness without works (Rom 4:6). But only God can see this spiritual transaction. When, however, one is justified by works he or she achieves an intimacy with God that is manifest to others. He or she can then be called a 'friend of God,' even as Jesus said, 'You are My friends if you do whatever I command you' (John 15:14).' "

D) ABRAHAM'S WORK OF OFFERING ISAAC IN SACRIFICE DID NOT SUBSTANTIATE THAT ABRAHAM HAD SAVING FAITH, RATHER IT MATURED IT - MADE IT COMPLETE

(v. 1:2) "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1: 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (v. 21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" (v. 22) "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." (cont.) =

When Abraham offered Isaac in sacrifice man could see that his faith and his actions were working together and his faith was made complete. Notice the absence of any language which implies that Abraham substantiated his faith as genuine and effective toward salvation unto eternal life.

[Hart, Ibid]:

'''A third correct perspective in this section is that when good works are added to our faith, our faith in Christ is matured. This is exactly the experience of Abraham. "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect (i.e., matured; Greek: "eteleiOthE" = lit., "was made complete")? (2:22). Abraham's faith was matured when he added works to it. Certainly James is not suggesting that Abraham's work of offering his son Isaac in sacrifice proved his faith was genuine. The sacrifice of Isaac took place as much as thirty-five years after Abraham's justification by faith. Were there not many other earlier events that could validate Abraham's faith just as clearly? The point of v 22 is not the substantiation of faith but the maturation of it.'''

XXXIII) [Jas 2:21-24]:

(v. 21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

(v. 22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

(v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend.

(v. 24) You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

(Compare Jas 2:24 YLT) [You] see, then, that out of works is man declared righteous, and not out of faith only."

A) JAMES TEACHES HIS READERS THAT THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF JUSTIFICATION

(v. 24) You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

(Compare Jas 2:24 YLT) [You] see, then, that out of works is man declared righteous, and not out of faith only;

[(v. 24a) 'You see that a man is justified by [his] works...' = Evidently, a man is justified in a number of ways. One way is taught in James 2:24a: justification of one's faith in Christ to men by works in order to demonstrate ones eternal relationship with God, mature one's faith, be saved from premature physical death, receive temporal blessings and eternal rewards.

(v. 24b) 'and not by faith alone' = and another way one is justified, according to James 2:24b is by faith alone in Christ alone which results in eternal life in heaven. This part of verse 24 teaches the other kind of justification - unto eternal life which is by faith alone, (Jas 1:17-18).

So James says in Jas 2:24 that there are two kinds of justification. One which comes by faith alone which results in salvation unto eternal life and one which comes by works which results in the believers eternal relationship with God being demonstrated to men and God's work being accomplished through the believer providing rewards in heaven when the believer gets there.

B) NOTE THAT JAMES DOES NOT SAY THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF JUSTIFICATION WHICH IS BY WORKS AND FAITH COMBINED.

(v. 24) You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

(Compare Jas 2:24 YLT) [You] see, then, that out of works is man declared righteous, and not out of faith only;

Let's review verse 24 grammatically and etymologically from the Greek to verify this:

Horate toinun hoti ex ergOn dikaioutai ..anthrOpos kai .ouk ek pisteOs monon

.............................................................................................................fem........adv, neuter

You see.then ...that by works .is justified .a man ........and not .by faith .....alone, only

The Greek word 'monon' which is translated 'alone' / 'only' in English is an adverb which must then modify the verb 'is justified' and not the noun 'faith'. 'Faith' is feminine in gender and the adverb 'alone' is neuter. So from the grammar of the original Greek Bible you know that the word 'alone' is not talking about faith!!!... If faith were modified by only it must appear in the original as "mones".

This would be similar to the following statement in English where the word alone likewise modifies the verb:

'You see that automobiles are made with manual transmissions and not with automatic ones alone.'

Or a clearer presentation:

'You see that automobiles are made with manual transmissions and not made only with automatics.'

[Two kinds of automobiles: those with manual and those with automatic transmission]

One cannot state that what this sentence is saying is that each and every automobile receives two transmissions, one automatic and one manual.

And in like manner, one cannot state that verse 24 says: 'You see that a man is justified by works and is not justified only by faith in the sense that both must work together for a man to be justified unto eternal life.

Verse 24 cannot say this because the word translated 'alone' is a neuter adverb which cannot modify the Greek word "pisteOs" = 'faith' which is a feminine noun. The adverb 'not alone' modifies the verb 'is justified' and means not just one kind of justification.

So verse 2:24 says, 'A man isn't to have just one kind of justification which is by faith, (this kind resulting in eternal life); rather, he is also to have another kind of justification which is by works, (this second kind results in temporal blessings, a longer mortal life and rewards in heaven - testifying to mankind that God has provided eternal life for him as a free gift).'

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 70-71]:

'Leaving the imagined objector behind, James returns in vv 24-26 to address his readers directly... His statement here confirms what we observed above (v 21), that there are two kinds of justification, not one kind conditioned on faith plus works. James' words do not mean a man is justified by works, and not.........[justified] by faith only [or alone]. Instead, James' words should be read like this: 'You see then that a man is justified by works, and not only [justified] by faith.' The key to understanding is the Greek adverb 'only' (monon), which does not qualify (i.e., modify) the word faith, since the form would then have been mones. As an adverb, however, it modifies the verb justified implied in the second clause. James is saying that a by-faith justification is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a by-works justification. The former type is before God the latter type is before men. [cf. Ro 4:1-3]'

XXXIV) [Jas 2:21-25]:

(v. 21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

(v. 22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

(v. 23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend.

(v. 24) You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

(Compare Jas 2:24 YLT) [You] see, then, that out of works is man declared righteous, and not out of faith only;

(v. 25) In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?"

A) RAHAB LIKE ABRAHAM WAS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH BEFORE GOD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE AND WAS ALSO JUSTIFIED IN ANOTHER WAY: BEFORE MEN TESTIFYING THAT SHE WAS THE FRIEND OF GOD

(v. 24) "You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (v. 25) In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?"

The words "In the same way" immediately follow verse 22 which pointed out two kinds of justification. The phrase "in the same way" indicates that Rahab was an example the same way Abraham was of both kinds of justification. So Rahab had a born again faith in God's plan of salvation, (through the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). She trusted in the God of the Israelites for her eternal life, (cp. Joshua 2:8-11); was born again in order for James to properly use her life as an example of saving faith producing divine good works. Rahab was also justified in another way other than unto eternal life by faith; she was also justified by works in the eyes of men - works that actually saved her physical life.

1) [Compare Jos 2:1-22]:

(v. 1) "Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. 'Go, look over the land,' he said, 'especially Jericho.' So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

(v. 2) The king of Jericho was told, 'Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.'

(v. 3) So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: 'Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.'

(v. 4) But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, 'Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from.

(v. 5) At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.'

(v. 6) (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.)

(v. 7) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

(v. 8) Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof

(v. 9) and said to them, 'I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.

(v. 10) We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.

(v. 11) When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

[Notice that Rahab acknowledges the LORD in a manner that indicates that she is a believer]

(v. 12) Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign

(v. 13) that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.'

(v. 14) 'Our lives for your lives!' the men assured her. 'If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."

(v. 15) So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.

(v. 16) Now she had said to them, 'Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.'

(v. 17) The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us

(v. 18) unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.

(v. 19) If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

(v. 20) But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.'

(v. 21) 'Agreed,' she replied. 'Let it be as you say.' So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

(v. 22) When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them.

(v. 23) Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them.

(v. 24) They said to Joshua, 'The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.' "

(v. 6:25) "But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho--and she lives among the Israelites to this day."

[So Rahab followed through on her promise and enabled the spies to escape. Her efforts were rewarded, for she and her family escaped death from the invading Israeli army and were resettled amongst the Israelites, (cf. 6:25)]

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', pp. 71-72]:

'James does not say, 'Was not Rahab the harlot justified by faith and works?' James knows of no such justification. Rather, Rahab, like Abraham before her, was justified by works in front of other people - i.e., before the nation of Israel among whom she came to live....

Rahab, however, is superbly suited to tie James' thoughts together. The passage had begun, as we have seen, with a reference to his theme of 'saving the life' (v 14; 1:21). Not surprisingly, Rahab is selected as a striking example of a person whose physical life was 'saved' precisely because she had works. With James' words the statement of the writer of Hebrews can be profitably compared.

In [Heb] 11:31, that author writes of her:

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Notice that the author of Hebrews points to her faith and lays the stress on the fact that she received the spies...

[The result of her actions being the preservation of her physical life.]

James, by contrast, points to the fact that she sent them out another way. This is obvious when the story in Joshua 2 is carefully considered. Up until the last minute, she could have sent their pursuers after them. That the spies had lingering doubts about her loyalty is suggested by their words in Josh 2:20, 'And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath.' But the successful escape of the spies demonstrated that Rahab was truly a friend of God because she was also their friend. In this way, Rahab was justified by works.'

And in the process, she saved her own life and her family's! Her faith, therefore, was very much alive because it was an active, working faith. Though she was a prostitute - and both inspired writers remind us that she was - her living faith triumphed over the natural consequences of her sin. While all the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho perished under the divine judgment which Israel executed, she lived because her faith lived!' "

XXXV) [Jas 2:14-17; 21-26]:

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

(v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.

(v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

(v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

(v. 2:21) "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

(v. 2:22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

(v. 2:23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend.

(v. 2:24) You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

(v. 2:25) In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

(v. 2:26) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

A) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS STILL FAITH WHICH PROVIDED ETERNAL LIFE. NEVERTHELESS, IT IS DEAD WITHOUT WORKS 'IN THE SAME WAY' STIPULATED BEFORE ESP. IN VV. 2:14-16: UNPROFITABLE TO THE RECEPTION OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS BY OTHERS AND ONESELF; OF NO EFFECT IN SAVING ONE FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH; AND USELESS IN PROVIDING ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." =

1) DEATH DEFINED

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, Mass, 1980]:

"1. deprived of life.

2. a. having the appearance of death b. very tired c. (1) incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually (2) grown cold

3 a. inanimate, inert b. barren, infertile c. no longer producing, functioning

4 a. (1) lacking power or effect (2) no longer having interest b. no longer in use c. no longer active d. lacking in gaiety or animation e. lacking in commercial activity (2) no longer having interest..."

Note that the word "dead" neither means non-existent nor insufficient to provide eternal life. None of the available definitions for the word "dead" stipulate or support either. Just as a car battery without a charge is useless in starting an automobile engine and can be described as a dead battery which is still in existence and at one time did start the car engine; so faith without works in the context of verse 2:17 is dead in the manner indicated in chapters one and two as unprofitable to the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; will not save one from premature physical death; and is useless in providing eternal rewards. Nevertheless the faith in view is described as having already provided eternal life as a gift which by definition is ongoing forever and such faith being without works hence is "dead".

a) [Compare Jas 2:17 vs. 2:20]:

(v. 2:17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

(v. 2:20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"

Since faith without action, (deeds), is dead,

and faith without deeds, (action), is useless,

then dead can be defined as useless in the context of James chapters one and two, which is one of the available definitions for the word "dead".

Therefore a dead faith does continue to exist, albeit without works which makes it useless. If it is true, (and it is not), that a dead faith can describe a faith that does not exist, then the entire verse, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead", would deteriorate into nonsense.

Finally, losing the benefit of eternal life cannot be in view because of a dead faith since eternal life has already been established in this passage as a gift by a moment of faith which thereafter is eternally secure once received by definition - not subject to be gained or lost by the efforts of man or lack thereof.

B) WHEN A CHRISTIAN HAS A FAITH THAT IS DEAD, I.E., INACTIVE IT IS LIKE THE BODY WITH A DEPARTED HUMAN SPIRIT - PHYSICALLY DEAD, NO LONGER USEFUL AS IT ONCE WAS, NON-PRODUCTIVE BUT STILL IN EXISTENCE

(v. 2:26) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." =

James closes with the analogy of the human body out of which the human spirit has been removed. Faith here is compared to the physical body, works compared to the human spirit. When the human spirit leaves the body, that body is physically dead, i.e., inert, useless, unproductive. Similarly, when a Christian has a faith that is inactive it is like the human body with a departed human spirit. When works don't accompany faith then that faith is dead, useless, unproductive in the temporal life toward the end of the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; of no effect in enabling one to live out ones appointed years; and useless in providing eternal rewards. Divine good works keep one's faith alive and active just as the human spirit keeps the body alive and active.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', p. 72]:

'James therefore wishes his readers to know that works are in fact the vitalizing 'spirit' which keeps one's faith alive, in the same way that the human spirit keeps the human body alive. Whenever a Christian ceases to act on his faith, that faith atrophies and becomes little more than a creedal corpse. 'Dead orthodoxy' is a danger that has always confronted Christian people, and we do well to take heed to this danger. But the antidote is a simple one: Faith remains vital and alive as long as it is being translated into real works of living obedience.'

[Hodges, 'Gospel Under Siege', p. 21-22]:

'''JAMES 2: WHAT IS A DEAD FAITH?

“Faith without works is dead.” So spoke James in the second chapter of his epistle. His statement has been appealed to many times to support the idea that works are necessary for eternal salvation.

Sometimes the claim is made that unless faith is followed by good works, the believer loses eternal life. At other times, a more subtle approach is taken. If a professing Christian does not manifest good works, he was never a true believer to begin with. Whatever James is saying, however, it can be neither of these ideas.

Dead Faith Is Like A Corpse: It Was Once Alive

The second view, just mentioned, is so forced and artificial that if it were not maintained by obviously sincere men, it might be called dishonest. According to this view, a dead faith cannot save. Therefore, if a man lacks the crucial evidence of good works, it shows that this is all he has ever possessed - a dead faith.

This flies directly into the face of the text. In James 2:26 the writer affirms:

'For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also'

No one who encountered a dead body, whose life-giving spirit had departed, would ever conclude that the body had never been alive. Quite the contrary. The presence of a corpse is the clearest proof of a loss of life. If we allow this illustration to speak for itself, then the presence of a dead faith shows that this faith was once alive.

Nor is there anything at all in the entire passage to support some other conclusion. As elsewhere in the epistle, it is Christian brothers who are addressed (2:14; cf. 1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5; 3:1, 10, 12; etc.). There is absolutely nothing to suggest James believed that if a man’s faith is pronounced dead, it must therefore always have been dead. The assumption that a dead faith has always been dead cannot be extracted from James’s text. It is nothing more than a theological idea read into the passage.1 It is also a desperate expedient intended to salvage some form of harmony between James and the doctrine of Paul.

But by distorting the true meaning of the text, this idea has given rise to immense confusion. This confusion has had a harmful impact on men’s comprehension of the Gospel of God’s saving grace.'''

C) SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO:

THE SUCCESSFUL TESTING OF THE BELIEVER'S FAITH DEVELOPS PERSERVANCE TOWARDS BEING COMPLETE UNTO THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES, UNTO TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, UNTO SAVING ONES LIFE FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH AND UNTO ETERNAL REWARDS - SUCH WORKS JUSTIFYING THE BELIEVER UNTO MEN AS THE FRIEND OF GOD. ON THE OTHER HAND, FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS STILL THE FAITH WHICH PROVIDED THE BELIEVER WITH ETERNAL LIFE; NEVERTHELESS, IT IS DEAD, I.E., UNPROFITABLE TO THE RECEPTION OF TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL BLESSINGS AND REWARDS

The successful testing of the believer's faith develops perservance towards being complete unto the righteous life that God desires, unto temporal blessings, unto saving ones life from premature physical death and unto eternal rewards - such works justifying the believer unto men as the friend of God. On the other hand, faith without works is still the faith which provided the believer with eternal life; nevertheless, it is dead, i.e., unprofitable to the reception of temporal and eternal blessings and rewards.

"...The testing of your faith develops perseverance, (v. 1:3); so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, (v. 1:4); because when [you have] stood the test, [you] will receive the crown of life, (v. 1:12); Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us the second birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [with a view to the assurance of eternal life], (v. 1:18); to bring about the righteous life that God desires, (v. 1:20); Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil [as acceptable], receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls [from premature physical death]; (v. 1:29 NKJV); You see that ... faith and ... actions were working together, and ... faith was made complete by what [one does], (v. 2:22); You see that a person is justified by what he does [before men as being the friend of God] and not [only justified] by faith alone [unto eternal life]."(v. 2:24) =

The successful testing of the believer's faith develops perservance towards being complete unto the righteous life that God desires, unto temporal blessings, unto saving ones life from premature physical death and unto eternal rewards - such works justifying the believer unto men as the friend of God. On the other hand, faith without works is still the faith which provided the believer with eternal life; nevertheless, it is dead, i.e., unprofitable to the reception of temporal and eternal blessings and rewards.