For your consideration i have added as stand alone page that explains my view of James 2. I pray that it is a benefit to all.
Any comments for it can be added here as I will not allow comment on the page itself.
Why does James not present the Gospel of Grace to the audience whom he is writing to?
Because there is not a book written in the 66 books of the Bible to the Unsaved…
In the Beginning GOD
When they knew God roms 1:21
they didn’t want to know the God they knew..
God never withholds truth to those seeking Truth
rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Salvation (Justification) is Free
Rewards are earned. We must always keep them separate Righly dividing the Word of God.
What benefit is “Faith without works is dead” to a unbeliever?
is that how a soul goes to heaven escaping the lake of fire?
Note: Rewards are yet future.
As God will judge the unbeliever on the basis of his works, which will be obvious evidence of his damnation..
Hence the demons Tremble for its not about the demons believing the demons already know believe God that their fate is sealed. The demons know they rebeled against God that there is no redemption for demons.
The believer will also be judged by his works, which will be obvious evidence of his yieldedness to the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit produces the acceptable Works not self effort.
Here is the snag with the Word Brethren
“that they might be saved”
“ignorant of God’s righteousness”
That we can establish with scripture..
Now how much “True Faith” “Truly Saved”
Work or Works is evidence a soul can know to escape the lake of fire?
rom 10 :1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Please consider James 1:18 and James 4:5. These are directed to everyone he is writing to. It wouldn’t make sense to say unbelievers are also included.
We don’t get to pick and choose which Epistles are written to believers and unbelievers. They are written to believers. Now can the Holy Spirit use that which is written to reach the lost? Certainly. But what verses in James do you think specifically are for lost people? We will have to disagree for now on who the book is written to. He was writing to the saved Jews. I have not seen any commentaries yet suggest otherwise. They aren’t fool proof certainly but the text itself bears witness.
As for that passage in Peter the “us” does apply to all but remember, that principle was being explained to saved people teaching them how God is willing to save all men should the repent (change their mind and trust Him based on the gospel).
Sorry Jim, I like so much of what you are expressing but I can’t agree James would ignore unsaved Jews in his desire to instruct saved ones. Some of his instruction would be ambiguous in that it could prick the conscience of the unsaved while providing instruction to the saved. I think it rather plain some verses fit the unsaved Jew who thought his physical ties to Abraham guaranteed his acceptance with God. And then then the actual opening is addressed to the 12 Tribes of Israel, who most certainly were not all saved. One last point re the Jewish Christian Epistles: 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Who is ‘us’ in this verse? Certainly every saved person has already come to repentance…it has to be Peter is identifying himself with the whole nation of unsaved Jews. Please think about…??? Thanks, Dennis
I did understand what you wrote, but I probably didn’t explain enough in my answer. My point was that James should be seen as specifically written to believers. To say any version otherwise is to do damage to actually comparing scriptures with scriptures. If grace is to stay grace compared with other scriptures then we shouldn’t try to make it so the chapters like James 2, for example, could also be written to unbelievers. Otherwise ammo is given to those who would and do use it incorrectly to distort grace. They’ll use it as tests to see if a person “really” believe or had the right “kind” of faith (usually gifted) to them. But the context we be clear enough in itself to rule that out…. that is that it could also be written to unbelievers.
Your argument that they were reaching out also to unsaved Jews to me does not prove James was written to unbelievers also. The two are not mutually exclusive. It could simultaneously be true that yes they were reaching out to the unsaved in their ministries yet also writing specifically to saved people for instruction in Christian living. Paul, John, Peter, etc wrote letters of instruction to believers. I truly believe that all of those new testament letters compare better together if seen from the standpoint as being written specifically to saved people. That might be a longer discussion though once you start looking into books like Hebrews, I John, or Revelation.
Thanks Jim, for responding. You answers make it clear to me I did not make it clear I believe these Jewish Christian Epistles contain warnings and instructions for both saved and unsaved Jews. I get the idea you believe I was making it all to unsaved Jews.
There can be no doubt there was a continuing out reach to both saved and unsaved Jews in the early Church. Steven was not stoned to death because he was teaching Jewish Christians how to be better believers. Even the Apostle Paul, whose main call was to Gentiles, tried to reach unsaved Jews in the first part of his ministry and in the latter part as well.
It seems you are a stick to the text man, which is good of course, but ‘comparing spiritual with spiritual’ as Paul instructed in 1 Corinthians 1 makes sure immediate context is in sync with the larger context of the whole word of God. Galatians 2 shows the Apostles understand the Holy Spirit’s direction of labor. Paul is going to the Gentiles, and the 11 others are sent to the ‘circumcised’…which most certainly was simply unsaved Jews.
We all need to grow in our discernment, as applying texts meant exclusively for unsaved folk to saved believers has a deadening effect on them, even as applying sanctifying texts to unbelievers might raise false hopes in them.
God bless, Dennis
I finally had time to respond back to you comment so sorry for the wait. You said,
“I believe all of the Jewish Christian epistles are meant for both saved and unsaved Jews, including James, as indicated in this case, by those addressed in the opening line (the 12 tribes).”
(I believe that it can be shown that the books you mention are written to believers and are for their instruction in growth in their Christian walk. Jew and gentile believers alike can benefit from the teachings today and they are applicable to either group. It becomes problematic to make them for unsaved people in any way.)
“It would be strange if there was no outreach in these epistles to the lost sheep of Israel, given the record of same in Acts and the designation of 11 Apostles to the circumcised in Galatians 2.”
Those things do not mean those letters are for unsaved as well.
“The use of the word “brethren” cannot be restricted to Christian usage when a Jewish man is addressing his fellow Jews. And in a practical sense, who were those who thought they were ok spiritually because they were Jews, the offspring of Abraham, except unsaved Jewish people?”
(One might be tempted to think this would be so but upon closer examination of the passage you can see other clues and reasons as why he is using the term brethren not just in an ethnic sense. So please bear with me and see if what I will say makes sense. Why would James tell his brethren to count it all joy if they are tempted? Why tell unbelievers this? Further,, why go on then to say that they (including unbelivers potentially) realize that the trying of their faith worketh patience. So the trying of an unbelievers faith works patience? That does make sense really. Then to say let patience have her perfect work in believers and unbelievers alike? So if unbelievers can be perfect and entire if they are patient? I think you see where I am going with this. The concept doesn’t fit the context if it is to believers and unbelievers. )
“Applying (James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!) to saved individuals is awkward.
(It might seem awkward if you have a preconceived notion or two coming into the text.)
“The verse is much better suited to an unsaved Jew who already believes in the existence of God, and thus smugly secure in his heritage.. The subsequent verses showing works as a “natural” outflow from true faith in Christ are meant to challenge those content with a “dead” faith…simply believing in God’s existence…a fact even demons acknowledge.”
(I don’t believe that this is the case at all. The context is not jewish heritage. You might see more of that thought played out in the story of the rich young ruler. Here the context is works in the Christian life and specifically for these believers the lack thereof. They were bad testimonies. Why? As I have said before, even the demon at least had a response of trembling before the One God. These believers lacked even the care to reach out to those in need in their midst. Yet surely they were somewhat self deceived thinking that they were something special given how they looked down on others. The demon analogy is an especially go rebuke therefore to use on them given that they think they are ok to do what they are doing yet demons of all people were showing more response to faith in something. Granted demons are not able to have salvation. That wasn’t the point.)
“There is much of grace in James and I firmly believe grace alone saves and is not necessarily accompanied by works. Yet it is Christ’s will we produce “fruit” even “much fruit”. To have no fruit, especially after much time in Christ, is no doubt an aberration, a strong indication something is wrong…even a lack of true salvation through faith in Christ alone.”
(Well it seems you are on the right track but still trying to have it both ways. Yes, grace saves but how? It is through faith. That is not a forced faith. It is man’s decision to believe or reject the gospel. It is through faith that it may be by grace as opposed to works.
Yes, it is indeed Christ’s will that we as believers produce much fruit. That is why James needed to rebuke and instruct these believers. Having no fruit is tough to prove but even if this were appearing to be so for a person it could be a result of them being an unbeliever but they could also be a believer that has not been taught or disciple. Maybe they were saved but deceived shortly thereafter bewitched into law keeping legalism or any other ungodly ideology. It did happen to many of the Galatian and the Hebrew believers.)
“One last word on this subject; every discerning Pastor will keep his eye open for people attending his church services who are unsaved and will faithfully include some salvation verses in any message already prepared and prayed over.”
Yes, they should.
“It would be strange indeed if the 11 Apostles sent to the “circumcised” were less discerning and calloused to the needs of their unsaved Jewish brethren.”
“Perhaps, but this was a letter written to instruct erring believers and teach them the right things to do. Look at the book of James again for yourself and count exactly how many things these believers were doing wrong. It is incredible how bad they were and how desperately they needed rebuke and instruction especially once you get to chapter 4.”
“God bless you for your faithful stand for the Gospel of Grace, Dennis Clough”
(Thank you Dennis for that statement. I pray that you keep on studying. For you I think it key to know who the book is written to. That helps take care of the paradoxes and everything will start to make more sense. At least try it anyway. Try reading through Hebrews, James, and the three Johns from that standpoint that they are all written to believers and see how things might be different looking at it that way. Thankfully we both have the same Word to look at and consider.)
if i may..
Does a soul need to be saved to understand the 10 commandments in their own language?
were the Jews of the old testament saved in Christ ?
As believer souls in Christ Jesus fruit production is a byproduct of abiding in Christ. we bare fruit not produce it.
For without me you can do nothing.
john 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Thanks Dennis for stopping by. I’ll respond later.
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
I believe all of the Jewish Christian epistles are meant for both saved and unsaved Jews, including James, as indicated in this case, by those addressed in the opening line (the 12 tribes). It would be strange if there was no outreach in these epistles to the lost sheep of Israel, given the record of same in Acts and the designation of 11 Apostles to the circumcised in Galatians 2.
Gal. 2:7: But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
The use of the word “brethren” cannot be restricted to Christian usage when a Jewish man is addressing his fellow Jews. And in a practical sense, who were those who thought they were ok spiritually because they were Jews, the offspring of Abraham, except unsaved Jewish people?
Applying (James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!) to saved individuals is awkward. The verse is much better suited to an unsaved Jew who already believes in the existence of God, and thus smugly secure in his heritage.. The subsequent verses showing works as a “natural” outflow from true faith in Christ are meant to challenge those content with a “dead” faith…simply believing in God’s existence…a fact even demons acknowledge.
There is much of grace in James and I firmly believe grace alone saves and is not necessarily accompanied by works. Yet it is Christ’s will we produce “fruit” even “much fruit”. To have no fruit, especially after much time in Christ, is no doubt an aberration, a strong indication something is wrong…even a lack of true salvation through faith in Christ alone.
One last word on this subject; every discerning Pastor will keep his eye open for people attending his church services who are unsaved and will faithfully include some salvation verses in any message already prepared and prayed over.
It would be strange indeed if the 11 Apostles sent to the “circumcised” were less discerning and calloused to the needs of their unsaved Jewish brethren.
God bless you for your faithful stand for the Gospel of Grace, Dennis Clough
Thank Sam. I am glad it was helpful
An excellent explanation of James 2, as it has caused so much confusion and problems. Explained this way its so simple and clear.