Main point summary
Christians should response to trials rejoicing in the maturity they bring [v2-4], by means of asking God for wisdom , [v5-8] and by viewing trials as a leveling experiences for all people that we may not boast ! [v9-11] For when we stand firm until the end, we will be given [crown of life] eternal life. But , we must not blame God , for we allow our own own desire seduce us to sin then we have only ourselves to blame. Rather acknowledge God [who is our light] as the source of everything good. [v12-18] Know this, we must be receptive toward the word by put off all ungodliness, on the other hand we are to receive God's implanted word which will save our souls. Therefore if you think you are religious prove it! Because true religion is only measured by God's righteous standard. [v19-27]
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion:
e Count it all joy, my brothers, 1 when you meet trials f of various kinds, for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness.
[Therefore] And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
j [Because] If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God, l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
[By means of] But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
[Alternatively] and r the rich in his humiliation, because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and t withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
u [For] Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive v the crown of life, w which God has promised to those who love him.
[But] Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
[For] But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire x when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and y sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
z [Rather] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from a the Father of lights b with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1
c [Because] Of his own will he d brought us forth by the word of truth, e that we should be a kind of f firstfruits of his creatures.
g Know this , my beloved brothers: let every person h be quick to hear, i slow to speak, j slow to anger;
[Because] for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with l meekness the implanted word, m which is able to save your souls.
But [also] be n doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
[For ] if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
[On the other hand] But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, p he will be blessed in his doing.
[Therefore ] If anyone thinks he is religious q and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s r religion is worthless.
[Because] Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction, and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
Paul and James, Grace and Works = God our source, who we desire to give glory through the lives we live! The ageless debate between Paul and James will forever be a topic of debate among Christians. Some believe that grace should supersede works, some believe that works play absolutely no role, while others believe it is a combination of the two. Before we end our study in James 1 lets take a moment to see how Paul's letter to the Romans affirms James plead to live in light of the gospel of grace. In order words, James is the litmus test to Paul's Romans! Both men affirm who God is and what he expects, our human condition, what Christ has done, and that we are obligated to respond. This topic could easily a book, or book(s); however my goal is not to give you every detail, but to begin develop an understanding of the "marriage" between "grace" and works", namely James and Paul. James 1:2-4 James begins his epistle by declaring to his readers that they should have joy in the mist of the challenges of trials, because they are what God is using to mature us and mold us into the image of Christ. This "joy" he is referring to is not the emotion of joy but a deep-seeded hope of future glory in the life to come. Romans 8:18, 24-25 , Romans 5:3-5 Paul picks up this same theme encouraging believers in light of their present afflictions to hope in Christ to find their hope in the future glory promised to those who remain steadfast. James 1:5-8 Next James charges us to seek wisdom from God which He promises to give us freely without requiring us to prove that we deserve it. The reason for this charge is to point us back to our source "the word of truth" as He will build on later in this chapter. This reminder is exactly what Paul declares to his readers in Romans 3:10-18. No one is righteous outside of Christ, no one naturally desires to seek after Him. Wisdom is required in order for us to expect to be steadfast to the end. James 1:9-11 In this section James is reminding us that no matter our status or circumstance we all on same level with one another. There is no distinction on our experiences that bring us any closer to being acceptable to God. Our boasting can never be in what we have on this earth or how "good" we are but on who the source of the life is giver. For Paul shares in Romans 3:23 and Roman 2:10-11 that we are all under the same judgment and on the same "playing field". James 1:12-15 Now since we know that we have nothing to boast about, James goes on to remind us that God is not the author of temptation and furthermore He will never be the author of sin! In Romans 1:18-23 Paul gives yet another example of our fall condition placing the full weight of blame on man kind. It is our sinful nature that keeps us in bondage and that is why as James had mentioned earlier we need to rely on God as the source of help and reason to hope. James 1:16-18 Knowing that God does not tempt nor is He the author of sin, we come now come to a place where James affirms who God is [His righteous character] and briefly describes his ultimate plan of consummation of His kingdom that is to come. Paul in so many ways in his letter to the Romans declares God's righteous character by affirming what He has done and what he is yet still to do. We read in Romans 8:12-17 That we are no longer debtors to the law if we are Christ. For what the law could not do Christ as done! He declares in verse Romans 8:17 as James does in James 1:18 that we are the "fruit" or "heirs" of what He has done and those that are his will glorify Him now and when things are brought final consummation. Jame 1:19-21 James now comes to the final "home stretch" of this first chapter by telling his readers we now have some responsibility to what we know! We know who we were, we know who we are, we know we need God's guidance, and we know that we are fully responsible, so now what? Romans 6:1-4 Paul gives us insight that we now are no longer slaves to sin but are now our lives have been transformed into the likeness of Christ. It is now His perfect life that dwells inside us in order that we may live. We can now put away all that is filthy and wicket in confidence that we have the power in Christ, but also that ultimate what Christ has done will propel us to new life that "saves our soul". James 1:22-25 One of the major themes that James discusses through-out his epistle is the importance of being "genuine" in our faith. We can't expect to be any different if we don't practice walking in newness of life. Romans 2:13 Paul reminds us of the exact same concept. If we want to be considered our lives as righteous before God [faith as genuine]we must see our new life as more than "walking a isle" "signing a prayer card", or the most common argument "I believe in Jesus!". We must have fruit. I am reminded of the apostles John warns in his first letter where he states 1 John 1:6-9, 2:19 . These could be scary words if both Paul and James didn't remind us that is God's work in us that allows us to live the life he expects. Not perfectly of course, but in reliance of who we now know are. James 1:26-27 In closing James makes one last plead to remind us of "our source" and what standard is expected. Paul in Romans 15:1-7 bring his letter to a close similarly, reminding his readers that our great High Priest and how His living example [now imputed to us] gives us the standard of how we are to live. James similarly shares that our lives should be marked by unselfish desire to serve others and live in the hope of the life we gain through Christ which will keep us from the evil desires of this world. Romans 15:13