A New Series on James
I’m so eager for this Sunday as we begin our series through the letter of James. It’s a magnificent part of the New Testament—so full of practical wisdom and exhortation for the Christian life.
While James has been beloved by the laity of the church through the centuries, it has caused much debate among scholars because of a supposed contradiction between the “works” emphasis of James and the “faith” emphasis of Romans. Thus, some conclude that James and Paul are at odds. Paul says we’re saved by faith alone and not by works, while James says faith needs works in order to save. So which is it? Is there a contradiction? No, none at all! Paul and James are simply looking at two different aspects of the Christian life. Romans is primarily concerned with how salvation is received (by faith apart from works), while James is primarily concerned with how salvation is verified (by works that come from true saving faith).
But there is so much more to James than just this debate about faith and works! In essence, it is a snapshot of what the Christian life should look like in response to the Lordship of Christ. It touches on a variety of topics and gives its readers a picture of the necessary sanctification that flows from true justification. You might say that James is an attack on the easy-believism of nominal Christianity, or any brand of “Christianity” that is comfortable with merely hearing the word without also doing it.
James is only five chapters, and can be easily read in one sitting. I encourage you to read through the whole letter at least once a week while we are in this series. It would be a great benefit for you to memorize particular sections, or maybe even the whole letter!
This Sunday we’ll look at the first four verses. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!