Mistakes (chapter 3)

James said that not many of his readers would become teachers.  Teachers are held to higher standards.  However, most people make a lot of mistakes.  The only ones who don’t make mistakes in speaking have control of their tongues.  You can control the whole body of a horse by putting a bridle in its mouth.  This is just like the ships with their rudders.  You are able to control large sailing ships with a small rudder directed by a pilot.  Do you have control over your body?

Abraham and faith (chapter 2)

James said that Abraham was justified with his work of offering up his son Isaac on the altar.  His faith was active with works.  Active faith is completed with works.  Abraham believed in God.  He was considered righteous and thus called a friend of God.  A person is justified by works, and not by faith alone.  The works of Rahab the prostitute was justified by welcoming the Israelite messengers and sending them another way.  The body without the spirit is dead.  So too, faith without works is also dead.  What is your model for justification?

Keeping the law (chapter 2)

James said the royal law was to love your neighbor as yourself.  However, if you prefer the rich, you commit sins.  You are showing partiality.  You have to keep the whole law.  If you fail in one point, you are accountable for all it.  You are not supposed to kill or commit adultery.  If you do one or the other, you are still a transgressor of the law.  If you speak and act, you will be judged by the law of liberty.  If you have not shown mercy, there will be no mercy for you.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.  Do you keep the whole law?

Respect the poor (chapter 2)

James questioned his readers belief in Jesus Christ.  They were showing partiality or favoritism.  They preferred the rich over the poor.  A rich person with fine clothing got preference over a poor man with dirty clothes.  They were greeting the rich one by asking him to have a seat next to them, while telling the poor person to stand over there or sit at their feet.  They have made distinctions among themselves.  They have judged others.  He maintained that God has chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs to the kingdom of God.  They had dishonored the poor.  The rich people are oppressing them.  They are the ones blaspheming the excellent name of Jesus.  Do you prefer rich people over poor people?

Religious (chapter 1)

James said they are not religious if they do not control their tongues.  They are deceiving themselves.  Their heartless religion is worthless.  Religion is pure and undefiled before God, the Father.  They should care for orphans and widows in their distress.  Meanwhile, they have to keep themselves unstained by the world.  Do you consider yourself religious?

Hearing and doing the word (chapter 1)

James said that they should be doers of the word, not merely hearing it.  Hearers who do not act deceive themselves.  They are like the people who admire themselves in a mirror.  When they walk away, they forget what they looked like.  They should look into the perfect law of liberty with active perseverance.  They should not be hearers who forget.  Instead, they should be blessed active doers.  Are you a hearer or a doer?