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1 My brethren, haue not the faith of our Lord Iesus Christ the Lord of glorie, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come vnto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poore man, in vile raiment:

3 And yee haue respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say vnto him, Sit thou here in a good place: and say to the poore, Stand thou there, or sit here vnder my footstoole:

4 Are yee not then partiall in your selues, and are become iudges of euill thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloued brethren, Hath not God chosen the poore of this world, rich in faith, and heires of the kingdome, which hee hath promised to them that loue him?

6 But yee haue despised the poore. Doe not rich men oppresse you, and draw you before the Iudgement seats?

7 Doe not they blaspheme that worthy Name, by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royall Law, according to the Scripture, Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe, ye doe well.

9 But if ye haue respect to persons, ye commit sinne, and are conuinced of the Law, as transgressours.

10 For whosoeuer shall keepe the whole Law, & yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Doe not commit adultery; sayd also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressour of the Law.

12 So speake ye, and so doe, as they that shall bee iudged by the Law of libertie.

13 For he shall haue iudgement without mercie, that hath shewed no mercy, & mercie reioyceth against iudgement.

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say hee hath faith, and haue not workes? can faith saue him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of dayly foode,

16 And one of you say vnto them, Depart in peace, be you warmed & filled: notwithstanding ye giue them not those things which are needfull to the body: what doth it profit?

17 Euen so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I haue workes: shew mee thy faith without thy workes, and I will shew thee my faith by my workes.

19 Thou beleeuest that there is one God, thou doest well: the deuils also beleeue, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou knowe, O vaine man, that faith without workes is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father iustified by works, when hee had offered Isaac his sonne vpon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the Scripture was fullfiled which saith, Abraham beleeued God, and it was imputed vnto him for righteousnes: and he was called the friend of God.

24 Ye see then, how that by workes a man is iustified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also, was not Rahab the harlot iustified by works, when she had receiued the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without workes is dead also.

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Commentary for James 2

All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. (1-13) The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils. (14-26)1-13 Those who profess faith in Christ as the Lord of glory, must not respect persons on account of mere outward circumstances and appearances, in a manner not agreeing with their profession of being disciples of the lowly Jesus. St. James does not here encourage rudeness or disorder: civil respect must be paid; but never such as to influence the proceedings of Christians in disposing of the offices of the church of Christ, or in passing the censures of the church, or in any matter of religion. Questioning ourselves is of great use in every part of the holy life. Let us be more frequent in this, and in every thing take occasion to discourse with our souls. As places of worship cannot be built or maintained without expense, it may be proper that those who contribute thereto should be accommodated accordingly; but were all persons more spiritually-minded, the poor would be treated with more attention that usually is the case in worshipping congregations. A lowly state is most favourable for inward peace and for growth in holiness. God would give to all believers riches and honours of this world, if these would do them good, seeing that he has chosen them to be rich in faith, and made them heirs of his kingdom, which he promised to bestow on all who love him. Consider how often riches lead to vice and mischief, and what great reproaches are thrown upon God and religion, by men of wealth, power, and worldly greatness; and it will make this sin appear very sinful and foolish. The Scripture gives as a law, to love our neighbour as ourselves. This law is a royal law, it comes from the King of kings; and if Christians act unjustly, they are convicted by the law as transgressors. To think that our good deeds will atone for our bad deeds, plainly puts us upon looking for another atonement. According to the covenant of works, one breach of any one command brings a man under condemnation, from which no obedience, past, present, or future, can deliver him. This shows us the happiness of those that are in Christ. We may serve him without slavish fear. God's restraints are not a bondage, but our own corruptions are so. The doom passed upon impenitent sinners at last, will be judgment without mercy. But God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at his tribunal; and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct.

14-26 Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ's righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith. A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes. Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart. That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, ver. #24|, how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer. Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab's conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit. Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God's friend, or God's enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for James 2

  • Foxy presnell
    Christ alone take us home. by the blood of cross . HE died us who belive in him. god rose from the dead. to heaven
  • I AM THAT MICHAEL ISAAC DALE:
    What, O vain MAN? YOU child of the devil, YOU enemy of all righteousness, perverting the right ways of the LORD JESUS CHRIST! Do I not hear and see all these things? Does not MY HOLY Father give me all things in heaven AND earth? Ye imagine to separate and sue the Christ child, even the Son whom GOD raised again from the dead? YOU want repayment? WOE TO THEM THAT SIN, AND KEEP NOT MY COMMANDMENTS.
  • Lia
    Only good overcomes evil. Evil as a response only makes more evil. We cannot be focused on the splinter in our neighbors eye because our focus should be on the Lord....mercy always overcomes judgement
  • Steve
    Faith: to stand firm in what has been preached to us by the Fathers, the Prophets, the Saints, what God has spoken to them, that God has given/written the law in a book, and that it is required of us, who profess to have understanding of the word, to absorb the truth that is written and profess that alone, their is no private interpretation that will suffice. We must rely on the Book andunderstand
  • Rev Richard Boyd
    Look easy believing is not faith it is an easy way for people to try to get God to conform to mans way of thinking instead of conforming to the way of a all powerful God, all knowing, and perfect in all judgement with love, if you have no works with your faith you are useless to the up building of the kingdom of God we need God but God does not need us he desires fellowship with us forever.
  • Obbie Beal
    Faith/Work or Work/Faith (as it relate to salvation) is two-words spelled different but has the same meaning in the Heart /dictionary of Jehovah/GOD; so, we achieving what GOD desires, the way HE want us too achieve it, causes the definition of these two words to be in-sep-able (1-example; For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also).

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