James 2Have not; hold not.The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; his gospel considered as addressed to our faith. Compare Ac 6:7.With respect of persons; let not the outward condition of persons regulate your judgment of their character, or your treatment of them. The Lord Jesus Christ is the fountain of honor as well as blessedness; and those are the most honorable and happy who most resemble him, and are most faithful in his service. Judges of evil thoughts; under the influence of evil thoughts. It is wrong to judge of persons by outward appearances merely; and the manifestation of such a spirit does evil both to those who are guilty of it, and to others. Chosen the poor; to be his disciples more often than the rich. Do not rich men oppress you; unbelieving rich men: as much as to say, Why show such partiality to the rich? Are not they your chief persecutors? That worthy name; the name of Christ. The royal law; the law of love, called royal by way of preeminence. Compare Mt 22:37-40. Real and ardent love is the best guide to a proper treatment of our fellow-men. Convinced of the law; shown by it to be transgressors. He is guilty; he as really violates the law, if he allows himself in one transgression, as if he committed many; and if he continues in it, he will as certainly be condemned. The law of liberty; see note to chap Jas 1:25. Obedience, if sincere, will be universal; and real love to God, or living faith in him, will lead men to have respect to all his commandments. Ps 119:6. He--that hath showed no mercy; to others in distress, will have no mercy shown to him.Mercy rejoiceth; exults in the consciousness of its security against judgment; the judgment, namely, of the last day; for then the merciful man will not be condemned. Mt 5:7. Can faith save him? that kind of faith which is inactive, dead, and never does good? No. Be ye warmed; to give words only, when deeds are due and in our power, is to offend God and wound our needy brother. Is dead; it is not the kind of faith which justifies the soul: that is, a living, operative faith, which works by love, purifies the heart, overcomes the world, and produces good works. Thou doest well; in believing that there is one God, thou believest the truth; but it will do you no good, any more than it does devils who believe the same, unless it lead you to obey him. Faith without works; is not the kind which Abraham had, and by which he was justified. His faith led him to obey God, even His most difficult and trying commands. Ge 22:9,12. Justifying faith produces good works; and if a man does not love to obey God and do good, he may conclude that he is not in a justified state. Made perfect; shown to be complete, of the right kind, by producing its appropriate fruit. The scripture was fulfilled; by the works which Abraham did. His works showed that he believed God in reality, as the Scriptures declared, with a living, and not merely a dead faith. Not by faith only; not by that faith which is alone, and never produces good works; but by good works a man is shown to have living faith, and to be in a justified state. By works; they proved that she had faith. Between the teaching of James in this chapter and that of Paul there is perfect agreement. When the question is, What is the ground of justification before God? Paul answers, Faith, and not the works of the law. But when the inquiry is as here, What kind of faith is acceptable to God? both answer, Not a dead faith, but "faith which worketh by love;" in other words, operates to produce good fruits through love, which is "the fulfilling of the law." Ga 5:6; Ro 13:10. There is no contradiction between the meaning of the apostles James and Paul, with regard to justification. The case of Abraham exemplifies the doctrine of both. Paul treats of faith as justifying us before God: James treats of the fruit, or effects of faith.
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