Tag Archives: James 2

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 258/260: James, the Brother of Jesus

Read James 2:14-26

Faith Only?

“Faith only” is a reckless doctrine promoted by too many so-called Christian churches. This doctrine is patently false, as seen in James 2:14-26. James declares, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). This is the only time in the entire Bible that the words “faith” and “only” appear together, and James plainly states that justification cannot be found in a person by “faith only.”

James builds up to this point first by presenting a hypothetical situation in which a person is made aware of someone else’s need. If you do nothing for that person but wish them well, can you truly say you have faith? If you have the means to help but only offer “thoughts and prayers,” have you offered anything of substance? Certainly, prayer is important (James 5:16)! But physical needs still must be met!

James next points to the example of Abraham, who was “justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar” (James 2:21). Could the patriarch have been justified if he had not been willing to obey God? “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:22).

Let us be very careful that we do not try to teach something that the Bible clearly states is false doctrine. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

If your faith is defined by nothing more than attendance to a Sunday morning worship service, is it true faith? Assembling with the church is important, make no mistake about that, but there is so much more to Christianity than sitting in a pew for an hour or two in a 168-hour week! “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Are you working for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)? Are you doing good things for other people (Galatians 6:10)? Are you shining your light and pointing others to the Christ who can save them (Matthew 5:16)?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 207/260: Read James 2

How do you react when someone wrongs you? Do you get angry and tell everyone you see how evil that person is? Seek revenge? Stew in bitterness? Are these Biblical ways to react?

James urges his readers, “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Our aim on this earth should be to act like Jesus, to shine the light of Christianity so that others may seek God and glorify Him. If you are wronged, go to the person who has committed the offense and talk to them. Seek resolution and reconciliation. Rather than lambasting them for their thoughtlessness or evil deeds, try to bring them back to the right path so that they may join you on your journey to eternal life.

Remember, Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Let us be like Andrew, who told his brother Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 2:41), and Philip, who told Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph…Come and see” (John 2:45-46). Don’t push people away when they have wronged you, but seek to bring them to Christ.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

James 1:22. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Pray

Pray for those who are in need of Jesus’ cleansing blood, and seek opportunities to bring them to the Lord.

The Joy of Mercy

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivered several beatitudes, or “blessed” sayings. The Lord taught His disciples how they could be truly happy by identifying character traits of the joyous. Among those exhortations, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). The wise man in Proverbs 14:21: “He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy to the poor, happy is he.” Extending mercy to those around us will result in joy.

It has been said that grace is getting what you do not deserve, while mercy is not getting what you do deserve. How many people can say they deserve salvation? The prophet Isaiah said, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The apostle Paul reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As one of my Bible teachers often said, “You can’t get ‘all’-er than ‘all.’” In other words, there is no one excluded from the word “all.”

Without God’s mercy, we are without hope. But God provides mercy to those who extend mercy. Conversely, those who are unmerciful toward their brother will face harsher judgment from the Almighty. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

When Peter asked how many times he should forgive his brother in Matthew 18, suggesting that seven times should surely be sufficient, Jesus answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” He then told a parable about an unmerciful man who, despite the great mercy shown to him, was unforgiving of his brother. His master “delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.” Jesus concluded, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

The bottom line is this: if you crave God’s mercy, be merciful to your fellow man!