The Irony of Arguing Over James 2

James 2 is about faith without works being dead. Many an argument has stemmed from this chapter! We get so caught up on it that we tend to miss James’ larger point. All the words spilled on this topic are somewhat ironic based on the point James is actually making!

James 2 is about talking. A man says he has faith but he doesn’t have works. A man sees a cold, hungry poor person and says “be warm and filled.” Saying a cold, hungry guy is warm and filled is about as useless as saying you have faith if you don’t do anything with it.

James is talking about talkers. James is addressing Jews, people who have been raised in Jewish tradition. They were convinced they were saved because they were one of “God’s people.”

James is speaking a message to be taught to people brought up in a Christian home. People who say they have faith because they are with or related to the “right people.” James wants them to slow down and examine reality.

James 1 ends with James saying “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

James’ point going into chapter 2 is about “religious” people not controlling their mouths. James 2 gives a couple examples of problematic religious talk–professing faith with nothing happening and telling poor people to stop being so poor. Both are worthless, thus the profession of religion is worthless.

James 3 is all about keeping your mouth shut. James’ conclusion coming out of chapter 2–you’re all words and no action–is not “so try to do your words better.” Nope! James knows you won’t do that.

James’ point about not doing your words is: SO STOP SAYING WORDS!

Keep your mouth shut and do what God says. Stop talking about it and go do it. As the saying goes, “It’s easier said than done.” Tis true, which is why Christians prefer to talk. This aint right.

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