James 2

Faith and Works
.1 ¶ My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
.2  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;
.3  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:
 4  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
 5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
 6  But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
 7  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
  1 - Respect of persons See ps01504. "The religion of Christ uplifts the receiver to a higher plane of thought and action, while at the same time it presents the whole human race as alike the objects of the love of God, being purchased by the sacrifice of his Son. At the feet of Jesus, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of cast or worldly pre-eminence. All earthly distinctions are forgotten as we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. The self-denial, the condescension, the infinite compassion of him who was highly exalted in heaven, put to shame human pride, self-esteem, and social caste. Pure and undefiled religion manifests its heaven-born principles in bringing into oneness all who are sanctified through the truth." (GW92, 313:1).
  6 - Rich men oppress Oppression may come by governments or societies that favor the rich at the expense of the poor. pr2216, 1ti0617.
 8 ¶ If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
 9  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
.10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
.11  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.
.12  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
 13  For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
   8 - Royal law James sees this as the ten commandments ex20 and the law that summarizes them le1918, ro1309. He quotes quotes two of the commandments in verse 11.
   11 - Guilty of all Many people believe that they keep them all but tend to forget the only one that begins with "remember." Arguments claim they were fulfilled (thus ended) in Christ or that they are only for Jews or that they have been changed by Christ when He arose from the tomb. None of the texts say anything about a change, however. See a special links page for more.
.14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
 15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
 16  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?
.17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
.18  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.
19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
 20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
  14 - Say ... faith and have not works What we do is evidence of our faith. We are not saved by good works ep0208 but if we find ourselves showing bad behavior it's a sign that we really don't have the faith we thought we had. See r14f (discussing Rev. 14:6).
.21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
.22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
.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.
 24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
.25  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
.26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
  21 - Abraham ... justified by works Is James arguing with Paul ro0402? We might say so until we read the next verses. Truth is unchangeable but it may be expressed differently. So was Abraham justified by works? Only if we consider that, without the works, his faith would not have been genuine. And lest faith and works begin to argue about which gets the credit, let's remember that we are really justified by Christ. Faith is the channel by which we receive grace ep0208. The Jews of Paul's time had added many requirements to God's laws. They had depended on works without faith. This gave the leaders better control and was an attempt to get God on their side against the Romans.
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