Last night we continued looking at James. We talked about the idea that it is a practical book. It deals with practical topics (the tongue, materialism, trials, partiality) and not a lot of doctrine (does not mention baptism or even the cross).
Another definition of the word practical is having to do with the actual doing rather than theory and ideas. As we look closer at the book it is apparent that this what James is driving at:
Be DOERS, not just HEARERS (1:22)
Someone THINKS THEY ARE RELIGIOUS but doesn’t control their tongue. (1:26)
True, pure RELIGION is visiting the fatherless and widows and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world (1:27)
Someone has the FAITH of JESUS but is a respecter of persons. (2:1)
In fact, the best known verse in the book should probably be looked at this way: A man says he has FAITH but does not have WORKS (2:14, 26)
In chapter 3 he will talk about a man who blesses God, then curses men (3:9-10).
Altogether the message is we can HEAR the Bible, be active in a RELIGIOUS organization, and say we have FAITH in Jesus, but none of that means anything unless we are living like Jesus.
What does James conclude about the faith of the man or woman if their religion and faith is not practical? (2:26)