Warning against Partiality
2:1My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.2:2For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing; 2:3and ye have regard to him that weareth the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool; 2:4Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 2:5Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him? 2:6But ye have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and themselves drag you before the judgment-seats? 2:7Do not they blaspheme the honorable name by which ye are called?
2:8Howbeit if ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 2:9but if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 2:10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all. 2:11For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou dost not commit adultery, but killest, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 2:12So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. 2:13For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.
Faith without Works Is Dead
2:14What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him?2:15If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, 2:16and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? 2:17Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead1 in itself.
2:18Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith. 2:19Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. 2:20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 2:21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect;2 2:23and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. 2:24Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith. 2:25And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 2:26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.
- faith, if it have not works, is dead. The question of the relation between faith and works has never been settled. Some theologians contend that a man can be saved by faith alone, while others are sure that it takes works to complete the salvation. But there is diversity of opinion as to the character of the works. [TruthUnity note: Metaphysical Christianity provides an elegant answer to this fundamental controversy in Christian thought. For Paul, Luther and most of Protestantism, works is a work of the law, like circumcision. For James, works is a work of charity, like feeding the poor. For Charles Fillmore, works is an expression in the outer of the inner work of faith. The law of mind action is active here: Faith, if it is founded on true spiritual understanding, always expresses itself in works.]
- by works was faith made perfect. There are two kinds of faith; one is founded on intellectual perception of spiritual things and the other on true spiritual Understanding. The first is not naturally followed by works, while the second, by virtue of the law under which it exists, completes itself in works. Paul describes this true faith in Heb. 11, and in all the examples given, works resulted. There was no question whatever of the absence of works. Whoever has this spiritual faith must manifest it in some way. This faith is Substance and brings forth fruit, as naturally as a rich soil produces a crop. But let no man say what the character of works from spiritual faith shall be. Those who perceive from the intellect claim that the evidence of faith is in such outer works as clothing and feeding the bodies of men, while the spiritually wise see a much greater need in clothing their naked souls.
Fillmore Bible Society members who contributed to these annotations include Mark Hicks.
Following Entry: James 3