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Lesson 04

JAMES 2:1-13
Lesson #04

  • Memory verse: Jam 2:8
    • In chapter 1 James guided us through numerous tests of our faith primarily of our attitudes. In chapter 2, James will show us how these attitudes work out into actions. Therefore, the tests of faith in this lesson involve actions toward other people.
      • Read Jam 2:1-13 the problem of the rich and the poor
        • James begins this section with the thought that faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, means you do not show partiality (respect) to some people over others, the rich over the poor. (1)
          • Notice the graphic mental images in this section:
            • Christ, clothed with the glory of God present in the church. (1)
            • The rich man, clothed with fancy, expensive clothing. (2)
            • The poor man, clothed in rags. (2)
          • Discussion: What does showing partiality have to do with faith?

        • Partiality is prejudice. Prejudice is wrong because:
          • It violates God’s plan. (5)
          • It denies the universality of sin. (6)
          • It is inconsistent with the Scriptures. (8)
        • Since Jesus is our model, and we are to become like him as we look into his Word and change our attitudes and conduct, we must consider Jesus’ life in regards to wealth and poverty.
        • Jesus’ life and poverty Jesus’ life and wealth
          Jesus was born to a poor family in a borrowed stable (Luk 2:7) Jesus accepted the priceless gifts from the magi (Mat 2:11)
          Jesus borrowed loaves and fishes from a boy to feed a multitude (Joh 6:9-12) Jesus appealed to Matthew, the tax collector, to be saved (Mat 9:9)
          Jesus borrowed a boat to speak to the multitude on shore (Mat 13:2) Jesus appealed to Nicodemus to be born again (Joh 3)
          Jesus never owned a home or property (Mat 8:20) Jesus accepted the offering of costly perfume to anoint his body (Joh 12:3)
          Jesus borrowed a coin to pay taxes (Mat 17:27) Jesus appealed to the rich young ruler to be saved (Luk 18:18,23)
          Jesus borrowed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem (Mat 21:1-3) Jesus spent time in Zacchaeus’ house (Luk 19:2,5)
          Jesus borrowed a room to celebrate his last passover (Mar 14:12-15) Jesus accepted Joseph of Arimathea as a follower (Mat 27:57)
          Jesus died on a borrowed cross (Barabas’ cross) (Mar 15:7-11)  
          They buried Jesus in a borrowed tomb (Mat 27:59-60)  
                • Jesus ministered to the curse of wealth (Luk 6:24 Luk 18:23)
                • Jesus ministered to the curse of poverty (Luk 4:18)
              • God’s solution to the curse of poverty and the curse of wealth:
                • God does not rob the wealthy to give to the lazy people who will not work.
                  • The Holy Spirit appeals to the heart of the wealthy to give to those who are truly poor and worthy of help.
                    • The Bible has a great many promises in the Bible given to encourage the poor concerning eventual justice.
                      • (Psa 9:18 Job 36:15 Job 5:15 Psa 68:10 Psa 69:33 Psa 72:12-13 Psa 102:17 Isa 11:4)
                • God does not destroy the dignity of the poor by putting them on welfare and relieving them of working for a living. (2The 3:10)
                  • The Holy Spirit appeals to the poor to give to God even if it is small. (Luk 21:2-4)

            • The Test of Faith #11 is this:
              • Do you make value judgments having evil motives in your attitudes and actions concerning others?
              • James comes across very strong to those who fail the test. He says that someone who treats the rich with partiality and mistreats the poor, he blasphemes the name of Jesus. (7)
                • He is talking about people who take advantage of the poor. (6)
                  • The common legal practice at that time was a situation called “summary arrest”.
                    • Money lending was a common racket that charged exorbitant interest. If you were the debtor, a creditor could perform a “summary arrest” and drag you off the street and into court.
              • The believer that passes the test of faith fulfills the “royal law”. (8)
                • What is the royal law?
                  • The Mosaic Law in the Old Testament contained numerous admonitions regarding treating people well, especially the poor. (Exo 22:25 Deu 15:4, 7-11 Deu 24:14-15)
                  • In the New Testament Jesus summarized the whole Mosaic Law in two commandments, of which James partially quotes here.
                    • Read Mat 22:36-40
                      • The royal law is the law of love…love to God and love to man.
                  • The New Testament concept of the Mosaic Law: (9-11)
                    • The New Testament teaches us that to keep the Mosaic Law you would have to keep every part of the law every moment of every day for all your life. If you are successful to keep the law 99% of your life but break one tiny Old Testament commandment just once, you are guilty of breaking all the law.
                      • This is an extremely high standard for to break one law makes you a lawbreaker, guilty before the judge of the universe, and worthy of punishment.
                        • This is the condition of all humans. We are all lawbreakers in need of faith in Jesus Christ to save us.
                • James tells us that if we break the law, we will be judged by “the law of liberty” (12)
                  • The person who does not make allowances for other people’s weaknesses will receive no mercy for himself in the end.
                  • What is the law of liberty?
                    • We saw this phrase in our last lesson in Jam 1:25 and determined that the law of liberty is the Word of God manifested in Jesus Christ and in the Bible for it is Jesus Christ and his Word that sets us free from sin and death.
                      • How does the royal law of love and the law of liberty work together in the Christian life?
                        • Read Joh 14:23 Joh 15:10 2Cor 3:17 and Gal 5:1, 13-14.
                        • Both Paul and James well knew, the believer, freed from sin, is now free in the law of liberty to use his liberty, but not to the point of license. The law of liberty is conditioned by the royal law of love.
                        • In other words, as a believer I am free to go where I want and do what I want as long as the Holy Spirit guides me. Because I love God, I will want, by free-will choice, to obey the Spirit’s leading. I will not want to do anything that will hurt my brother or sister in Christ because the Holy Spirit guides me to love him. Therefore, my love for God and my love for others will limit and restrain my liberty.

                    • “…mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (13)
                      • It is better to let love govern your actions, because then you will extend mercy to others, than to have law govern your actions, because then you will only want to break the laws more. For to struggle against the law, only leads to breaking the law, and finally results in judgment.
            • In conclusion:
              • The rule of law for the Christian is to demonstrate love to all people (The Royal Law). The message of the Christian should be mercy (13)
              • It is better to live the Christian life in freedom guided by love than to live under legalistic man-made laws that lead to judging others.
                • Therefore, to pass the test of faith in this lesson, we must let the Holy Spirit guide and work out the love of God through us.
                  • There is no other way to success!

            James 2:14-26
            This is a self-study. Pleas do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection.

            • Application of Jam 1:1-13
              • Give yourself a grade on how well you are doing on the tests in James so far.


              • How can you strengthen your weaknesses?

                • Preparation for Jam 2:14-26
                  • Read Jam 2:14-26
                    • Explain the apparent differences between Paul’s statement in Gal 2:16 and Jam 2:14.

                    • What part do works play in salvation?

                        • Why are the devils not saved? (Jam 2:19)

                          • Memory verse: Jam 2:26
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          About Joyce

          I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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