James 1** This epistle of James is one of the most instructive writingsin the New Testament. Being chiefly directed against particularerrors at that time brought in among the Jewish Christians, itdoes not contain the same full doctrinal statements as the otherepistles, but it presents an admirable summary of the practicalduties of all believers. The leading truths of Christianity areset forth throughout; and on attentive consideration, it will befound entirely to agree with St. Paul's statements concerninggrace and justification, while it abounds with earnestexhortations to the patience of hope and obedience of faith andlove, interspersed with warnings, reproofs, and encouragements,according to the characters addressed. The truths laid down arevery serious, and necessary to be maintained; and the rules forpractice ought to be observed in all times. In Christ there areno dead and sapless branches, faith is not an idle grace;wherever it is, it brings forth fruit in works. * How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave inprosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon allevil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God.(12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and ofreceiving the word of God with meekness. (19-21) And of livingaccording thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretencesand real religion. (26,27)1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: suchexercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way ofduty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let ustake care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, isset to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience havethe saying and doing of it. When the work of patience iscomplete, it will furnish all that is necessary for ourChristian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for theremoval of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it.And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both inregulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here issomething in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, whenwe go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If,after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but Ifear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, itshall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard toits spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in itspurposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continuefervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. Whenour faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, therewill be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may notalways expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannotplease God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicingin God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted tobe rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the richmay rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble andlowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing.Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, whichmakes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exerciseswhich teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not fromperishing enjoyments. 12-18 It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but hewho with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties inthe way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it benot our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one.The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of Godreigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shallhave its trials in this world fully recompensed in that worldabove, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and thedealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show thedispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in theheart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author ofthe dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay theblame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon theircondition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep fromsinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions,as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not ourcorruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our ownhearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that followmust be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the deathof men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and miseryare owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature andinfluences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between,make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and ourchanges and shadows are not from any changes or alterations inhim. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, andglory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, soparticularly our being born again, and all its holy, happyconsequences come from him. A true Christian becomes asdifferent a person from what he was before the renewinginfluences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. Weshould devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may bea kind of first-fruits of his creatures. 19-21 Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open ourears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them. And if menwould govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. Theworst thing we can bring to any dispute, is anger. Here is anexhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment,all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought andaffection, as well as of speech and practice; to every thingcorrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the word of God,with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of ourfaults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is thedesign of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; andthose who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it,dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls. 22-25 If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angelfrom heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearingonly, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers areself-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceitat last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; thetruth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truthbe carefully attended to, and it will set before us thecorruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives;and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spotsthe law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows.But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospelglass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washingthem off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. Thisis the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought.In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction,and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those whokeep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed inall their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would beconnected with his present peace and comfort. Every part ofDivine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christfor salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk atliberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holycommands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for hisdeeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is nottalking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ willbecome more precious to the believer's soul, which by his gracewill become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints inlight. 26,27 When men take more pains to seem religious than really tobe so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridlingthe tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or tolessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. Theman who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble,gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurityand uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thingas in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go withunfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to themeasure in which these things have place in our hearts andconduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in ChristJesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart,subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.
Copyright information for MHCC
Welcome to STEP Bible
From Tyndale House, Cambridge UK
Use the search box to find Bibles, commentaries, passages, search terms, etc. Here are some examples:
This shows how to quickly lookup a passage.
Looking up a passage in three different translations is also easy.
This asks STEP to search for the Greek word for 'brother' and show the results in the ESV.
© Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK - 2018