James Chapter 1

James opens with a greeting to the whole assembly of believers - James expected this epistle to be read by all. (v1) He then encourages believers to stay worthy through trials of temptation. (v2)

By diverse temptation we can consider the "God OR 'this perfection'" statement, (shortened to "G v p") temptation is a statement made that one would expect a perceived perfection from God to fulfill an individuals desire, so that one would imagine God would be greater if that perfection were true for the believer. (But God is no respecter of persons.) So the temptation that "God wouldn't mind me doing this" is equal with making God into a different entity than He is. We should consider God to be at liberty to remain perfect as He perfectly sees it; and not after our own fashioning.

Likewise, if we even obey God's commandments but have a different conception of God (a different gospel) we have also made Him into an image of our own expectations. Praying for wealth or riches because we desire it and think it better is such an example. God has no need to make us wealthy to perfect our behaviour.

So whilst encouraging believers to be joyful in temptations, resisting temptation sets God at liberty over us to set standards and law for us. In keeping faith preserving this liberty of His, when we ask for a good thing from God, we do not demand it instantly, but wait on it; for good gifts of God are at His own choosing - temptation and correct faith then works patience. (v3) Waiting with patience then when God is at liberty filters our prayers to those perfect things that God has prepared for us - patience works God's perfect works. (v4)

If any believer has a misconception of God or lacks understanding, He should pray to God and the Holy Spirit will minister to Him. Not just in this principle, but in the knowledge that wisdom of God's requirements in any particular thing should be evident to the believer. God does not give truth more to one man than another, and does not ignore prayers that work His perfect will. Misconceptions of God should therefore become self evident to the believer as temptation; not just from the old covenant law, but of faith itself: Praying for riches for example should become self-evidently a waste of time. (v5)

Believers should ask in faith when we are certain God is set at liberty, without wavering into statements along the lines of , "It is a good thing therefore I will get it, because I have decided it is a good thing, therefore I have decided it is good for God to give it." Such attitudes are misconceived. In a statement like this, it turns faith into a misconceived gospel and the lack of rewards for such prayer make a believer unstable when God's liberty is considered - it interrupts His sovereignty (to demand His liberty of Him) to suit oneself. (v6)

Such a believer should not therefore consider that He should receive a gift "because he has decided." (v7) Such an attitude, to consider God at liberty and demand 'good' things is contradiction, and justifying such an argument would engender a completely different belief system. (v8)

Then in temptation, those that lack riches should be joyful that they are exalted and God answers their prayers for truth's sake because they come to God Himself and are answered. Likewise those with wealth should consider themselves joyful for being brought to God in the manner of a poor man. With poverty of faith instead of wealth, there are riches for all (v9): Earthly riches do not justify a man before God - God will not maintain the wealth of a rich man. (v10)

Earthly riches pass away - a rich man whose concern is His wealth will not be concerned with the riches of heaven, and will pray for his wealth to be maintained. The rich then either pay less attention to their wealth with their mind on the things of God: or they waste their time with a different God. (v11) Then with faith, the desire to be rich fades from the priorities of the believer when they resist temptation, faith has worked in patience for the better gifts of God. Gifts, including eternal life and the Holy Spirit. (v12)

Now, God does not tempt man with "G v p" statements. If God were to say, "I will be perfect in this toward you" then He certainly would. God does not tempt man, neither can he be swayed to allow sin for the benefit of sinners. God is perfect and has spoken what sin is according to the law, and He will be perfect in that. (v13)

Men are tempted by "G v p" statements with a lust to reform God's person, (v14) whether they are aware they do it or not. That lust brings in sin, the separation from God - by having a different system, a different God, and having trampled on the sovereignty of God and His laws. The final end of this is to be counted with unbelievers instead of the faithful that hold to and love the truth. That end is death, instead of eternal life. (v15)

James urges believers to not then permit error in their faith and conception of God in any regard. (v16) Every gift from God, (rather than any sinful "G v p" statement, or prayers for substance) come from God who does not shift to expectations and does not do so by temporarily allowing the "p" side of a "G v p" statement. God is perfect and unchanging and will be perfect in all things rather than giving gifts to one and not another, or reducing His liberty to give gifts not according to His promises.

The expectation that "p" may be the false side of a "G v p " statement, may be made perfect if "p" indeed holds; "but p holds temporarily" is false. Such things require repentance because the liberty of God is absolute, and His person not forced. (v17)

But concerning the truly good gifts of God we can be assured of their giving, since by God's own promises He formed Christ's bride (spiritually translated Israel). James then encourages all men to hear swiftly and be slow in criticism, slow in anger at correction when it comes to incorrect faith (misconceptions of grace in particular) Anger at being corrected for our lusts of this fashion is in contradiction of election to His grace. (A different gospel.) (v20)

James commands that their behaviour be perfect according to the gospel. The engrafted word of the new testament which is the grace of God is to repent of sin: being under the correct gospel is then to have no "G v p" statements, when God is at perfect sovereignty in our faith. That requires that we obey His commandments in our spiritual growth as well as hold to the truth. In this fashion, whilst keeping repentance under grace, we can be saved. (v21)

Therefore, we should be repentant so as not to grieve the Holy Spirit and we should strive to obey the commandments and have wisdom. (v22) For if we respect the liberty of God but have no knowledge of sin, we can not recognise our faith: God's laws are a condition of grace for our repentance. (v23) As soon as liberty ceases to be considered and a man moves off with no knowledge of the commandments, he forgets who God is. (v24)

But under the law of liberty, the conditional grace that we must repent under will bless us if we are repentant - we shall be in receipt of God's good gifts then: because "G v p" statements are all subject to "p" being later realised as imperfect, but God; being always perfect though p is considered. (In considering p as a temptation). Though "p" may seem perfect, it is repented of, and it is not faith in God that is repented of (thrown off). (v25)

Therefore any man who is apparently a doer of the repentance required under grace but can not accept correction without argument, either according to the commandments or of a different gospel, then he has chosen the "p" side of a "G v p" statement, and has a different gospel, a different God, and a God that is not self consistent. (v26)

If we are to have faith from the example of Christ, we should show compassion to those whom are shown none; to be bearers of spiritual gifts to others (the poor) rather than for our own edification or wealth. With such gifts for others, we can be sure of the gifts. By Christ's example we should be obedient also, but our faith needs to remain pure before God and not formed in fashion by the cares of this world. (v27)

Continue To Next Page

Return To Section Start