Remember, you're saved by faith alone, but not a faith that is alone.
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James 2 Summary
REMEMBER THE FORMAT OF JAMES: James 2 has two sections, and the first doesn't seem to have anything to do with the second. Nor does James 2 seem to have anything to do with what we read yesterday in James 1. That's because each of these individual passages in James is like a stand alone mini-sermon. This letter is probably a collection of memorable lessons James had taught over the years.
In the first section of today's chapter, James reminds us that God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith (v5). This means we must overcome our instinct to be attracted to attractive people, whether in our personal lives, or especially in the church.
In the second section, we read that true faith is not just closing your eyes and believing Jesus will save you, rather our actions are the primary indicator of how healthy our faith is. No perceivable good deeds in your life likely means that you have very little true faith.
I hope all of your mental alarms were blaring as you read v24:
A person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
That almost sounds unbiblical to us Calvinistic Reformed folk, doesn't it! But don't twist James' words. Read them in context. James is saying that when you do genuinely good things, it's an expression of your faith. Remember what we read in Hebrews 11:6, "without faith it is impossible to please God." James is simply contrasting true faith with mere intellectual assent (as in, even the demons 'believe' in God - v19). True faith will always be accompanied by the Fruit of the Spirit we just read about in Galatians 5.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The almighty God who has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom (v5).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that that your faith and your actions are working together (v22).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: