The Epistle was probably the first written after Jesus’ ascension and before Paul revealed the mystery. Many themes correspond with the Sermon on the Mount. First sent to the Christian Jews who dispersed from Israel into Asia Minor, this letter contains many practical concepts of truth which are applicable to all believers.
Three vital principles we will focus on are: 1) trials can strengthen our relationship with God; 2) personal accountability; and 3) we must do the word, not just hear it.
1:1-2 Trials are something that test a person’s endurance or forbearance. This is translated in the KJV and in the NASB in verse 13 as temptation or tempted. Two major types are tribulation (John 16:33; Romans 8:35) and lust (James 1:14-15).
Every time we resist trials by seeking God’s help, we strengthen our relationship with Him, thereby causing joy.
3-4 “Perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” are 3 ways of saying the same thing.
5 James 3:13-17 - Two different kinds of wisdom
6 Godly faith is always founded upon God’s words, written or revelation.
8 Double-mindedness is switching back and forth between human wisdom and God’s wisdom, just like the waves of the sea.
9-11 The poor tend toward humility, and the rich toward pride. Even the rich will face the humiliation of death (Psalm 49). God works with the humble but resists the proud. James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5
12 Those who persevere under trial will receive the crown of life (zoe). Romans 8:35-39
15 One of the great keys to Christian living is personal accountability. People, nor circumstances, nor situations determine our inner life. We do by how we respond. The great deception we all face is believing that outside things determine our inside realities. Consider Jesus on the cross, Paul in Acts 16, and Philippians 1.
17 Father of lights - Psalm 36:9; No variation or shifting shadow. Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Lamentations 3:22-23
18-21 Anger does not bring God’s righteousness; the implanted word does.
22-27 Be doers, not hearers only. If your knowledge of God does not result in love for God and love for others, something is not right.
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