James 2:21-26 is the second half of the “problem” passage where it appears that the Apostles James and Paul disagree about how we are justified. The key to resolving the apparent contradiction is context. James and Paul are addressing two different questions.
James and Paul appear to contradict each other because they use the same vocabulary: faith, works and justification. Plus they both appeal to Abraham. But they use the same language in very different contexts to address different problems and answer different questions.
Judging by external appearance is at the heart of James 2:1-13. But James is not concerned with whether we are nice to people or not. James is raising a more profound question: how are you looking at the world?
God has identified the real problem in our lives and the only solution. But we easily deceive ourselves. The real issue is how are you going to respond to this message? Are you willing to hear God out?
The poor believer will be exalted. The rich unbeliever will be humiliated. It may seem the other way around right now, but if you understand the gospel, it should change your perspective.
When did we learn that all hardship is harmful, that every unknown is dangerous, and that even the tiniest failure must be avoided? It is a logical conclusion if we alone are responsible for everything, but James would say otherwise.
If we accept the fact that God is our Father, our Provider and our Redeemer, does it make sense that He would hide His will from us? Yet many Christians talk about the “will of God” as if finding it is a version of the con man’s three-shell game.
James 1:1-8 is one of the most important passages of the book. It sets the tone, the theme and the foundation for the rest of the letter. If we get this passage wrong, it is like grabbing the salt instead of the sugar. It will change the entire flavor and understanding of the letter.
Our author introduces himself simply as another sinner saved by grace. Who was James? How did he come to faith? And how do we know which James wrote this letter?
Fantasy, distortion and falsehood are the currency of our new technology. It is easy today to be someone you’re not. By contrast, the Epistle of James raises the question: are you living what you claim to believe?
Obedience is not agreeing with truth and intending to do it. It’s doing what God asks us to do as soon as possible. Why, then, do I fail to act?
Wednesday in the word 2011-2012 Schedule: James & Galatians