PAGE BY PAGE THROUGH THE BOOK OF JAMES: CHAPTER 2
James says do not show partiality (verse 1). Partiality equals self-interest and worldly values looking to our own strength over faith in God. Faith equals trust in God thus covers over self-interest. James teaches us to be impartial to everyone understanding that we are the vessels of God’s grace. We should show others the kindness we would want which means we “love our neighbor” (verse 8). James also says that when we don’t do the good we know we should do, we sin.
James says faith works. This means having belief in Christ produces an action (living faith) that rebukes sinful behavior that arises from our hearts; hence our faith is tested (see chapter 1). As James states, God does not tempt us, but rather He leads the way for us to follow out of temptation. We learn to grow up into His character having the aim of completeness. Therefore, even in long-suffering, we should keep in mind what God is up to counting it “all joy” because God counts such faith as righteousness. What God counts as righteousness we indeed can count as joy.
James says to speak and act as those under the law of liberty (people in touch with God’s mercy through Christ). Does not the law derive from the nature of God Himself? It does! So, the law of liberty is the reality over those who embrace God’s grace. God wants His whole law manifest in human beings and so we must connect to the source of grace (Christ) to live out under liberty. The Son is Lord over the law and so able to by mercy offer liberty. He is Lord and fulfills the requirements and can out of a new birth in us in light of this law of liberty.
I think there is much packed into the phase “the law of liberty” for those who manifest faith that works (those in Christ). We are to live in accordance to the message received (Gospel) under the lordship of King Jesus, which is what it means to be under grace.
Jesus taught us so much: Compassion, Turning the Other Cheek, Speaking Truth in Love, Forgiveness, Loving our Neighbors, Being Committed to Holiness, Humble Hearts, Kind Speech, Living Rightly, Praying Often, Complete Trust in God the Father, Guarding our Hearts, Faithfulness in Marriage, Being Salt and Light, and so much more!
These types of actions must accompany the pronouncement of faith. James would say, in verse 19, that if we say we believe in Jesus, but don’t do anything about it then our faith is as good as a demon’s faith. Let that sink in a little. A demon knows God exists, but has chosen to go Satan’s way or even its own self-interested way. This may sound weird, but I want to have more character than a demon. I want to have better faith than an angel that has turned its back on God. I want to treat God better than an evil spirit. I want to have faith that leads me to salvation and that leads me to be more like Christ.