THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of The Epistle of James Chapter One before proceeding.
CHAPTER TWO: Main Topics -- 1) PARTIALITY 2) FAITH (believing) WITHOUT WORKS
1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
Literal: 1. Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons or partiality. This leads to bias and the tendency to favor unfairly. This can be said in another way: Have not the firm persuasion and conviction in what we hear from God in His Word with respect of persons.
2, 3, 4. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Literal: 2, 3, 4. If one comes into your congregation with a gold ring and a shining bright and radiant robe or garment, and another man, a poor man, comes in in dirty and foul dress, and you favor and are partial to the man that wears the bright and radiant clothing and you say to him "Sit down in a good place" and then say to the poor man "Stand over there or sit under my footstool or underfoot." Are you then not partial and making a distinction within yourselves and are become judges, making decisions of evil, harmful and malicious thoughts?
5, 6, 7. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he had promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgments seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
Literal: 5, 6, 7. Listen up, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen the poor of this world, who have nothing, but are rich in believing the Word of God, to be heirs of the kingdom which He had promised to them that love Him? But you do not honor the poor. Do not rich men overpower and subdue you? They oppress you and draw you away to the judgement seats where sentence is pronounced. Don't they slander, with evil and profane words, that excellent and noble name by which you are called or chosen?
8, 9. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Literal: 8, 9. If you bring about, complete and accomplish the royal law (the Word), according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, or any other member of the human family, as thyself, you do well (proper, suitable, excellent). BUT if you are partial to, and favor people, you practice and commit sin whether entertained in thought or consummated in the act. So you are proved to be wrong and are overcome by the truth of the Word of God of which you are a transgressor -- one who oversteps and breaks the laws of God.
*** In conclusion, up to this point, if you choose to display partiality, you transgress God's Word and you sin. Sin culminates in death. Never have respect of persons or prejudice as a result of appearance, money, race, religion or sex. God loves and treats everyone EQUALLY. You do the same. Just don't be partial towards anyone. Make this one of your strong points.
10, 11. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
Literal: 10, 11. But whosoever shall watch over and attempt to take care of the whole law or Word of God, and yet he trips, stumbles and falls down in one area or point, he is held in or contained -- he is guilty of all as a whole. For he that says, Do not commit adultery, yet he kills, that man becomes a transgressor -- one who oversteps and breaks the Law of God.
12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Literal: 12. So speak and do the Word as one that shall be judged favorably by the law of freedom -- free will choice -- BY THE WORD OF GOD. Look forward to this final judgement by insuring its outcome -- be a DOER of the Word and SPEAK IT forth.
13. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgement.
Literal: 13. For at the time of judgement or sentencing, you shall be judged without any favor, mercy, or grace if you yourself have not showed or demonstrated any forgiveness, kindness, courtesy, compassion or mercy in your life towards your neighbor -- another member of the human family. Love your neighbor as yourself. And subjective compassion, mercy, warrants the highest achievement against the time or pronouncing of sentence. "Mercy boasts over judgement." -- The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament
14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Literal: 14. What does it profit or where is the advantage if a man says he has believing in what he hears from God in His Word, and does not take action to bring that which he believes for into being or concretion? He says he has faith but he has no works. He will not work toward the goal -- it is mental ascent. YOU MUST WORK TO ACCOMPLISH A GOAL. Believing plus work equals accomplishment of goals. There is no shortcut here. God will teach you that work can always be enjoyable and a blessing. Sometimes you need to push yourself a little to get started.
Case in point: Can simply believing something such as Romans 10: 9, 10 save a person when no action whatsoever is taken? If he says he believes this but does not actually confess Jesus Christ as Lord in his life and believe that God hath raised him from the dead, this man is not saved by believing alone because he did not ACT on his believing. One who mentally ascents to the Word but takes no ACTION/WORKS to carry out and accomplish his goals or prayers reminds one of the person who is a HEARER of the Word and not a DOER of the Word. This person deceives himself and others by drawing false conclusions. Believing connotes or implies action. Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only. Because faith (being a hearer of the Word) without works (being a doer of the Word) is spiritually dead.
15, 16. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Literal: 15, 16. If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and deprived of daily food or nourishment, and one of you say unto them, depart and go away in peace and be warm and filled. However, in spite of these facts and what you said, you do not give them those things which their body needs -- food and clothing. So where is the profit and how did you assist them?! You believed for them and wished them well but you took no action to see that their need for food and clothing were met. You went through the motions verbally but you did not act. You had faith without works. You are, in this situation, a HEARER of the Word and NOT A DOER.
17, 18. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Literal: 17, 18. Continuing with this faith/works subject, having confidence in what we hear from God in His Word without acting on it is dead, useless and lifeless, being alone. Remember that believing connotes or implies action. They WORK TOGETHER with effectiveness. But separate, they have no meaning, no profit, no power. Yes, a man might say, you have faith or believing in the Word and I have works by my actions. Show me your believing on the Word of God without any action or works and I will show you my believing and obedience to God's Word by what I accomplish -- by my works!! God's Word must be adhered to FIRST, THEN ACTION (works) MUST FOLLOW, then the results come into concretion or being -- they come into manifestation. The opposite is never true and can't be true. Man's works does not produce obedience to God's Word. A knowledge of the Word comes first acquired by STUDY. Then and only then, can a believer take action on what he has learned. This is God's setup and arrangement and it is truth.
19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Literal: 19. You believe that there is one true God, you do well. The devils also believe and shudder (tremble -- to shudder so that the skin becomes rough and pimpled and the hair stands on end.)
20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Literal: 20. But will you not understand, you empty person, that believing God's Word without taking positive action on it, is dead, useless and lifeless?!
This is the second of three times this is stated in chapter two. Can you understand how important this point is for God to repeat it 3 times in 10 verses? Don't you wonder why you are studying these particular subjects in the Word? Because you need to understand these subjects to walk by the spirit and not to stumble along. You need to sharpen your spiritual skills concerning 1) WISDOM BY REVELATION 2) Resisting and understanding consequences concerning TEMPTATION 3) ACTING on the Word in a positive manner -- being a DOER and not just a HEARER. FAITH + WORKS = RESULTS. Intermeshed with these three points is the principle of NO PARTIALITY -- NO RESPECT OF PERSONS. This must be applied in every aspect of your life if you are going to manifest the more than abundant life.
You must replace missing bricks in your spiritual foundation and seal up the cracks. The spiritual foundation you are repairing must be like the rock it's built upon -- Jesus Christ. Don't stop moving! The renewed mind is a continuous process. Keep studying and learning the Word and God will take care of everything else. Remember to study and pray every day. Then get busy, get moving. That's the more than abundant life.
21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Literal: 21. Wasn't Abraham our father legally set free (justified) from his guilt and represented as righteous by his deed when he had offered Isaac his son, upon the alter?
22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Literal: 22. So you see how believing God's Word worked together or in conjunction with his action or works and by works (acting on the Word) was believing perfected. His obedience to the Word accomplished the end for which it was intended -- completion.
******* That's the only way you will achieve your goals! You must ACT on what you know from the Word of God for each specific situation in every part of your life. Remember this! You will then watch God make your life perfect, complete and full bringing your dreams to pass. Take action on what you know from the Word -- APPLY THE WORD -- God must fulfill His Word. Your spiritual walk should be exciting. Don't be distracted as to the overall simplicity here. Stay focused.
Isaiah 26: 3 -- Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
I John 5: 21 -- Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
You are to seek no help, guidance or instruction from any other source than your Heavenly Father - from GOD ALMIGHTY. God is His Word.
Continuing now with James 2: 23 . . . . . . .
23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Literal: 23. And the scripture in Genesis 15: 6 was fulfilled or accomplished which says: "Abraham believed God and it was attributed (put to his account) to him for righteousness and Abraham was called the friend of God".
Remember the definition of ‘righteousness’. Righteousness is the character and acts of man commanded by and approved of God, in virtue of which the man corresponds with God and His will and His Ideal and His Standard; it signifies the sum total of all that God commands and approves. It is not only what God demands but what He gives to man which is made one's own by believing the Word. It is doing or being what is just or right according to the Word of God.
24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Literal: 24. You see then that by works, acting on the Word of God, a man is justified, and not by faith alone.
When a man acts on the Word, he brings into fruition, into manifestation, his Sonship rights -- one being 'justification'. Look again at the definition of righteousness. What God gives to man IS MADE ONE'S OWN BY BELIEVING -- TAKING ACTION on the Word. So God gives us the Sonship right of justification which frees a man from his guilt by a judicial act allowing him to be righteous. But if the man takes no action, no works, on what God has given to man, justification and righteousness never manifest in a believer's life. He, by faith alone, receives these rights objectively but not subjectively -- as a hearer but not a doer. BUT ACTING on the Word with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation ENERGIZES GOD'S WORD in a believer's life. What is the love of God? That we keep His commandments. That we study, practice and do the Word of God.
I John 5: 3 -- For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Literal: 25. In like manner also Rahab the innkeeper was not justified (set forth as righteous) by believing alone when she had received and hid the messengers which Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho. (See Joshua 6: 17 - 25) She acted on her believing -- her obedience to the Word -- and God spared Rahab and all that are in her house. Her faith worked together and in conjunction with her works -- her actions.
26. For as the body without the spirit (breath) is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Literal: 26. For as the body and soul man without the spirit (breath) is dead and useless, so believing (mental ascent) the Word of God without taking ACTION on it is dead, lifeless and useless also.