Faith in action begins with faith in submission. Only when we are bowed before the Lord Jesus Christ will we ever live a Christ-like life. In just one verse James sets the tone for the entire letter: faith in action begins with submission to the ultimate Servant, who paid the ultimate price, so that we might know the ultimate grace of God and live for His glory.
Trials are never pleasant, but they are always used by God to strengthen, beautify, and prepare us for life in His eternal kingdom. He grants us grace under pressure through faith in the One who bore the ultimate pressure for us on the cross, Jesus Christ.
Temptation and deception are intimately linked. Sin catches us off guard, gradually ensnares us, and then tries to convince us that God is the problem rather than the solution. But God reveals the truth about temptation through His word and provides a way of escape through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God gives us spiritual birth through His Word, sustains us through His Word, and fosters our growth through His Word. Yet there are many pitfalls that threaten to hinder the impact of God’s Word on our lives. James provides a series of warnings so that we might look intently into God’s perfect law, which reveals God’s perfect Savior, in whom alone true life and freedom are found.
In every area of life it is easy to think we are doing better than we really are, and our Christian walk is no exception! James gives us three tests of true religion to help us see where we really stand before the Lord and to point us back to the grace of Jesus Christ when we realize how short we fall.
No one likes being treated unfairly. This universal truth doesn't originate in mere self-interest; it is woven into our DNA as beings made in the image of a God who shows no favoritism. Left to ourselves we would deny others both justice and mercy, but through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we may display both through the One who bore infinite justice to extend us infinite mercy.
Many Christians understand the danger of trusting in works apart from faith, but fewer understand the danger of trusting in faith apart from works! James helps us see that true saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ always shows itself through works. It never merely ascents mentally, or professes verbally, but acts obediently through the grace of the One who set us free.
James says the tongue is the most dangerous part of the body. Though small, it has the power to destroy our lives and the lives of everyone around us. Worst of all, it is untamable by man. Is there any hope for redeeming the tongue? Yes, through the One who always spoke what was pleasing to the Father and who can enable us to do so by his grace!
Not every believer possesses every spiritual gift or strength, but every believer has access to the wisdom of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, God enables us to reject the world’s counterfeit wisdom and receive true wisdom from heaven that produces a life of righteousness and peace.
The Lord Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9). James, too, affirms the importance of peacemaking within the church. But peacemaking is often replaced by two common counterfeits: “peace-faking” and “peace-breaking.” Only the Lord Jesus can enable us to pursue genuine peacemaking for his glory and our good.