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FRAMEWORKS: The Letter of James

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Frameworks: James 2


v.1-13 Favouritism Forbidden

v.14-26 Faith and Deeds


[Chapter 2 Synopsis: In the new (scattered) people of God there are practical outworkings of the Faith to be realised. First, we are all equal before God so don't show favouritism. Second, we are a community of faith but faith is meaningless unless it is accompanied by deeds.]



v.1-13 Favouritism Forbidden


[Passage Synopsis: Among the new (scattered) people of God there is equality between all, so don't let there ever be favouritism shown because that is sin.]


v.1 (a call for equality) My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism.

v.2 (example: two contrasting men) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.

v.3,4 (beware you don't discriminate between them) If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here's a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

v.5 (God loves the poor just as much) Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

v.6 (if your show favouritism you dishonour them; observe the rich...) But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

v.7 (...so often they are the ones rejecting God) Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

v.8 (remember: love your neighbour [whoever they are]) If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” [Lev. 19:18] you are doing right.

v.9 (favouritism is sin) But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

v.10 (break one bit of the law you're just a lawbreaker generally) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

v.11 (you don't choose one law over another) For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” [Exo 20:13; Deut. 5:17] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

v.12,13 (consider the Law assessing you, rely on mercy or be judged) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.



v.14-26 Faith and Deeds


[Passage Synopsis: Don't talk about faith if you don't have the deeds. Faith is revealed through deeds.]


v.14 (don't say you have faith if you don't ‘do') What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

v.15 (imagine a needy brother or sister) Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

v.16 (if you just talk the talk but do nothing, what is that?) If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

v.17 (so faith needs deeds to prove it is real) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

v.18 (one OR the other doesn't work) But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

v.19 (don't excuse yourself by saying you believe in God) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

v.20 (look, think about this..) You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

v.21 (wasn't Abraham considered righteous by his deeds)   Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

v.22 (it was his faith in action) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

v.23 (it was believing that counted) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” [Gen. 15:6] and he was called God's friend.

v.24 (but doing proves the faith) You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

v.25 (didn't Rahab exhibit faith with her deeds) In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

v.26 (you need both) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.



Continue to Chapter 3