James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
(a) Jakobus, also known as James the Just, was the brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55, Mark 6:3, Gal. 1:19) and the leader of the church in Jerusalem. As a younger man, James did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah (John 7:5). However, after the risen Lord appeared to him (1 Cor. 15:7), James became a new man. Later he became the prominent leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 21:18, Gal. 2:9). According to Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in AD62 (Antiquities, 20.9.1).
(b) A bond-servant of God. James’ humility is astonishing. Although he was an apostle (Gal. 1:19), he introduces himself as a servant (see inskrywing for Rom. 1:1). Although he grew up in the same household as Jesus, he says nothing about his pedigree. His performance and reputation do not matter. What matters is Jesus our Lord and Christ.
(c) Lord Jesus Christ; sien inskrywing for Jas. 2:1.
(d) To the twelve tribes of Israel. James’ epistle was address to a Jewish audience. But did he write to Jews in general, or Jews who had converted to Christianity? The answer is both. James wrote to his “beloved brethren” who have faith in Jesus Christ (Jas. 1:16, 2:1), and he also wrote to those foolish fellows (Jas. 2:20) and sinners (Jas. 4:8) who lack saving faith (Jas. 2:14).
Like the epistle to the Hebrews and the first epistle of John, James’ epistle was written for two audiences (believers and unbelievers). So, one letter, two messages. Those who trust in Christ are encouraged to rejoice and persevere in trials (Jas. 1:2–3) knowing that they will receive a crown of life (Jas. 1:12), while those who trust in their own righteousness are told that their faith is dead and useless (Jas. 2:17).
James pulls no punches. Those unbelievers who have heard the word (or gospel) but not done it (heeded it) remain adulteresses and enemies of God (Jas. 4:4). They need to humble themselves (Jas. 4:10), submit to God (Jas. 4:7), and receive the word that can save their souls (Jas. 1:21). Christian, you are not a fool, sinner, or enemy of God. Strong words meant for the lost are not meant for you.
(e) Dispersed abroad. In New Testament times, there were Jews living all over the world, and many of them visited Jerusalem during the major festivals. On the Day of Pentecost, there were Jews “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). In Judea, visiting Jews encountered Jewish Christians and heard about the Messiah who had risen from the dead. Some became believers who carried the good news back to their home synagogues. These new believers needed training, so James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, wrote a letter to be read out in the assemblies or synagogues (Jas. 2:2). It was a general letter that addressed issues relevant to those who were in the faith and those who remained under the law.
(f) Greetings. This customary salutation (Acts 15:23, 23:26) can be contrasted with the “grace and peace” greetings of the church epistles (see inskrywing for Rom. 1:7). Paul, Peter and Jude greeted fellow believers with warm affirmations of grace and peace. In contrast, James and John, who wrote for mixed audiences that included unbelievers, did not.
Beskou dit louter vreugde, my broeders, wanneer julle verskillende beproewings teëkom,
(a) Beskou dit alles vreugde. It is not a joyful thing to suffer through trials; the joy comes in discovering new things about the goodness of God in our trials.
From time to time, we all experience trials that test our faith. An immature believer sees only the trial, but someone who is learning to lean on the Lord has confidence that the Lord will bring good things out of their hurts and hardships (Rom. 8:28). A mature believer is someone who views trials as opportunities to grow in grace. They rejoice knowing that what the enemy intends for evil, God will use for good.
(b) Broeders; sien inskrywing for Jas. 1:16.
(c) Verskeie proewe, tests or ordeals. A trial is a crisis such as the one Abraham experienced when God told him to offer up his son (Jas. 2:21). Did God really say that? It’s Rahab taking in the spies of Israel (Jas. 2:25). What if I’m caught? It’s Job losing everything (Jas. 5:11). Where is God? The circumstances may differ, but ultimately any trial is crisis of faith if it causes us to ask, can I trust God?
met die wete dat die beproewing van jou geloof volharding bewerk.
(a) Die toetsing van jou geloof. When you go through trials, the qualities of your God-given faith are revealed.
The trials of life are not to see whether we are made of the right stuff or whether we can manufacture iron-clad faith, for we can’t manufacture faith at all. Faith that endures is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8).
(b) Testing. Die oorspronklike woord (dokimion) means proving in the way an assayer tests and approves gold.
God’s gifts are flawless and perfect (Jas. 1:17), but you won’t know how good God’s gifts are until their qualities have been revealed in the fire of your trials. It is only in the furnace of your afflictions that you discover your God-given faith is more precious than gold (1 Pet. 1:7).
(c) Produseer uithouvermoë. Your God-given faith gives you the strength to endure the unendurable.
Leading a church in the world’s most religious city must have been difficult for James. We don’t know how much this righteous man went through, but we know he endured and kept the faith right up until the day he was murdered. James did not endure because he was a great man, but because he had learned to rely on God’s great grace (see inskrywing for Jas. 4:6).
In the same way, Paul and his companions were tested far beyond their ability to endure. Their trials were so severe that they thought they were going to die (2 Cor. 1:8). Yet they endured the unendurable because they had a revelation of the God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).
You may feel like your trial will be the end of you, but God wants to use your trial to give you a greater revelation of himself and his great love. When you see him towering above your trial and holding you securely in his hand you find the strength to endure.
Verdere leeswerk: "Die toetsing van jou geloof”
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(a) Endurance is getting up every day and fixing your gaze on God, no matter what comes your way. It’s saying with Paul, “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Cor. 1:10).
Because the love of God endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7) the key to enduring is knowing how much God loves us. We don’t endure to become Christians; we endure because we are dearly-loved children of God and we know that nothing can separate us from our Father’s love.
(b) Its perfect result. When you have learned to trust God in your trials, you will be fully mature.
Our Redeemer uses the trials of life to reveal himself to us in new and exciting ways. He gives us beauty for ashes and joy for mourning (Is. 61:3), but it doesn’t happen without our participation. In three verses James gives us a template for finding the good in life’s trials. It starts with having the right attitude (consider it all joy; verse 2), and the right mindset (knowing that the testing of your faith leads to good things; verse 3). But ultimately we must find our rest in the love of the Father. It is a revelation of how much God loves us that enables us to endure all things.
(c) Perfect and complete. The original word for perfect means complete, so this could be read as “completely complete and lacking in nothing.” When you patiently go through life’s trials trusting in the Lord, you are fully developed and mature.
(d) Lacking nothing. You are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). In him, you lack nothing, but you won’t know you lack nothing until you’ve been tested by the trials of life. It is only when you have gone past your breaking point and exhausted all your resources that you find your heavenly Father, strong, smiling and ready to help (see 2 Cor. 12:10).
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
(a) Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions and sound judgments. Wisdom is knowing how to walk in the favor and will of God.
Wisdom is only as good as the knowledge on which it is based which is why we can distinguish between earthly and heavenly wisdom (Jas. 3:15–17). Wisdom that comes from above is informed by the supernatural insight and revelation of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
When we go through trials, it is easy to get disoriented and lose our way. The temptation is to take matters into our own hands and do what seems right in our own eyes, but in that way lie death and disaster (Pro. 14:12). A better option is to ask the Father for the wisdom that comes from above. His wisdom releases the righteousness and favor of heaven into our lives (1 Cor. 1:30).
(b) Ask God. Asking is how we receive (Matt. 7:7).
Manmade religion says, “You do not have because you are not good enough.” To this wisdom replies, “You do not have because you do not ask” (Jas. 4:2). Religion says you need to get cleaned up before you approach the Lord. But grace replies, do not hesitate to come to the throne of grace in your hour of need (Heb. 4:16).
(c) God, who gives. The devil wants you to think that God is a taker, but Jesus revealed a Father who loves to give us good things (John 3:16). Every good gift comes from him (Jas. 1:17). The only thing he’ll take from you is your sin, guilt and shame.
(d) Generously. The One who gave us his Son will freely give you an abundance of what you need (Rom. 8:32).
Religion portrays God as mean and stingy, but our Father’s generosity has no limits. He who provides you with everything you need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), has abundantly supplied you with an entrance into his kingdom (2 Pet 1:11).
(e) Without reproach. God will never judge you or condemn you. He will never withdraw his presence or withhold his favor from you. How can he when he has already blessed us with every blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3)? The issue is not will God give? but will you receive?
Sometimes you may feel like you have failed so badly that you dare not approach the Lord. “I messed up. I need to make this right.” Resist that temptation! Your priority is not to act but to ask. Before you do anything, ask the Lord for wisdom. Lean into the Holy Spirit and allow him to guide you back onto the life-giving path.
(f) Will be given. There are no ifs, buts, and maybes when it comes to the super-abounding grace of God. Your Father does not expect you to jump through hoops or make sacrifices to earn his favor. He gives because it is in his nature to give.
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
(a) Ask in faith. The only condition for receiving is believing (Matt. 21:22, Mark 11:24). Faith does not mean saying the right words or confessing your sins. To have faith is to be confident of your Father’s goodness towards you (1 John 5:14). See also the inskrywing for Faith.
(b) Without any doubting. Doubt is a faith-killer. We feed our faith and starve our doubts by reminding ourselves of God’s precious promises.
(c) The surf of the sea. The one who doubts has the mind of a storm-tossed sea.
For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
(a) That man. The one who doubts (see previous verse).
(b) Receive. It’s not that God withholds his grace from doubters, for our Father is a generous giver who freely gives to all. But when we doubt his goodness, we have trouble receiving what he provides. An example may help. The gospel declares that every blessing is ours in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Everything you need for life and godliness comes to you by grace through your knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:3). But if you doubt this good news, perhaps because you think you need to pray more, do more, or confess more, before God will bless you, then you will have trouble receiving the grace that has already been provided. The remedy is to abandon your dead works, renew your doubting mind and ask in faith.
being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
(a) Double-minded. To be in two minds is to be uncertain, and when you are uncertain you cannot walk in faith. (Faith is being certain and sure (see Heb. 11:1). Faith is being persuaded and convinced (see Rom. 4:21).) Those who are religious tend to be double-minded when it comes to grace (see inskrywing for Jas. 4:8).
(b) Unstable. Die oorspronklike woord (akatastatos) is sometimes translated as restless (e.g., Jas. 3:8). Those who have not learned to abide in the love of God are restless and unstable. They are tossed and turned by every wind of teaching (Eph. 4:14). One day they’re thanking God for his grace; the next they’re back under law. Because they have not entered the rest of the Lord, they drift through life bearing little fruit.
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.
(a) The brother of humble circumstances. The person with nothing – no money, no reputation, no status.
(b) Glory. Die oorspronklike woord (kauchaomai) means to boast. We boast in the Lord who elevates the lowly and gives grace to the humble.
(c) His high position. God has chosen the poor nobodies to shame the rich somebodies (1 Cor. 1:27–28, Jas. 2:5).
In the eyes of the world, the rich are winners and the poor are losers. But in the kingdom of grace, the losers have the advantage. “Blessed are you who are poor and woe to you who are rich” said Jesus (Luke 6:20, 24). It’s not that God has anything against the rich, but the rich are too invested in the fleeting pleasures of this world to give much thought for the better life Christ offers. “It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:23).
(d) The rich. Those who are winners in the eyes of the world. See inskrywing for Jas. 5:1.
(e) Glory in his humiliation. Bankruptcy, scandal and even sickness can lead to good outcomes if they bring you to an end of yourself and cause you to cry out to God. The worst things that happen to us can become glorious turning points if they lead us to rely on the Lord.
(f) Pass away. Life is short (Jas. 4:14). Live with eternity in mind.
For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
(a) The sun brings heat and hardship (Jon. 4:8). Money and power offer no real security against life’s trials. Just as the sun withers the grass, the hardships of life undo us all.
(b) Withers the grass. Life is short (Is. 40:6–7). As John Calvin said, man is here today and gone tomorrow.
(c) The rich; sien inskrywing for Jas. 5:1.
(d) In the midst of his pursuits. While the wealthy are preoccupied with other things, death will come (Luke 12:20–21).
(e) Will fade away. Will get old and die and be forgotten.
Geseënd is 'n man wat in beproewing volhard; want as hy eers goedgekeur is, sal hy die kroon van die lewe ontvang wat die Here beloof het aan die wat Hom liefhet.
(a) Geseënd is 'n man wat onder beproewing volhard. The trials of life teach us to rely on God (Jas. 1:3), and the more we rely on God the more we experience his peace, joy, and all his blessings.
Christian endurance has nothing to do with being stoic in the face of hardship. Christian faith is active; it considers (verse 3), it rests (verse 4), it asks (verse 5). Faith leans on the Lord, receives his grace and prospers. See also the inskrywing for Jas. 5:11.
(b) Approved. Die oorspronklike woord (dokimos) is the adjectival version of the noun testing (dokimion) from verse 3. It means proving in the way an assayer tests and approves gold. Just as life’s trials prove that your faith is good-as-gold (Jas. 1:3), they also prove that you are as good-as-gold and safe in the Lord’s mighty hands (John 10:28–29, 1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 1:21). Nothing life throws at you can separate you from your Father’s great love (Rom. 8:38–39).
(c) The crown of life is the eternal life you have in union with King Jesus. In contrast with the fading wreath of worldly wealth, those who love the Lord are crowned with everlasting life.
Those with a religious mindset read this passage as though it presented some sort of salvation test. “If I stumble I won’t receive a crown of life.” “I have to do good works to receive a crown of life.” In other words, you have to perform and prevail to earn God’s favor. But in the new covenant we stand on Christ’s performance. We are tested and approved in Christ. You may be the worst performing believer in the kingdom, but in Christ you are infinitely more qualified than the most religious do-gooder who ever lived.
(d) Aan die wat Hom liefhet. The crown of eternal life is given to those who love the Lord, regardless of what trials we face and how well we face them.
Verdere leeswerk: "Is die Christelike wedloop 'n marathon?”
Laat niemand as hy in versoeking kom, sê: “Ek word deur God versoek” nie; want God kan nie deur die kwaad versoek word nie, en self versoek Hy niemand nie.
(a) Tempted. Die oorspronklike woord (peirazo) means tested (e.g., Rev. 2:10).
(b) “I am being tempted by God.” Don’t blame God for your troubles.
The enemy would love for you to think that God took your job, your health, or your loved one to test you and develop character. But God is a Giver, not a thief (see inskrywing for Jas. 1:5).
(c) He himself does not tempt anyone. If something evil comes your way, you can be sure it is not from the Lord. Those who tempt or test you are doing the work of the Tempter (i.e., the devil, see inskrywing for Matt. 4:3).
Verdere leeswerk: "Is God the author of evil?”
Maar elkeen word versoek as hy deur sy eie begeerlikheid meegevoer en verlok word.
(a) Elkeen word versoek. We are all tempted from time to time. Even Jesus was tempted in all things yet remained without sin (Heb. 4:15). It is not a sin to be tempted, but temptation can lead to sin.
(b) Carried away. Die oorspronklike woord (exelko) can mean dragged away. Our desires can lure us into trouble until we are dragged away like a hooked fish.
(c) Verlok deur sy eie wellus. Your desires cannot tempt me and my desires cannot tempt you. When we fall into sin, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. The battleground is within our own minds and bodies (see inskrywing for Rom. 7:24).
Wanneer begeerlikheid dan swanger geword het, bring dit sonde voort; en wanneer sonde volbring is, bring dit die dood voort.
(a) Gives birth to sin. Sin doesn’t spring out of thin air but is conceived and birthed in the heart. The best way to avoid birthing sin is not to get pregnant in the first place. When your flesh remembers old desires that you once had, remind yourself that you are a new creation with new desires. Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (Rom. 6:11). Remind yourself that you are done with that inferior way of life (Gal. 5:24).
(b) Dit bring die dood voort. Sin comes with a price tag (Rom. 6:23).
When we sow to the flesh we reap destruction. Cheat on your spouse and you may destroy your marriage. Cheat your suppliers and you may destroy your business. These consequences are entirely self-inflicted and have nothing to do with divine punishment.
While sin may destroy you and everything you love, it will never cause God to kick you out of his family. Since as you were not qualified by your good works, you cannot be disqualified by your bad works. The Holy Spirit within you is God’s pledge or guarantee that he will bring to completion the good work he has begun in you (2 Cor. 1:22, Php. 1:6).
Moenie mislei word nie, my geliefde broeders.
(a) Do not be deceived. Don’t be fooled. Don’t buy into the lie that says “God is making me suffer.” Don’t be like Job who blamed God for his suffering (see inskrywing for Jas. 1:19).
(b) My geliefde. We all stumble from time to time (Jas. 3:2) and when we do it’s easy to imagine that God is angry or disappointed with us. We need to remind ourselves that we remain his beloved and dearly-loved children (1 John 3:1). See also the inskrywing for Jas. 2:5.
(c) Broeders. In the New Testament, the word brethren normally implies Christian brothers and sisters (e.g., Heb. 2:11). When James is commending his beloved brethren for their faith in Christ (Jas. 2:1), he is speaking to his Christian brothers. But when he is asking questions about the law (Jas. 4:11) or challenging his readers about their worthless religion and useless faith (Jas. 1:26, 2:20), he is speaking to his unsaved Jewish brothers. Again, James is writing for a mixed Jewish audience of believers and unbelievers (see inskrywing for Jas. 1:1).
Elke goeie ding wat gegee word en elke volmaakte gawe kom van bo af, kom af van die Vader van die ligte, by wie daar geen verandering of verskuiwende skaduwee is nie.
(a) Every good thing given. God is the Giver behind every good gift. He is the ultimate Source of life and love, peace and joy, rest and fulfilment, comfort and pleasure, hope and security, families and friends, stars and sunsets. All good things bear his fingerprints.
(b) Every perfect gift. God’s gives you perfect righteousness that cannot be improved upon. He gives you perfect love, perfect forgiveness, and perfect holiness. Anything you might add to his gifts will only detract from their perfection. But if you receive his perfect gifts you will be perfect in Christ, complete in every way
(c) The Father of lights. God is our Father (Jas. 3:9), and his children shine like lights in a dark world (Matt. 5:14, Php. 2:15).
(d) No variation. God never changes (Heb. 13:8). “For I, the Lord, do not change” (Mal. 3:6). God does not bless you one day and curse you the next. He does not give good gifts only to take them away again (Rom. 11:29). He is good all the time.
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
(a) He brought us forth. You have been sired by God the Father.
Just as sin gives birth to death (Jas. 1:15), God gives birth to new life. You are not a Christian because you attend Sunday School or prayed a prayer. You are a Christian because you opened your heart to the Lord and he gave you his life-giving Spirit (Rom. 8:9, 2 Cor. 1:22).
(b) The word of truth is the Living Word or Jesus Christ.
The word of truth is synonymous with the word of the kingdom (Matt. 13:19) or the word of God (Luke 8:11) or the word of life (1 John 1:1). The word of truth is not the Bible or even the gospel, although those things reveal the word. Jesus is the Truth that comes from God and saves us (John 1:14, 14:6, Jas. 1:21).
(c) First fruits. All creation will be redeemed starting with us.
God is making all things new, and the outcome will be a new heavens and a new earth (Rev. 21:5). In the present age, the church is a prophetic picture of what is to come. See inskrywing for 2 Pet. 3:13.
Dit weet julle, my geliefde broers. Maar almal moet gou wees om te hoor, stadig om te praat en stadig om kwaad te word;
(a) Geliefde; sien inskrywing for Jas. 2:5.
(b) Broeders; sien inskrywing for Jas. 1:16.
(c) Quick to hear. Listen before talking. Before speaking your mind, find out what the Lord says on the matter. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you the wisdom you need (Jas. 1:5).
(d) Slow to speak. When we are hurting or going through trials, the temptation is to complain and speak with anger and bitterness. But when we do that we are articulating unbelief in the Redeemer. We are essentially saying, “I don’t trust God to bring good out of my situation.” We are speaking like Job who voiced his fears (Job 3:25), expressed self-pity (Job 10:1), and wished himself dead (Job 7:15, 17:13–16). Like others who have gone through intense pain, Job blamed God for his suffering (Job 2:10, 6:4, 7:20, 27:2).
Happily, God did not hold Job’s words against him, and he delivered him from his sorrow. After Job came through his ordeal, he realized he had spoken rashly. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3). James highlights the lesson we take from Job: In your trials, be quick to hear and slow to speak.
Verdere leeswerk: "Ten little known facts about Job”
(e) Slow to anger. Anger is a lit stick of dynamite that can hurt us if we cling to it and hurt others if we let it loose. Anger is a powerful emotion that needs to be handled it with care (Eph. 4:25). When we are angry, it is easy to stumble and give place to the devil (Eph. 4:27).
There are injustices in the world that deserve a passionate response, but whenever we react with our emotions we are responding in the flesh. To be spirit-led, is to be slow to anger and not easily provoked.
want die toorn van die mens bereik nie die geregtigheid van God nie.
(a) Die woede van die mens. When we’re angry we make bad decisions, say dumb things, and make other people angry. Anger is a legitimate emotion, but it is not a tool that God uses. The kingdom of God is built on peace and righteousness, not anger and wrath.
Some think that anger is useful for getting people to repent. Angry preachers portray an angry God who is angry at you and your sin. But the God Jesus revealed is nothing like this. God reaches out to us in love, not anger. It is his kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
(b) Die geregtigheid van God can be contrasted with the manmade righteousness that comes from right-living and keeping the rules (see inskrywing for Matt. 6:33). Our righteousness will never qualify us for the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20), but anyone, even the worst sinner, can receive the gift of God’s righteousness (see inskrywing for Rom 5:17).
Daarom, terwyl jy alle vuilheid en alles wat oorbly van boosheid opsy gesit word, ontvang in nederigheid die ingeplante woord, wat in staat is om julle siele te red.
(a) Putting aside all filthiness. We put aside the old life, and put on the new self which has been created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22–24).
(b) Filthiness… wickedness. We lay aside anger, rage, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, enmity, hatred, drunkenness, immorality, bitterness, jealousy, envy, covetousness, slander, profanity, tantrums, etc. (e.g., Gal. 5:19–21, Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8, 1 Pet. 2:1). All these things proceed from a selfish and unregenerate heart (Mark 7:20–23).
(c) Humility is the only attitude that can receive the grace of God (see inskrywing for Jas. 4:6).
(d) To receive the word of truth is to believe the good news about Jesus. It is not merely hearing about the grace of God but receiving it by faith (2 Cor. 6:1, Heb. 4:2).
(e) The word implanted is analogous to the “seed sown” or the “message preached.” It’s the good news of Jesus Christ.
(f) Save your souls. The word which saves is not the Bible but the word of truth or the word of Christ (Jas. 1:18). It is Jesus, the Living Word revealed in the gospel of grace. See inskrywing vir Handelinge 4:31.
Maar bewys julleself daders van die woord, en nie bloot hoorders wat hulleself mislei nie.
(a) Doers of the word. Do the work of God and believe in the One he sent (John 6:29).
Remember, James is writing to a broad Jewish audience that includes unbelievers (see inskrywing for Jas. 1:1). He’s writing to people who have heard the gospel and now need to respond to it. James presents a clear call to action: Receive the word (previous verse). In other words, draw near and submit to God and receive his grace (Jas. 4:6, 8, 10).
(b) Not merely hearers. Don’t just listen but do what the word says. Put your faith in Jesus and allow the Spirit of Christ to convince you that Jesus is your redemption and righteousness from God.
(c) Delude themselves. Those who dismiss the gospel as irrelevant or unnecessary deceive themselves.
Many people consider themselves good or godly, but if they reject the grace of God they are living under a lie. They have not received the word of truth. They may believe in God and speak about some kind of faith, but if their faith is unaccompanied by the “work” of believing in the One he sent, theirs is a dead and useless faith (Jas. 2:14).
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
(a) Not a doer. They have not done what the Lord asks. They don’t believe in the One he sent.
To do is to heed the call of God. The Lord says “Come” and we come (Matt. 11:28). The Lord says “Repent and believe the good news” and we repent and believe (Mark 1:15). The Lord says, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him” and we listen (Matt. 17:5).
(b) Mirror. To look in the mirror is to see your true state. When Jesus told the self-righteous Laodiceans that they were “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,” he was showing them their true condition (Rev. 3:17). In our natural state, we are all wretched and miserable, stained with sin and without hope.
(c) Forgotten. To look and forget is to take no action. It’s hearing the good news but doing nothing in response.
(d) What kind of person he was. Unless the Lord cleans us we remain dirty sinners (Jas. 4:8). Unless we make up our minds about God and receive from his abundant supply, we remain graceless and double-minded (Jas. 1:8, 4:8).
Maar iemand wat aandagtig kyk na die volmaakte wet, die wet van vryheid, en daarby bly, nie 'n vergeetagtige hoorder geword het nie, maar 'n daadwerklike dader, hierdie man sal geseënd wees in wat hy doen.
(a) The perfect law. The flawless and perfecting rule of Jesus Christ. The original word for perfect (teleios) means complete. In contrast with the neverending demands of the law, the Spirit of Christ completes us and makes us whole. “In him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:10).
(b) Die wet van vryheid is another name for the word of truth (Jas. 1:18) or the implanted word that can save you (Jas. 1:21). It is the Lord Jesus, the Living Word of God whose rule sets us free. The law of liberty describes what Jesus has done (perfectly fulfilled or completed the law) and the fruit he will bear in our lives (liberty) when we yield to him.
Under the old covenant, people looked into the mirror of the law and saw their faults. But in the new covenant, we look to Jesus and see his glory. The old law demanded perfection but the law of liberty is perfect on your behalf. The Law of Moses bound people with heavy demands, but the law of liberty sets us free (2 Cor. 3:17, Gal. 5:1).
(c) Abides by it. To abide means to dwell or rest in Jesus.
Under the old covenant, to abide by the law meant keeping all the rules. But in the new covenant, to abide in the law of liberty is to abide or dwell in Christ. Everyone who confesses Jesus as the Son of God abides in him (1 John 4:15). To abide in Christ is to rest in his love (John 15:9). It’s living with the complete dependence that a branch has for a vine and realizing that apart from him we can do nothing. See inskrywing for Abiding.
(d) An effectual doer is someone who puts their faith in Christ (see inskrywing for Jas. 1:22).
(e) Blessed. Those who trust in the Lord are blessed.
Those who rely on the Law of Moses are cursed because the law ministers condemnation and death (Gal. 3:10). But those who look into the law of liberty are blessed because they find their sins have been forgiven and all demands against them have been fully satisfied in Christ (Rom. 4:7–8). Those who abide in Christ are blessed with the blessings of Abraham (Gal. 3:9). Indeed, all the blessings of heaven are theirs (Eph. 1:3).
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
(a) Religious. To be religious is to be in bondage. When Paul told the Athenians, “I see you are very religious,” he meant “I see that you worship a lot of idols” (see inskrywing for Acts 17:22). Christianity is not a religion, but this letter was read by some of the most religious people on earth – the law-keeping Jews (see Jas. 1:1). The Jews were not idol-worshippers, but they were bound by their reliance on laws and rituals and their fear of divine punishment.
Verdere leeswerk: "10 ways religion is bad for you”
(b) Deceives his own heart. He’s fooling himself.
(c) Religion, whether based on idols or rules, is no substitute for faith in the Risen Christ. Paul used the word religion to describe the ritualized worship of the Jews (Acts 26:5), and that is the same meaning that is implied here.
(d) Religion is worthless because it lacks the power to change the heart. The tongue is the proof. No religious person, no matter how well-intentioned, ever managed to tame their tongue. See inskrywing for Jas. 3:8.
Reine en onbesmette godsdiens in die oë van ons God en Vader is dit: om weeskinders en weduwees in hulle nood te besoek en jouself deur die wêreld onbevlek te hou.
(a) Pure and undefiled religion. If you consider yourselves religious, take care of the poor and downtrodden
James was not trying to balance grace with works; he was trying to secure aid for starving widows and orphans. James led the church in Jerusalem when Judea was experiencing a severe famine (see entry for Acts 11:28). Paul collected money from the Gentile churches for the starving saints in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1–4; 2 Cor. 8:1–7, 9:1–15; Rom. 15:14–32), while James challenged the scattered Jews to contribute as well. His words remind us of Jesus who rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for being obsessed with minor matters while neglecting more important issues of mercy and justice (Matt. 23:23).
Verdere leeswerk: "Pure religion”
(b) Father. In the old covenant, God was seen as a judge recording all your sins. But in the new covenant Jesus reveals a God who loves you like a Father. All the epistle writers echoed this theme. See inskrywing for Matt. 5:16.
(c) Orphans. An orphan is someone who doesn’t know their father. When Jesus told the disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18), he was referring to the revelation of God the Father that would come to them via the Holy Spirit. People invent all kinds of religions to get close to God, but the only “religion” God has is to reveal himself to an orphaned world.
(d) Widows in distress. The religious Jews were obliged to help widows and orphans, but they exploited them. In doing so, they revealed their religion to be a worthless sham.
Under the old covenant, there were strong laws protecting widows: you couldn’t hurt them (Ex. 22:22); when harvesting, you had to leave crops and fruit for them (Deu. 24:19–21); once a year you had to invite them to a feast (Deu. 16:10–11); and every three years, you had to share your tithe of your produce with them (Deu. 14:28–29, 26:12–13). These laws had teeth. If you neglected to care for widows you could be punished with death making your wife a widow (Ex. 22:22–24). Yet instead of protecting widows, the law teachers exploited them (Luke 20:46¬–47). Instead of giving to widows, the religious leaders took money from them (Mark 12:41–42).
Then Jesus came along and made a point of helping widows. The first time he met a widow, he raised her son from the dead (Luke 7:12¬–14). He told a story about a widow who got no justice (Luke 18:2–8). Jesus championed widows and the church he built did likewise (e.g., Acts 6:1, 1 Tim. 5:3). The contrast was clear: the best religion in the world failed to help widows, but those who had been arrested by the love and grace of God became their defenders.
Verdere leeswerk: "Is grace a license to be lazy?”
(e) Unstained. Unblemished and uncorrupted by the world.
It is impossible for those in the world to keep themselves unstained and separate from it. For fourteen centuries, the religious Jews did everything they could to keep themselves spotless, but Jesus said they were like whitewashed sepulchres, full of dead men’s bones (Matt. 23:27). Only the blood of Jesus can wash us white as snow. If you wish to be found unstained and spotless, you need to found in Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).
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- James 1:1
- Jakobus 1:2
- Jakobus 1:3
- James 1:4
- James 1:5
- James 1:6
- James 1:7
- James 1:8
- James 1:9-10
- James 1:11
- Jakobus 1:12
- Jakobus 1:13
- Jakobus 1:14
- Jakobus 1:15
- Jakobus 1:16
- Jakobus 1:17
- James 1:18
- Jakobus 1:19
- Jakobus 1:20
- Jakobus 1:21
- Jakobus 1:22
- James 1:23-24
- Jakobus 1:25
- James 1:26
- Jakobus 1:27