An Exegetical Analysic Of James Religion Essay

The writer of this missive merely identified himself for the original receivers by recognizing them before presenting himself to his readers.

James who ‘s literary “ Jacob, ” is presumed to be the stepbrother of Jesus Christ who became a truster ( John 7:5 ) during the flood tide of Jesus ‘ earthly ministry. Acts 15:13-21, mention him to go the first leader of the church in Jerusalem. “ Apart from Paul and Peter, no figure in the church of the first yearss plays a more significant portion upon the historic and legendary phase than James first Bishop of Jerusalem. “ 1The epistle of James is in many ways preceived as a talk that dealt with the job of tests that all trusters encounter. In the early history of the church, Jews who became Christians experienced much persecution and hostility and from their atheistic fellow Jews, which is clearly stated in the as Book of Acts. Every Christian who took a base for the Lord continues to hold to cover with such tests ; therefore rendering James ‘ divine advice permenantely relevant.In verse 18, James introduced an expostulation to his thesis that religion is inoperative without plants.

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This literary device of expostulation and response was a common 1 that Paul used in Rom. 9:19-20 known as “ fulmination ” ( acrimonious unfavorable judgment ) .3 Acrimonious unfavorable judgment helps us place what follows the statement of the dissenter and James ‘ response to the dissenter.


1See Hiebert, James, p. 1312See Adamson, p.

124.3See R. T.

Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 ; idem. , Once Saved. . .

, pp. 207-17The NIV, by its usage of citation Markss, has the dissenter stating merely the first portion of this poetry, “ You have faith ; I have workss, ” and James reacting in the last portion of the poetry. The NASB has the dissenter stating the whole poetry. Which is right? There were no punctuation Markss in the Grecian text so we have to find on the footing of what makes the most sense. The dissenter seems to be doing a point by manner of statement instead than doing a simple statement. This fact seems clear from the context in which James responds with a rebuttal ( vv. 19-23 ) .

The dissenter claims that good plants are the indispensable mark of salvaging religion. James urges that, “ You can non turn out you have faith unless you have plants, but because I have plants you can see that I have faith. “ 4 This is the statement that many evangelicals have used: the indispensable grounds that a individual has been saved ( justified ) is his good plants ( sanctification ) . If he is non making good plants, he is cursed. Works ever grounds religion, they say.

But if this position is true, why did Jesus learn his adherents that some who are “ in Me ” bear no fruit ( John 15:2, 6 ) ?Reformed sermonizers after the clip of John Calvin popularized such thought that grounds of sanctification must be present before the evildoer can hold full confidence of his justification, which is neither biblical nor did John Calvin keep it.5 The promise of God in Scripture is the footing of our confidence that we are saved ( John 5:24 ) , and non the presence of good plants ( fruit ) in our lives. Jesus taught that some subdivisions of the vine do non bear fruit. Nevertheless they still portion in the life of the vine. It seems clear that every true truster experiences a extremist transmutation in his life when he trusts Jesus Christ as his Savior ( Rom. 6:13 ) .However the Bibles do non state that every true truster ‘s life style will necessarily see external transmutation.

That depends on the truster ‘s response to God ‘s will. Those who choose to indulge the flesh “ Animal Christians ” ( 1 Cor. 3:1-4 ) instead than subjecting to the Spirit ‘s control. Fruit is the outward grounds of interior life. Just as some fruit trees bear small or no fruit ; it is possible for some echt Christians to bear small or no external grounds of their ageless life. The Holy Spirit affects interior transmutation in every truster.

Normally He will bring forth outer transmutation as good unless the truster quenches and grieves Him as He seeks to attest the life of Christ through us to others.


4See Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, p.

122.5See Zane C. Hodges, “ Light on James 2 from Textual Criticism, ” Bibliotheca Sacra 120:480 ( October-December 1963 ) :343-47.James refuted the statement of the dissenter stated in poetry 18.

Genuine religion does non ever ensue in good plants. The devils believe that what God has revealed about Himself is true. The “ Shema ” ( Deut. 6:4 ) was and is the pious Jew ‘s day-to-day confession of his religion. Nevertheless the devils continue practising immorality plants.

They are to the full cognizant of what their behaviour will convey upon them, but instead than turning from their evil ways they merely shudder as they anticipate their inevitable judgement.I am convienced that James selected the devils as an illustration because they are the most utmost and clear illustration of existences whose belief is right but whose behaviour is non. He did non choose them because they are lost, which they are.

Throughout this book James was talking to genuine Christians. Like devils Christians besides can prevail in arising against God ‘s will even though they know they will stand before the judgement place of Christ someday ( 2 Cor. 5:10 ) .Some have concluded that James ‘ ground for utilizing the devils as an illustration was to demo that rational acquiescence to the truth is non plenty. To see regeneration a individual must non merely accept the gospel message as true but besides rely on the Savior to salvage him. Whereas it is true that rational acquiescence to the facts of the Gospel is non equal for regeneration that does non look to be the point James was doing in this illustration. His point seems to be that good plants do non ever result from right belief.

They did in Abraham ‘s instance ( vv.21-22 ) , but non instance of the devils.Further grounds that this is the right decision is that what James said the devils believe is non the gospel message. James was non speaking about what is necessary to go a Christian. “ .

. this poetry which is frequently quoted to demo that some animals can believe but non be saved is irrelevant to the issue of redemption, for it says merely that devils are monotheists. “ 124Some bookmans believe that the dissenter is talking in verse 19 every bit good as in poetry 18.

125 Some of them establish this decision on the fact that the Greek word choris ( translated “ without ” ) is ek ( translated “ by ” ) in some ancient Grecian manuscripts. Most Grecian bookmans believe choris is the proper word and that James is talking in verse 19.6 I agree with them on this point.James thought his dissenter ‘s statement was foolish in verse 20. He still asserted that without good plants a individual ‘s religion in God is useless, non non-existent but useless ( Gr. Argos, ineffective, illuminated.

without work ; californium. Matt. 20:3, 6 ) .A Christian who has stopped populating by faith twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours is similar to a individual who has a non-functioning organ in his organic structure. As the organ is dead, so the religion of such a Christian is dead, useless.

Furthermore, his dead religion will lend to his physical decease, as a dead organ will shorten physical life. James so proceeded to explicate what he intend by “ useless ” in poetries 21- 23. Note how frequently James said that he was composing about the inutility of religion unaccompanied by plants, non the absence of religion unaccompanied by plants.


6See Martin, p. 89.Verse 21 at first seems to belie other poetries that say God declared Abraham righteous when Abraham believed God ‘s promise ( Rom. 4:1-5 ) . The solution to the job lies in the significance of “ justified.

” This word ever means to declare person righteous in the sight of the jurisprudence, non to do person righteous in his or her behavior ( Deut. 25:1 ) . The failure to specify justification biblically is what has led some Reformed translators to reason that everyone who is genuinely justified will necessarily act righteously.

I am convienced from my prospective that the NIV interlingual rendition of “ considered righteous ” is a spot deceptive ( v. 25 ) .Abraham was declared righteous more than one time. Most translators understand the first biblical statement of his justification as depicting his “ new birth ” ( Gen. 15:6 ) , utilizing the New Testament term. This is when God declared Abraham righteous. About 20 old ages subsequently James says Abraham was justified once more. Scripture systematically teaches that trusters whom God declares righteous ne’er lose their righteous standing before God ( Rom.

8:1 ) . They do non necessitate to be saved once more. Abraham ‘s subsequent justification obviously refers to a 2nd declaration of his righteousness.James said this 2nd clip Abraham ‘s plants declared him righteous. They gave testimony.7 Works do non ever grounds religion ( v.

19 ) , but sometimes they do. They do whenever a individual who has become a truster by religion continues to populate by religion. Abraham is a good illustration of a truster whose good plant ( obeisance to God ) bore informant to his righteousness.

His religion was “ perfected ” by his plants in the sense that his plants made his religion stronger. Maturity comes as we persevere in the will of God when we encounter tests. When God spared Isaac ‘s life, Abraham ‘s faith doubtless became much stronger than it had been. “ The religion which justifies. . . can play a critical function in the life of an obedient truster ; as it was with Abraham, such religion can be the dynamic for brilliant Acts of the Apostless of obeisance.

In the procedure, faith itself can be ‘perfected. ‘The Grecian word suggests development and motive. Faith is therefore nourished and strengthened by plants. “ 8 The remarkable “ you ” in this poetry in the Greek text indicates that James was still turn toing his dissenter. Genesis 15:6 was “ fulfilled ” when Abraham offered Isaac in the sense that Abraham ‘s religion became copiously clear on that juncture.

What God had said about Abraham became evidently true when the patriarch trusted and obeyed God when tested. “ In the forfeit of Isaac was shown the full significance of the word ( Gen. 15:6 ) spoken. . . old ages before in citation of Abraham ‘s belief in the promise of a kid.

“ 9 James seems to hold included the fact that God called Abraham His friend for the undermentioned ground. He wanted to demo that continued obedient religion, non merely initial salvaging religion, is what makes a individual God ‘s confidant friend ( John 14:21 ) .


7 See Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17, p. 4418See Hodges, The Gospel. . . , pp.

29-30.9See Mayor, p. 104.

10See Hodges, The Gospel. . . , p. 31Romans 4:6 tell us that “ When a adult male is justified by religion he finds an unqualified credence before God ” aˆ¦ But merely God can see this religious dealing.

However, when a adult male is justified by plants he achieves an familiarity with God that is manifest to work forces. He can so be called ‘the friend of God, ‘ even as Jesus said, ‘You are my friends if you do whatever I command you ‘ ( John 15:14 ) . “ 10Why did James convey Abraham into his statement? Abraham is a clear illustration that it is possible to be declared righteous by God but non to be declared righteous by one ‘s plant. It was as Abraham continued to populate by religion ( continued to swear and obey God ) that, about twenty old ages after his justification by religion in God, his plants declared that he was righteous.

By go oning to swear and obey God, as Abraham did, James ‘ Christian readers could besides formalize their justification by religion in God by their good plants and go true friends of God.The usage of the plural “ you ” in verse 24 in the Greek text shows that James had completed his response to the dissenter. He was now turn toing his readers straight once more ( californium.

vv. 14-17 ) .Plants declare us righteous ( Gr. present inactive declarative mood of dikaioo ) in the sense that our plants attest to looker-ons that we have exercised salvaging religion. They are the external fruit that bears witness to the ageless life within. “ You see. . .

by [ his ] works. ” However, James antecedently said that non every truster will bear seeable fruit ( v. 17 ) .

Such a truster ‘s religion is non productive but “ dead. ” However he has faith. Some disbelievers appear to bear the fruit of salvaging religion, but God will one twenty-four hours expose their “ wheat ” as “ tares ” ( Matt. 13:30 ) .“ . . .

Paul and James are best understood as turn toing rather dissimilar state of affairss. . . Whereas Paul ‘s audience is in danger of trusting on ‘works ‘ for redemption, James ‘ readers are pardoning themselves from good plants, thereby demoing merely a religion that is dead.

. . “ 11One author argued for the position that the exoneration in position here is cosmopolitan and is stated in a salvific context.12 My position is that the exoneration is merely before others and is non in a salvific context. Besides, James could hold ended his statement about the “ revered patriarch ” Abraham, but he chose to add the illustration of Rahab, the “ ransomed cocotte. “ 13 “ Rahab. .

. is wonderfully suited to bind the strands of his ideas together. This transition had begun, as we have seen, with an allusion to his subject of ‘saving the life ‘ ( 2:14 ; 1:21 ) . Not surprisingly, hence, Rahab is selected as a dramatic illustration of a individual whose physical life was ‘saved ‘ exactly because she had plants. “ 14


11Martin, p. 95.12C. Ryan Jenkins, “ Faith and Works in Paul and James, ” Bibliotheca Sacra 159:633 ( January-March 2002 ) :62-78.

13Blue, p. 826.14Hodges, The Gospel.

. . , p.

32.Apparently Rahab trusted in God before the undercover agents of all time arrived at her door ( Josh. 2:9-13 ) . Rather than being originally portion of the Israelite state she was a proselyte to Judaism. Therefore with these two illustrations James showed the necessity of plants for trusters irrespective of one ‘s background and beginnings. Abraham and Rahab were poles apart.

“ The difference is precise: Abraham, a major Biblical figure versus Rahab, a minor participant. Abraham known as the male parent of the faithful while Rahab being a common alien to the commonwealth. Abraham, one who is respected ; Rahab missing reputability ; Abraham a adult male ; Rahab a adult female. So frequently, the contrasts between these two are intended to do us cognizant of the fact that a to the full inclusive history is being made, covering the state of affairs get downing from Abraham to Rahab and back once more. The primary plants of religion are that of both Abraham and Rahab without exclusion.“ What was the work of Abraham? He held nil back from God.

God said, ‘I want your boy ‘ and Abraham ‘rose early in the forenoon ‘ ( Gn. 22:3 ) in prompt obeisance. What was the work of Rahab? She reached out and took into her ain attention those who were destitute and incapacitated, irrespective of the cost to herself. “ 15Faith without plants is every bit dead as a organic structure without a human spirit. It is of no practical value.

This is James ‘ concluding illustration and avowal on the topic. Our religion becomes merely dead orthodoxy when we stop obeying God. Vital faith so becomes dead religion. Both a dead organic structure and dead religion were alive at one clip. “ Does James so contradict Paul ‘s philosophy of full grace, or John ‘s soundness on religion as the lone status for ageless life? Neither does he offer any support to that which was by and large beliefs that a ‘dead religion ‘ can non be in the life of a Christian.Ironically, that is precisely what he is warning against.

Thus the misconstrual of his words has non merely bred unneeded confusion about the footings for ageless life, but it has besides deprived the church of a much needed and good warning. “ The dangers of a deceasing religion are existent. But they do non include snake pit, and nil James writes suggests this. Nevertheless, wickedness remains a deathly Nemesis to Christian experience which can stop our physical lives themselves. To that, the wisdom of the Old Testament adds its informant to the warnings of James. And if a adult male is to be saved from such a effect, he must hold plants. “ 16


15Motyer, pp.

115-16.16Hodges, The Gospel. . . , p. 33.17Kendall, Once Saved.

. . , p. 208. Chitwood, Salvation of. .

. , pp. 45-54.

“ Never one time does James inquiry whether the rich-or poor-have been saved. Neither does he warn them in such a manner that should do them to oppugn whether they have been saved. He ne’er says, for illustration, ‘The problem with you people is that you are non saved. ‘ He does non come frontward with a program of redemption ; he does non warn them of a false confidence ; he does non travel over the footing of salvaging religion.

“ 17 The key to understanding this transition is a right apprehension of what dead religion is. James used “ dead ” ( vv. 17, 26 ) as a equivalent word for “ useless ” ( vv. 14, 16, 20 ) . He was non stating the individual with dead religion has no religion, that he is cursed. He meant that the individual with dead religion has salvaging faith, but he is non living by religion now.

His religion has no critical consequence on the manner he soon lives. He is non swearing and obeying God twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours.“ The religion mentioned in vv.14-16 can be presupposed in every Christian that is why James being practically oriented and non dogmatically oriented: wants to warn the Christians to pattern their religion, i.e. their Christian religion, by plants.

“ 18In drumhead, what James wrote in poetries 14-26 I believe agencies ; Good plants are non necessary to maintain us from traveling to hell. However they are necessary to maintain us from falling under God ‘s disciplinary penalty that may even ensue in premature physical decease. It is possible for a Christian non to utilize his or her religion, to halt “ walk-to by religion ” rendering his or her religion of no pratical usage. Therefore we who are Christians should be careful to go on to maintain trusting and obeying God twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours. It is possible for a Christian to exert “ salvaging religion ” and so to halt “ walk-to by religion.

” That is what James is warning us to avoid. He is covering with sanctification chiefly, non justification, here and throughout this epistle. This is Christian life instruction, non learning on how to go a Christian.

“ James ‘ accent on religion alone shows that he affirms the necessity of religion ; what he is opposing is a religion that denies the duty to obey Christ as Lord. “ 19


18Dibelius, p. 178.

The italics are his.19Robert N. Wilkin, “ Another Position of Faith and Works in James 2, ” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 15:29 ( Autumn 2002 ) :3-21.