James was one of the great heroes of the New Testament., James writes this letter to the Hebrew Christians. This Epistle is written to the twelve tribes scattered abroad. He is sometimes refereed as “James The Just.” James was the Half brother of our Lord Jesus and the brother of Jude. Mark 6:3 James was an unbeliever until after the resurrection of our Lord John 7:3-10 Christ appeared to him in His glorified body I Chor 15:7. James was among the 120 in the upper room and had won his brothers Act 1:14; James became the pastor of Jerusalem Gal 1:19; When Paul talks of his conversion he goes up to Jerusalem and and confers with James. James presided over the first Jerusalem conference and declares the results in Acts 15.
James message was ” Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22.
James and Paul seem to contradict but not really. James says by works man is justified 2:24; Paul says, By Grace- not of works Eph 2:8,9; Paul speaks of Justification before God. James describes justification before man. Paul stresses the root of the Justification. James stresses the fruit of the Justification. The proof of true faith in Christ as product of faith.
Chapter 1 : The testing of Faith : James writes to the ” twelve tribes, who are scattered abroad ” V: 1 (through out Roman Empire). James knew they were undergoing trials and temptations and they were to go through testing and count it as joy.. The faith is put on trial and they are to be patient. (and in Romans 5:3-5.) When trials come Christians can be transformed by Praying and asking for wisdom .Accept being poor and rejoice in it for Christs sake, because of the material loss and trials there is a reward” Crown of Life” for enduring these things in Life. The origin of temptation is never from God if it pertains to evil. V:13. Temptations comes from us allowing lust and worldly desires to come into our lives and from straying. Gods gifts are good because of ” His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creation” v:17-18; For this reason we should be swift to hear and slow to speak.slow to anger. The anger of man is contrary to the will of God. The implanted word is a preventative against the sins of the flesh V:20-21; so in V:22- we are the doers of the word and not hearers only. This is the safest guard we can build around us because the word is like a mirror and reveals the normal man, It gives us liberty and a blessedness, simply by doing what God says. V:23-25 ; The Test of True faith is in V:26-27; Here James rebukes mere doing – by the doer. who leaves his inner life unchanged. James offers three aspects of pure religion: controlled speech, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and altruistic services; and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Chapter 2 : Faith and works : James takes up the attitude we should have toward people. we are not to discriminate between the rich and the poor in the assembly , we are to treat every one equal and to love everyone. and it is even the royal law and practice, and teachings of our Lord. Matthew 22: 39 ; Now faith is tested by works V:14-26; James gives the example of Abraham was justified by works , when he offered Issac his son. Which was 20 years before the seal of the covenant.,circumcision, so the man who was justified by works had already been justified by faith for twenty years.. so from this verse 2:23 and Gen 15:6 ; we see that Faith Justifies the man and Works Justifies the Faith.
Chapter 3 : control of the tongue : The tongue should be controlled by faith, tongue is a dynamic instrument that can control almost anything. and James gives seven illustrations of this Verses 3-10 ; 1. Horses Bit – can make horses go any direction. 2. A rudder or Help of a ship – a small rudder can control a large ship. 3: A fire – What a great fire a match can kindle. 4: an untamed Beast – man can tame most beasts but not his tongue. 5. Poison – is what a untamed beast puts out. 6: Fountain -tongue should not give both sweet and bitter water. 7: Fig Tree – cannot give olives and should not. So the Tongue is the instrument we Praise God and it should not be used to Curse God as some people do also in (Proverbs 15:1-2) The solution is found in James 3:13.17.18. his works with meekness of wisdom, Glory not and lie not against the truth, wisdom from above is first pure,then peaceable,gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits,without partiality, and without hypocrisy and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Chapter 4 : Submission to God : The key verse is V: 7; Submit yourselves therefore, to God. When we submit to God and draw right from him as in V: 8 there we are able to combat the Flesh, the World,the Devil; We are then able to enjoy , Gods Grace,nearness,goodness and guidance. The whole chapter is a practical chapter.
Chapter 5 : Patient and Expectant Faith : James again talks about the Rich. also in (Mathew 6:19-20) There is nothing wrong with making money, It is the Abuse and Misuse of it that is the subject here. The power that goes along with money is criticized. James now turns his attention to the Great subject of Coming of The Lord In V:7 ” Be patient.therefore,brethren unto the coming of the Lord.” James is not talking to the corrupt rich but to his “brethren” Just the prospect of His Coming should give us patience and a loving spirit toward each other, as in the past , the prophets- give us hope and patience. A Christians word should be enough. James talks about the sick and the afflicted and using the prayer and anointing with oil by elders as is the medicine. he gives example of the parable of the good Samaritans – who went and poured oil and wine on his wounds, Jesus said” Go and do likewise” That is why we should pray for the sick and use the means at our disposal- the medicines , doctors and then ” the prayer of faith will save the sick – and his sins forgiven. It is always Gods will whether He is going to heal. Sometimes God allows us to be sick for the Glory of God. 11 Timothy 4:20; II Corinthians 12: 7-10;John 9: 1-3; John 11:4; We are to confess our sins one to another and to God;. James refers to the prayer of Elijah and how effective it was when he wanted the rain to stop he prayed and there was no rain for three years and again he prayed for rain and it rained.. James talks about the person who errs or gone astray.. and the one who converts whim saves him from the physical death.. sometimes God shortens ones life. I John 5:16-17.