JAMES - Christ`s Life within, revealed in Practical Life.
The author of this epistle is James, the brother of the Lord. It was addressed to the twelve tribes of the dispersion - Christian Jews. These Jews to whom James wrote had not ceased to be Jews, although they had embraced Christ. Many had been converted on the day of Pentecost, and had carried home only a partial understanding of the believer`s life. In their enthusiasm at having found the true Messiah, they neglected the graces and virtues that should accompany a believer.
They were in danger of being discouraged in their walk with the Lord by the persecution of their own unbelieving countrymen. James seeks to encourage them.
`My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.` (James 1: 2 & 3)
James, more than any other, deals with the external life. It emphasises the necessity of good works, character and conduct. In Romans we are justified by faith before God; here we are justified by works before men. The only true believer of the word is the doer of the word. For every inward grace will bear outward evidences, eg trial will be endured, the tongue will be restrained, caste discountenanced, and pure faith manifested by a love that `seeks not its own.`
`Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.` (James 3: 13)
This book is like the Proverbs of the New Testament. It is filled with moral precepts. It is full of figures and metaphors and is often quite dramatic in style.
`Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.` (James 5: 1 - 3)
James tells of the fruit of our faith. Not only believe, but live it!
`..be doers of the word, and not hearers, only, deceiving yourselves.....he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.` (James 1: 22 & 25)