Introduction to James

Teaching by John Verstegen
Part 2 of 2
Transcribed and edited by Nancy Paulson

Brief review of part 1:
First of all, James is written to the twelve tribes. We know that by the first verse. Now what is faith? Faith is just believing what the verses on the page say and then operate in the light of it.

(James 1:1 KJV) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Who were the twelve tribes? Israel. Compare this verse with Romans 11:

(Romans 11:13 KJV) For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

This verse does not say, "For I speak to you twelve tribes, inasmuch as I am the apostle to Israel." The word of God means what it says and says what it means. God was very specific in the words He chose. In the context of Romans 11:13, the "I" is the Apostle Paul, the apostle God sent out with the truth commissioned in the dispensation in which we live. Paul says, by divine inspiration, "I speak to you, not the twelve tribes, but to you Gentiles..."

If you are a Gentile today, and you are; who did God send to you? According to this verse it is the Apostle Paul. Just as God in the Old Testament chose a man by the name of Moses and committed to him the instructions for a time period we refer to as the dispensation of the Law. God gave Moses some instructions and what Moses wrote and spoke was the authority. Thus, they could call it the Law of Moses. Yet, Moses did not design anything, he wrote and spoke what he received from God. Israel did not worship Moses. Those instructions were the message that God gave to the man for the nation.

So, too, in this dispensation of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ committed to the Apostle Paul the truth for about the time in which we live today. Thus, He gave to Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, the information pertaining to the time period in which we live today. That is why Paul can say, "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office." His office in the verse is what he magnifies. He magnifies his office by preaching that message the risen Lord Jesus Christ had committed to his trust and he is magnifying not himself, but his office, as an apostle appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ

Compare Romans 11:13 with James 1:1and tell me the difference. First of all, Paul is writing in Romans 11 and James is writing in James 1. Secondly, they are both speaking by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ . Thirdly, Paul is speaking to you Gentiles and James writes to the twelve tribes: they are not writing to the same audience.

You cannot understand the book of James if you cannot get the first verse. The book of James is not written for the dispensation or the period in which we live; it is not written to and about the church, the Body of Christ. You do not need a commentary to understand the book of James, just believe the verses. The word of God says James is writing to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.

Now, concerning the books of Hebrews through Revelation; who is the book of Hebrews written to? The Hebrews. Who are they? They are the Jews. Peter writes to the same group of people that James says he is writing to.

What we have studied so far in the book of James is that James is writing to the twelve tribes which are going through the tribulation period. They are not in the dispensation of grace. It is after this dispensation of grace is over they will go through that tribulation period. In that tribulation period what you will see are three major groups in the nation of Israel: the rich, the poor, the rest of the nation who has to decide what to do with the message of the rich and the message of the poor.

In the early Acts period, Acts 2-7, even in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you have those same three groups. The scribes and the Pharisees were the ones who were rich in the nation Israel. They were the ones who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel. But we will see that they became very rich and wealthy by devouring widowís houses. You also have those that represent the poor, that Little Flock, the outcasts; they were the true believers in the nation of Israel, led by Peter and the other apostles. Peter in the early Acts period is calling to the nation to make a decision, to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, repent and be baptized. If they do not do this they will go into the fire (judgment). This is essentially Matthew 3, John the Baptistís message: you get into the water and you will not get into the fire. In other words, you wonít get burned up in that tribulation period

And so, in the early Acts period we see those same groups of people:

  1. The rich represent the scribes and the Pharisees, those were the ones who promoted the false apostate religion of Israel which religion will become the religion of the Antichrist.
  2. The little faithful remnant, The Little Flock, who represented the righteous nation, calling to the rest of the nation to listen to their message.
  3. The rest of the nation who had to make the decision as to which group was preaching the message from God.

Now we will pick up our study beginning with James 1:22. In the rest of chapter 1 and on into 2 is a constant contrast between what James refers to as the pure religion and vain religion. The scribes and Pharisees representing vain religion and the Little Flock representing that pure religion. That thought will be carried along right into the rest of the book but we see it in clear detail form in the end of chapter 1 and into chapter 2.

(James 1:22-25 KJV) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. {23} For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: {24} For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. {25} But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty...

The perfect law of liberty, that liberated law from the tradition of the scribes and Pharisees, is the standard in which they will be judged .

(James 1:25 KJV) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Now, watch what he goes on to say; he gives you the principle of donít just be a hearer of that word but be a doer.

(James 1:26 KJV) 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.

If any man among you seem to be religious: this man has the outside appearance. And bridleth not his tongue; there is something about the tongue here. But deceiveth his own heart, interesting, the guy in verse 22 deceived his own heart, he looked, he heard but he did not do. This manís religion is vain. It is that vain religion the nation of Israel will be tempted to be associated within the tribulation. But in contrast...

(James 1:27 KJV) Pure religion and undefiled ...

Remember what happen to Israelís religion, the law God gave to Moses and Moses gave to Israel? It got defiled by the vain traditons of the fathers.

(James 1:27 KJV) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

You look at that passage and say, "Now, why is that? What is pure religion about? That is what we will spend some time looking at.

Chapter 2 is very clearly divided up into 2 major sections: verses 1-13 and 14-26. These two sections are absolute total parallels of each other. Now, unfortunately, when people talk about faith without works and they try to say you have to be saved by faith plus works; they go to James 2:14; however, James did not start the idea in verse 14. In fact, he starts the idea back in chapter 1:26 with the idea of pure religion versus vain religion. We need to get the flow of what he is saying here. So there is an absolute comparison between what he says in verses 1-13 and then in verse 14-26.

Letís go back to chapter 1 where we see the issue of the hearer and the doer of the word. We already studied the fact there is a direct connection where it says in verse 22 - 25 to be a doer and not a hearer only with the Sermon on the Mount where the Lord Jesus Christ says "whosoever hears these words of mine and doeth them is like that guy that buildeth his house on the rock, a solid foundation.". So also, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the Sermon on the Mount, liberates the Law of Moses from the tradition of the elders who added their traditions to the Word of God, thus making the Word of God void.

The Lord Jesus Christ says, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time" (Matthew 5:21,27,33). He did not say that you have heard it said by Moses, but you heard it was said by them of old time; you have heard how your fathers and elders have interpreted the Law of Moses. But Iíll tell you what Moses said, take away the encrustation of the scribes and Pharisees placed on the Law of Moses and here is what Moses said..." So, then the sermon on the mount strips away all the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees from the Law. The Sermon on the Mount ends with the Lord Jesus Christ saying that you better not be a hearer but a doer of the Word. Now, that will make you think of Matthew 23.

Can you think of any group in the nation of Israel that were hearers but not doers of what the Law of Moses said?

(Matthew 23:1-2 KJV) Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, {2} Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

That is, they have the authority when they quote Moses, they are right, so listen to them.

(Matthew 23:3 KJV) All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Here is the group in the nation of Israel that sat in Mosesí seat; they had the authority, they were the power structure of the nation of Israel at the time as long as they quoted Moses and just stuck with Moses and the scripture and nothing else. But do not do as they do: for the say and do not. Here is a group of people who heard but did not obey. This is the same group James is referring to, that type of individual, that type of faith. They sit in Mosesí seat and claim Mosesí authority but do not do what Moses says to do. He goes on to say...

(Matthew 23:4 KJV) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Now, does that sound like Moses? No, Moses was willing to die for his nation. Moses was willing for the wrath of God to pour out on himself so that the nation might be forgiven. The scribes and the Pharisees were not willing to let that happen to themselves.

(Matthew 23:5 KJV) But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Why are they doing that? They are getting big, folks. These are not the guys that are starving, these are not the guys that are poor.

(Matthew 23:6 KJV) And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

Keep that in mind when reading James, because that is exactly what James 2 talks about.

(Matthew 23:7 KJV) And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Now look down to verse 13:

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,

Outwardly these guys had an appearance of religion. It appeared on the outside as though they were the ones blessed by God, that they were the true representative of God. But here you have God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He tells His perspective of these guys, what He thinks of them:

(Matthew 23:13 KJV) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! ...

Their religion is vain.

(Matthew 23:13-16 KJV) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. {14} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. {15} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. {16} Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

You get the idea the Lord Jesus Christ is taking the word of God and says, "Here is the true identity of those people. These people are not the true representative of God. They do not represent God blessing the nation. Here is their true identity and Israel, you need to decide who you will believe." He goes on to say in verse 23:

(Matthew 23:23 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

He take the scribes and Pharisees and tells them what they are doing is not faith; they are not obeying the word of God. They might be sitting in the seat of Moses and saying some things Moses spoke but they are not doing what Moses said when he talked about faith, mercy and judgement.

(Matthew 23:25-26 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. {26} Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Here are some guys who have the appearance of holiness, the appearance of religion on the outside. He says they make clean on the outside but inside they are full of extortion and excess. Keep this in mind because later on we will talk about what is inside of you will come out of you.

(Matthew 23:27-28 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. {28} Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Now, notice what it says in verse 33 in the conclusion:

(Matthew 23:33 KJV) Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

He does not say "Ye, children of light", "Ye, ones that have the true pure religion"; He says, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?" They could not as long as they continued to think they were the true representatives of God and continued rejecting Him.

In parallel, similar today, as long as you reject the Lord Jesus Christ as the absolute only way to God the Father, as long as you reject the blood of Jesus Christ as the absolute only way to salvation, (faith in Jesus Christ alone), as long as you trust in what you can do; you cannot escape the damnation of hell. There is only one way and that is faith and faith alone in the blood of Jesus Christ. It is not "I will believe in the blood of Christ and try to do my best". As soon as you add anything to the cross-work of Jesus Christ you have rendered the cross of none effect. You might say it might be 99% good enough to get me there but I have to do my 1%. That is saying that 1% can match what Christ did for you and you have to work together as a team. However, that is not the gospel today, that is not the message of salvation by grace through faith alone in the blood of Christ; that is what religion says. Trust in the blood of Christ if you are not saved today.

I heard Pastor Jordan say something this year at camp and I thought that is a great way to say it: "If you donít trust the blood of Jesus Christ as the total means of your salvation, you know what you are saying about the blood? You are saying the blood of Jesus Christ is not as good as you are and your works. You are saying that God will accept you on the basis of your works because you or your good works are better that the blood of Christ. That is a lie. God says He accepts you on the basis of Christ alone. Period, paragraph, end of argument."

The issue of James 1:22-25 is that guy that hears the word and does not do it in contrast to the guy that hears it and does the word. So the call goes to the nation, "What are you going to do Israel? Are you going to be like the one who listened to Christ but would not believe Him and then build your house upon the sand just as the scribes and the Pharisees? Or will you be like the faithful remnant who heard the Lord Jesus Christ and built his house upon a rock, did what the word said? Youíd be the opposite of Matthew 23, hear what the word of God said, build what it said and you will be like that guy who looks into the word of God, the picture here of looking into that perfect law of liberty, and doing what it says, you will be blessed in your deed."

(James 1:25 KJV) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

This issue of doing is not going around doing good deeds as people define doing good works today. In the tribulation period, what is the contrast, what is the pull? The contrast, the pull, is for Israel to come and associate with the false religion of the Antichrist, they will be told that Jesus is not the Christ that He is not the true Messiah. Donít follow Him, donít follow that Little Flock, donít believe that New Testament, etc. Instead, come over here, we have found the Messiah, he is over here in Jerusalem. He signed that Abrahamic covenant in accordance with Daniel 9, he is going to bring in peace, he will bring in righteousness, he is going to feed us and so forth. Come and associate yourself with this guy.

They will say, "You know, the guy really can feed these people, he really can take care of these guys. These guys are doing OK; it must be God blessing them. That guy over there is following Jesus who could not have be the Messiah because if He is then those guys would not poor and where is the king anyway?" They will look back and say, "They preached Jesus was the Messiah 2,000 years ago and no king has come back yet. You know why they are poor? They are poor because they say Jesus is the Messiah and He is not. On the other hand, this guy over here who is claiming to be the Messiah will feed us and take care of us; He must be the Messiah because these guys are rich and wealthy. They have all these things, letís go and join them." That is part of the issue of the works that is being talked about in James.

Notice verse 26:

(James 1:26 KJV) 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.

There are four things:

  1. If any man among you seem to be religious
  2. Bridle not his tongue
  3. Deceives his own heart
  4. The result is his religion is vain.

See those four things there? Did we just read about a group of people who seemed to be religious? Who was that? The scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of the nation of Israel. So you have some people who seem to be religious.

The next thing is they bridleth not their tongue. What is the issue of the tongue? We tried to say earlier that the issue of the tongue has to do with doctrine. The issue of the tongue is what comes out of your mouth.

These people who are religious do not bridle their tongue. What does it mean to bridle something? It means to hold it in check. How? By controlling it. You put the bridle on to control it. If you control that little bitty thing, you control the whole thing. These guys do not have the doctrine inside of them that holds them in check, that bridles them.

(Matthew 15:18-20 KJV) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. {19} For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: {20} These are the things which defile a man: ...

According to the Lord Jesus Christ, where are these evil thoughts and murders coming from? They come from the heart, from what is within these people; it is what is being spoken by their tongue. So, it is the doctrine that is being taught by the scribes and the Pharisees that is inside these people. That is why he says they have the appearance of religion, but they do not bridle their tongue. Their tongue isnít in check because they do not have the doctrine inside of them to keep them in check.

James also says they deceive their own heart. Didnít we just read something about that in verse 22? These are the guys that do not do the word.

(James 1:22 KJV) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

These people hear the word but do not do. We read about those people in Matthew 23 and the result is they deceive their own heart. He is describing that same class of people in the life of Christ were identified as the scribes and the Pharisees. It is a group of leaders in the nation of Israel that become wealthy at the expense of the nation; they are promoting a false doctrine because they have associated with Antichrist and the end result is their religion is vain. That is not the true pure religion. James has just equipped the nation of Israel to make a wise decision as to the identity of who represent the true flock in Israel.

James says, "if you lack wisdom, let him ask of God and God will give it to you". He just gave it to them. He gave them the ability to look at them and notice they have the outward appearance of religion. They need to listen to the doctrine coming out of their mouth. Wow! They are saying and doing not. They are not following the word of God, they are talking about it but they are not doing what it says. That is two strikes against them. And they donít bridle their tongue and they deceive themselves because they do not do what the perfect law of liberty says.

The twelve tribes at this point will be able to stand up and say, "Their religion is vain. They have the religion of the Antichrist. Now, on the other hand, look at the contrast:

(James 1:27 KJV) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

What is the issue of the fatherless and widows? Let me ask it this way: In the tribulation period, what verses that talk about a father will give over his wife and a mother the daughter and the children their parents,they will turn each other over to the authorities? Ever hear over in Revelation 6 about the souls who were beheaded for the testimony of Christ? You want to know why this widow is a widow? Why the children are fatherless? Because their husband and father was taken out and killed because he would not associate with the Antichrist. That is why they are widows and fatherless. Another reason they are afflicted is they have no means to buy and sell because they will not take the mark of the beast.

Now, watch this contrast in the Old Testament between the fatherless and the widows and the rich. Go to Isaiah 1 and see what the contrast is between an appearance of religion but it is just vain and the fatherless and widows that need some ministering to:

(Isaiah 1:10 KJV) Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom;

Did you know that God actually called Israel Sodom and Gomorrah at one time? That tells you how bad the state of Israel had become.

(Isaiah 1:10-13 KJV) Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. {11} To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. {12} When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? {13} Bring no more vain oblations...

These guys have the appearance of religion on the outside, but God says it is vain.

(Isaiah 1:14-15 KJV) Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. {15} And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

They have that outward appearance of "oh, bless us" but God says that He will not even listen to them -- that is James 1:26.

(Isaiah 1:16-17 KJV) Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; {17} Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Isnít that interesting? That is James 1:26-27. James just isnít arbitrarily trying to figure out with what to fill the pages of Godís word. He is being led by the Holy Spirit; he is writing the very words, the inspired words of God. You can see the connection back here with the Old Testament.

(Isaiah 10:1-4 KJV) Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; {2} To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey,

Does that sound like they devour widowsí houses? We just read that in Matthew 24.

(Isaiah 10:2-4 KJV) To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! {3} And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? {4} Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

You see the idea that judgment is coming...

(Isaiah 58:1-2 KJV) Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. {2} Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

He says on the outward appearance they got this thing down as though they really are a holy nation. They have this appearance they really are righteous and following the word of God. But, here is what they begin to say...

(Isaiah 58:3 KJV) Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

In verse 3, what are they finding pleasure in? It is in their religion, not in God.

(Isaiah 58:4 KJV) Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

In verses 4 and 5, Isaiah talks about the absolute vanity of their religion. Now watch what he says in verse 5...

(Isaiah 58:5-7 KJV) Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? {6} Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? {7} Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

In verse 7, there is James 1 and 2. The point is the contrast between the pure religion and the vain religion. That vain religion is on the outside and has the appearance of pure religion but it is just vanity. They are saying and doing not; they are not following what the word of God says. On the other hand, the pure religion is represented by those who are poor and needy; they reason they are poor is because they sold out and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. The other ones are not poor because they are following the Antichrist.


Read Ezekiel 34, the passage where God says He will judge between the fat cattle and the lean cattle. The fat cattle are the one that are being fed off the nation, they represent the scribes and the Pharisees.

(Ezekiel 34:17-22 KJV) And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. {18} Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? {19} And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. {20} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. {21} Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; {22} Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

James 2:1-13 is the parallel of James 2:14-26. The issue in the chapter is this: donít claim to believe that doctrine then respond the way the scribes and Pharisees did. Donít respond in that vain religion, respond in that pure religion. For example look at what he says here in verse 1:

(James 2:1-2 KJV) My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. {2} For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

Do you see the two groups? Here is the synagogue, here comes this guy who is very wealthy. He has that appearance of religion, the appearance as though God blessed him. And so what do they do?

(James 2:3 KJV) And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

Sit thou here in a good place, that sounds like Matthew 23:6: they love the chief seats in the synagogues. What is the implication here? If you are under Godís footstool, you are an enemy of God and you will be condemned and judged. Being under the footstool means you are not blessed by God. Come sit under my footstool: you are less than important under Godís eyes.

(James 2:4 KJV) Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

Their thinking is the problem. Their thinking is leading them to some information and their thinking is leading them to say this guy is wealthy and rich because God is blessing him, therefore he must be the true follower of God. That guy is poor, he belongs under my footstool. The thinking is the problem.

Now, look what Godís perspective is:

(James 2:5 KJV) Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Which one of the two groups is chosen to be representative of being rich in faith? The one who obeys Luke 12:31: to sell all he has and follow the Lord Jesus Christ; that Little Flock, that little remnant in the tribulation who is poor because they cannot buy or sell because they will not take the mark of the beast. These are the ones who God has chosen, the rich in faith who will inherit the kingdom of God. Here is another key that will give Israel the key to the wisdom of God to know who is the true remnant of Israel.

(James 2:6 KJV) But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

By despising the poor, they are despising Godís faithful remnant. James is telling the nation instead of despising them, you need to go join them.

Now, jump way ahead to verse 14:

(James 2:14-15 KJV) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

Is this person rich or poor? He is poor. There is a natural contrast, in both pictures, you have the poor that come in and Israelís response to the poor.

In verses 1 and 14, you can see Israelís response to this guy, whether they have true faith or not. In verse 1 they are told not to have the faith the Lord Jesus Christ this way but have it this way. In verse 14, what does it profit if this is the kind of faith you have.

At verses 1-4 and 15-16 you see the error. In verse 1-4 the error was to respect the guy who was wealthy, thinking he was the true representative of God and rejected the guy who was poor thinking he was under Godís footstool. But when you get down to verse 14 and the end of the chapter, the error is they had no respect for the poor.

We saw the poor and the treatment of them. There is an absolute parallel in the first section of James 2 with the second section of James 2. The issue of both passages is what represents true faith. The wisdom in the first part of the chapter is to say that those guy who are wealthy and rich are so because they joined allegiance with the Antichrist. On the other hand, the poor are the ones who represent the true remnant of God.

What will true faith do? It will go and identify this group and that group.

(James 2:14 KJV) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

At the end of chapter 2, where James says faith without works is dead is the same as saying they have the same vain religion of the scribes and the Pharisees who say and did not. That is the principle of what James is saying here.

(James 2:15-16 KJV) If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, {16} And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

It profits nothing. Let me show you that issue is almost a direct quote out of the Old Testament, of what they really have to do. In James 2:16, here is a brother who is naked and destitute because he cannot buy or sell in the tribulation period. He is that because he wonít join in with the Antichrist. So the nation of Israel will say, ĎDepart in peace, be warmed and filled and do not give them things they need to the body. Now watch Deuteronomy 15:

(Deuteronomy 15:7-9 KJV) If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: {8} But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. {9} Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart,...

Didnít we read something in James about evil thoughts?

(Deuteronomy 15:9 KJV) Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

The point is, there is a direct command in Deuteronomy that they are supposed to help their brother regardless of whether or not it is close to the seventh year or not. So the person in James 2, says, "Oh, I believe the word of God. Oh, I believe Jesus is the Messiah." They hear but they are not doing what it says. It is an absolute direct disobedience to what the word of God says. Do you know any one else that said and did not do? The scribes and the Pharisees.

The book of James is a contrast of the false apostate religion of the Antichrist, personified by the religious leaders and the rich in the nation of Israel who got wealthy at the expense of the nation and the poor faithful remnant who sold out to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and cannot buy or sell. The nation has to decide as to with whom they will join allegiance. James equips them to be able to identify who the true faithful remnant is and then to join with them so they endure with them through the tribulation period in order to get into the kingdom.

In chapter 3, the whole issue is the tongue: the tongue speaking doctrine. The doctrine, the wisdom, they are speaking is devilish: James 3:15. Read these verses to see where the doctrine comes from: Matthew 15:10-20, 7:15-20; 12:22-37. These talk about whatever is inside a guy is what comes out of his mouth: an evil tree brings forth evil fruit - that is doctrine. A good tree brings forth good fruit - that is doctrine that comes out of him. Then with those, read Isaiah 14:12-14, where Lucifer said in his heart - he had something inside of him that he spoke. Psalms 52:1-7, there is what the doctrine of the Antichrist will promote, in turn it is promoted by the lying tongue. Psalms 55:1-9 and verse 20-22 where his words are one thing and what is in his heart is another.

The issue of chapter 3 is that wisdom that is being promoted by the tongue of those representing the Antichrist; that wisdom is devilish, do not follow it.

As it goes on the chapter 4, we saw that it is a contrast between joining with the world and following with the Antichrist and in chapter 5 the end result is that the faithful remnant will be blessed. Just like God took care of the prophets in their affliction, so too, God will take care and preserve his faithful remnant through the tribulation period and into that kingdom.

   

http://www.bereanworkman.com