Book of James: A closer look
KEY VERSE: 1:2-3, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
PICTURE OF CHRIST: All of us can truly fellowship together, young or old, poor or rich, because we’re all in Christ. He accepts and includes all of us, as James teaches, especially in chapter 1.
General outline of the book
1. Chapter One: Temptations and Trials Believers Face a. Joy and wisdom found in trials and temptations i. God understands and gives wisdom to those who ask for it. ii. Confidence only in your own wisdom leads to folly/failure. b. Overcoming temptation i. Those who meet trials in the right attitude will grow in understanding. ii. He wants us all to be fine creatures. 2. Chapter Two: Faith and Works a. The dangers of partiality i. Favoritism destroys love. ii. Poor people should not be ignored. iii. God welcomes people into His Kingdom regardless of social status. iv. The rule for Christians is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” v. Christians are not in bondage to the Law of Moses. b. Faith and works in the Christian life i. Faith is something that is practiced. ii. Faith requires evidence by behavior. iii. Abraham was justified by faith when he completely trusted God. He proved his belief through obedience. iv. Faith is not a set of beliefs, but the actions that are produced by such beliefs. 3. Chapter Three: Wisdom a. The untamable tongue i. James warns not to be too ambitious to be teachers in the Church. 1. Instructing others, then failing themselves, will receive greater judgment. ii. One who can control their tongue can control their whole self. iii. All the wrong within a person shows itself through an uncontrolled tongue. iv. People can tame wild animals, but yet, cannot tame their own tongue. v. It is inconsistent to use the tongue to bless God and curse people. b. Two types of Wisdom i. Spiritual Wisdom 1. Actions are characterized by humility and uprightness. 2. The farmer who sows a good seed can expect a good harvest. ii. Worldly Wisdom 1. Actions are characterized by jealousy, selfishness, and dishonesty. 4. Chapter Four: Pride and Humility a. Pride i. God opposes those who are prideful. b. True Humility i. God strengthens those who, in their humility, draw near to Him. c. Boasting i. Those who have pleasure in their ungodliness rejoice in their own folly. 5. Chapter Five: Patience and Prayer a. Rich oppressors will have their judgment one day i. Many Christians were poor and oppressed by rich oppressors. b. Patience and perseverance i. If we’re patient in times of trouble, we learn a valuable lesson God is trying to teach us. ii. Ask elders to pray for you if you’re sick, because power comes through prayer. c. Ministering to the Body of Christ i. If Christians confess their faults to one another, they can pray more intelligently for each other’s needs. ii. Christians should be concerned for all people, not just those “inside.”
History for when the apostles gathered
Acts 15:1-35. The Apostles were gathered in Jerusalem to be representatives from Antioch, because the Jews were teaching that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. These men claimed to have authority from James, however, James later denied this accusation, and therefore, the teaching of the Judaisers was contrary to the Gospel. At this time, James was presiding over the first council, where he agreed with Peter, Paul, and Barnabas – that the events they were witnessing was the establishment of the Kingdom of God, which was foretold by Old Testament Prophets. Therefore, James told them that no attempt should be made to put the Gentiles under the Jewish Law, and suggested that the Gentiles would help if they would not engage in practices that the Jews thought were offensive.
Two of the Apostles had the name, James. The less known one was James the son of Alphaeus (as we see in Matthew 10:3, “Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.”). Then, the other Apostle James was the elder brother of the Apostle John (as we see in Matthew 10:2, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.”).
Next, there was James the brother of Jesus. This man was not an Apostle, but rather, he called himself a servant of God, as we see in his book, the Book of James. His relation with Jesus is obvious in Matthew 13:55-56, “Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” This is also proof that Mary and Joseph had relations after Jesus was birthed, to produce more sons and daughters. However, Jesus was Mary’s first son, as we see in Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” 1:20, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” 1:25, “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” In addition to note: Isaiah had prophesied this birth, and spoke that it would be a virgin who would birth the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
When James talked about the Laws (of Moses and Love)
• 1:25, “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.” ◦ Man shall be blessed if they read the perfect law, and be a doer of the work – not just a hearer. • 2:8, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” ◦ The royal law is to love your neighbor as yourself, and doing this, you will do well – especially in magnifying God. The royal law came from one that is royal, for without the royal blood of Jesus, the Law of Love wouldn’t mean anything. However, since He died on the cross doing it out of love, He can be regarded as one who perfectly fulfilled even His own law of love (because, He loved those that slayed Him and asked the Father to forgive them, so that they wouldn’t end up hurt). • 2:9, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” ◦ This shows that if you have favoritism or other partiality toward people, then you commit sin, because you have broken the law (which was mentioned in the previous verse). This is similar to what is said of the Mosaic Law, because breaking any part of that Law would make you a transgressor. • 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” ◦ This is a cross-reference to Deuteronomy 27:26, that if you have broken one law, you would be guilty of transgressing all of the laws. This could mean that if you have broken the royal law as mentioned before, you have broken the entire law, because that was what Jesus gave, which is the fulfilling of the Law. If you don’t have love, however, then you’ve broken the whole law because you haven’t fulfilled it through love. • 2:11, “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” ◦ This is in relation to the previous verses, and serves as an example, that if you commit no adultery, but still kill someone, you are a transgressor. Although, it is clear, that if you were to kill someone, this is the worst act of anti-love, and therefore, would transgress the royal Law of Love. • 2:12, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” ◦ Overall, Christians are not in bondage to the Law of Moses, but they are in “God’s Law of Liberty” – which is within them, and should cause them to love others. • 4:11, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” ◦ *(See below for pondering.) • 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” ◦ *For verses 11-12: We need to change our unkind talk about other people, for this is an example of pride, that instead of obeying the Law, the person claims the right to judge others. However, the right to judge another belongs to God alone, for He is the lawgiver, not us.
Comparison of wisdom
• True Wisdom ◦ If anyone lacks wisdom, ask of God, who gives it to men liberally. ◦ Those who come to trials in the right attitude will grow in understanding. ◦ Ones who control their speech and express their faith in acts of kindness. • False Wisdom ◦ A double-minded man (is unstable in all his ways). ◦ People who have confidence in their own wisdom. ▪ Doubt His ability to help. ◦ Have no desire for the character that He wants to produce in them. ◦ Have ill-tempers.
• Characteristics in Proverbs 8:13, 9:10 ◦ Hate evil, pride, and arrogancy. ◦ Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Those that fear God will gain wisdom. ◦ The knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The characteristics defined in Proverbs are rather blunt, whereas, James puts things nicely. For example, Proverbs says to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy – however, James says those that control their speech and express their faith in acts of kindness. False wisdom involves ill-tempers, which can be the result of those that don’t control their own speech. One needs to have understanding, which can stem from coming into trials with the right attitude (as we see in James), and this is through knowledge of the holy (as we see in Proverbs) – that He is with us and helping us. Lastly, it all depends on whether one is willing to learn from God, for if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God (as we see in James), and that we should fear the Lord as it is the beginning of wisdom (as we see in Proverbs).
How James saw GOD (1:17)
• God does not change. • God is the Father of lights. • There is no shadow of turning in God.
Is it holiness?
• Three things that characterizes a person who shows the righteousness of God ◦ Be swift to hear ◦ Slow to speak ◦ Slow to wrath
In being swift to hear, I would try to listen first and ponder for a moment, and then reply, if I find it necessary. I would also show mercy as much as possible, so that I do not become angry – and this includes being graceful for people that make bad decisions. Being slow to wrath involves more than just non-violence, it involves watching your temper. I do have good character, I believe, and I characterize these things – but I don’t see why not on making them even better.
The deal with the Laws
Instead of teaching only the Law of Moses, the Scribes and Pharisees added a bunch of laws of their own. They seemed to have wanted to make a display of their religious devotion by wearing decorations large on their “long clothing” of God’s Law written on them. It seemed that they also wanted to be recognized and quickly took the most important seats, “the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts.” They would also try to appear even more religious with their long prayers, but yet, they took advantage of and oppressed the poor, “devour widows’ houses.” They will be in greater damnation, however. They seemed to focus on the minor details of the law, but ignored the most important teachings of it. Jesus had to have known that they were going about it all wrong.
What does James have to say about all this? Well, they fail his test of genuine faith badly, as we see in James 1:26-27, for he says, “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. 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.” People are instructed to: 1. Have a bridled tongue, 2. Visit the fatherless and widows, and 3. Keep self unspotted from the world. The Scribes and Pharisees noted in Mark 12:38-40 go around speaking loudly with salutations, refuse to visit the widows (they take advantage of the poor), and they try to make themselves appear important by wearing long clothing with lots of writing of God’s Law, getting the best seat in the house, and praying loudly to get people to notice how “holy” they are. All of these things the Scribes and Pharisees do, Jesus did not like. Truly religious people are those who control their speech, and express their own faith in acts of kindness.
James mentions crowns, what other crowns are there?
• Crown of Life ◦ James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” ▪ Those that endure temptation, especially with tried, shall receive a great reward – eternal happiness…glorious. ◦ Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” ▪ Even though troubles and tribulations come, he shall be with us, and if we are faithful unto death, we will receive a crown of life – a true victory. ◦ Revelation 3:11, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” ▪ Be patient for His return and keep on believing until, so that you do not lose your reward (your crown). • Crown of Thorns ◦ Matthew 27:29, “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (also in Mark 15:17; John 19:2) ▪ Here, Jesus was given a crown of thorns on top of his head, to which, He was given the title, “King of the Jews.” These thorns were meant as punishment or further torture, and further mockery of the Lord. ◦ John 19:5, “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” ▪ Jesus surely wore the crown of thorns, and bore the mockery with His own dignity, which is part of the shame of the Cross. At least Pilate acknowledged Him fairly; however, that crown was a source of mockery and torture. • Corruptible Crown ◦ 1 Corinthians 9:25, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” ▪ The context of this is within “our life is like a race” Scripture (9:24-27) and therefore, many men strive for mastery in this life – and end up tangled in their own desires, rather than God’s desires. It is best to withhold our own (potentially sinful) desires, and then follow God’s desires – lest we get a corruptible crown (a crown or title that can be easily broken or taken away; or a bad reputation). • Friends are a Crown ◦ Philippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” ▪ Here, Paul notes that his friends (dearly beloved) were his joy and crown. He valued them more than some decorative ornament or costly jewels. He knew the best crown were those that He loved. • Crown of Rejoicing ◦ 1 Thessalonians 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” ▪ Here, Paul uses crown symbolically as he did in Philippians 4:1. We have the crown of eternal life, and He is our glory and joy. We shall rejoice at His coming, is what they want to declare. • Crown of Righteousness ◦ 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” ▪ A crown of righteousness shall be given (at judgment) as those who are righteous shall be exalted or rewarded. At His appearing (Christ’s), a crown of righteousness shall be for His People. • Crown of Glory and Honor ◦ Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” ▪ Jesus humbled Himself so low even unto death, that He was raised up and placed at the right hand of the Father, where He has the crown of Glory and Honor – the only one whom deserves such crown. • Crown of Glory ◦ 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” ▪ When Jesus Christ comes, a crown of glory that doesn’t fade away shall be given to His People, who are of God’s Heritage. • Crown(s) of Gold ◦ Revelation 4:4, “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” ▪ Those elders that are sitting in white clothing had crowns of gold atop their head – as John had seen in the vision. ◦ Revelation 6:2, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” ▪ The one on the white horse was likely given a gold crown, to which, helped equipped him to go forth and conquer. ◦ Revelation 9:7, “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.” ▪ Not actual crowns here, but what looked like crowns of gold, for they were conquerors. ◦ Revelation 14:14, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” ▪ That one that sat upon the cloud like unto the Son of man had a golden crown atop his head. • Crown of Twelve Stars and seven crowns ◦ Revelation 12:1-3, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” ▪ The woman who gives birth to a son symbolizes Israel who produced the Messiah. Israel is being pictured here. All Christians are proclaimed now as God’s People. We see two different crowns in this verse actually: • The Crown of Twelve Stars upon the head of the woman. • Seven crowns upon the great dragon’s heads. • Ten crowns ◦ Revelation 13:1, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” ▪ The beast that rose up out of the sea had ten crowns upon his horns. • Many Crowns ◦ Revelation 19:12, “His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” ▪ Jesus is being described in such a majestic way, and He had many crowns. But of course, He deserves many crowns, for He is glorious and He is making His entrance into the battle here, as we see.
Remember, we are to be rooted in love
Matthew 22:37-40 and Romans 13:8-10. How these two Scriptures fit together would be the factor of loving one another. It involves loving your neighbor as you love yourself, for love is the fulfilling of the Law. As it compares to James’ teaching in chapter 2, we see people involved in favoritism, to which, poor people would be ignored, and a person’s certain wealth status or importance should not be a reason to give them important places in the Church. Standards of judgment in the Church are dissimilar to societal judgments, because people in the Church must be treated equally, regardless of age, sex, social status, wealth, etc. As we see in verse 8, fulfilling the royal law is to love your neighbor as yourself. However, those who show favoritism break Moses’ Law, because they have failed to love their neighbors as themselves. God’s Law of Liberty or Law of Love should cause people to love others.
Matthew 7:1-27 with James 2:1-26 comparison
• Jesus speaks that judging people causes them to invite judgment upon themselves. ◦ James explains that being partial or having favorites causes love to diminish. This is because people judge others, and choose between whom they want to love or help. ▪ God welcomes people in to His Kingdom regardless of status. ▪ People are to love their neighbors as themselves, just as Jesus taught. • Jesus taught that helping our neighbor is good in providing for their need. Why would God not do the same, He questions. ◦ James taught that poor people should not be ignored, and as we are provided for, we should help others – and not discriminate like the Scribes and Pharisees have done. • Jesus taught that some teachers deceive people and don’t set a good example. ◦ James taught that Christians are not in bondage to the Law of Moses. ◦ James also taught that some would teach that works along would lead to God’s goodness. ▪ Faith is something that is practiced and requires evidence by behavior. Faith is paired with works. • Jesus taught that many deceive themselves also by acting like a Christian, but not having true faith and repentance. However, if you’re connected with God, faith and repentance will come – especially as you deny yourself and follow Him! ◦ Those that deceive themselves and others will have destruction. ◦ Those that deny themselves and follow Christ will have life. ▪ James speaks that Abraham was justified by faith when he completely trusted God. • Abraham proved his devotion through obedience. ◦ James also teaches that faith is not just beliefs, but actions produced by such beliefs.
Making your speech holy
• Proverb 16:27 ◦ An ungodly man digs up evil, and in his lips, there is as a burning fire. ◦ This is interpreted as: those who speak unpleasant or abusive speech create trouble only, and can lead themselves or others into destruction. • Proverb 18:21 ◦ Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it shall eat the fruit. ◦ This is interpreted as: Words can bring good or bad to a person, depending on their meaning and how they are spoken. • Proverb 3:14 (or was it James 3:14 – it is unclear in the question and in the verse itself:) ◦ “For the merchandise of it (wisdom) is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” • James 3:14 ◦ If someone has bitter envying and strife in their heart, they shouldn’t glory in their hearts about their own wisdom or lie against the truth • Isaiah 55:10-11 ◦ The word that comes from God will not return void, but it shall accomplish what He pleases, and prosper where He sends it.
In James 3:15, James speaks that the wisdom that is expressed in the previous verse is an ungodly kind; not coming from above, and is earthly, sensual, and devilish/evil. We see in Luke 16:13 that no one can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve God and mammon, and you can’t properly receive God’s Wisdom, if you have your own (or earthly) that you’re depending upon.
Where there is envy and strife, there is confusion and evil work. Many people try to achieve their goals and many actions are because of jealousy, selfishness, and/or dishonesty – to which, can bring confusion and chaos, because if it doesn’t come from God, it will result in the wrong actions, and in the end, will bring destruction. We need good spiritual wisdom, which is by humility and uprightness. We see also in 1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul teaches that we’re yet carnal, and there is among us envying, strife, and divisions. People are not behaving according to the wisdom of God, but rather, they are of the wisdom of the world – and their fighting and divisions are proof.
1 John 2:16 tells us that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are all in the world, and they are not of God (or His Wisdom). James tells us that the bitter envying and strife we have is not of God, but of the world – and that there is confusion and every evil work. The only good way, James asserts, is through wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. God’s Wisdom is heavily contrasted from worldly wisdom, because the world has always been rebellious and disobedient to God’s Ways.
Ways to deal with sin
1. Command: Submit yourselves to God. 2. Command: Resist the devil. ◦ 1. Promise: And he [the devil] will flee from you. 3. Command: Draw nigh to God. ◦ 2. Promise: And He will draw nigh to you. 4. Command: Cleanse your hands. 5. Command: Purify your hearts. 6. Command: Be afflicted. 7. Command: Mourn and weep. 8. Command: Let your laughter be turned to mourning. 9. Command: [Let your] joy [be turned] to heaviness. 10. Command: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord. ◦ 3. Promise: He gives grace to the humble. (verse 6) ◦ 4. Promise: And He shall lift you up.
Quick notes on the early and latter rains
Many Christians were poor and oppressed, and some of them were probably farmers who suffered because of rich landowners. However, we see in James 5:7-8 that James encourages them to wait patiently for the Lord’s return just as the farmer waits patiently for the rain that will bring final harvest for his crops. God is using such trials to work patience through early and latter rains: sometimes, things are troublesome and we have trials, however, God will bring mourning to joy, sadness to laughter – and give us hope for the future through a great harvest (verse 11). An example of this that James gave was about Elijah (we see in James 5:17-18, which references 1 Kings 17:1, 18:45), that Elijah prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and therefore it didn’t rain for three and a half years. Then, he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth fruit (a harvest). Here, Elijah prophesied that no rain would come, and that a famine was on its way. Later, he prophesied again for rain that would come, and it came – to which, a harvest came also. The people in that time had to wait for a long time for more rain to come, but when it did, it also made alive a bountiful harvest.
1. Is any among you afflicted? 2. Is any merry? 3. Is any sick among you?
James spoke of these, because he is teaching them that their prayers shall avail – for we are all called to pray for one another.
Psalm 32. David would acknowledge his sin to God, and confess. He then had the assurance of forgiveness from God. He also prays that troubles would not come nigh unto him, and he is assured of the Lord’s safekeeping. David says to trust in the Lord, for many sorrows shall come, but He will lead us to rejoicing. James teaches that if you have committed sins, you shall be forgiven – just as David prayed and confessed his sins, he was forgiven. If you pray for others’ suffering, your prayer will avail, for the prayer shall save the sick and the Lord will raise him up.
Thinking over this book - more notes
It seems that James had a gift of love and teaching, that he could minister out of a servant heart, and therefore, do God’s Will. Christians were so devoted to the Law, that James wanted to unbind them and bring them to the truth of God’s grace and love, so they realize that love is the fulfilling of the Law. Loving your enemies is very important, as Jesus taught, and James was major teacher in this.
Through his teachings, James radically taught to love your enemies, and that includes being careful not to judge others, sticking to God’s Will, praying for others, and keep up the faith so it changes the thinking and behavior. Christians should live positively for God, even in an ungodly society, and be able to do His Will; sacrificing their own desires. James was so devoted to encouraging others in their trials and difficulties that God is with them and answering their prayers, that we can learn to put our faith into practice instead of going through the motions, to avoid worldly ambitions and to focus on God’s desires, and then a call to be patient and to pray. James emphasizes what daily Christianity should look like, and that’s why many have called this a manual for Christians, because it packs so much wisdom into concise statements, and is catered to the early Christians who needed to learn how to be more Christlike and get away from the Law. He appears to talk a lot about OT wisdom, prophets, and other truths in the OT – but then, he bathes them in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teachings to show people what was old, and that it has now become new.
The measure of a true Christian is by expressing love through everything that they do, and showing people, that God is real by setting an example. James advocated and demonstrated an example of love, and even poured out other examples to show us that love is the only way that works, and that is what Jesus has been saying all along. Many people miss what Jesus has been saying all along, because they’re too focused on the OT teachings and worried about the wrath of God, instead of looking upon Jesus, who told us that we fulfill the Law through the Great Commandment. It is because of Him that we have peace, joy, love, and righteousness. These are all parts of the Kingdom of God, and we have inherited them because of the work of Christ. He reasonably provided a way for us to enter into the Kingdom of God, even though that we are imperfect.
James, Paul, and Peter were just a few of the many that have tried to pry new Christians away from the Jewish ways, and other blasphemies of God – and help transform them into new creatures in Christ. That is, ones that become lovers of God and of men, and actually serve from a genuine heart; putting faith into practice. What a marvelous revelation of His love, just through the Book of James. I would recommend new Christians to study this book, along with the other books of course, but especially this one as one of the firsts (after the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John), because it will show you what Jesus has truly done for us to transform us from slavery to sonship, and that He is doing it on a daily basis to transform our minds into thinking more like Him and less like the world. James pressed that people would pry their minds out of the world’s desires, and focus only on God’s desires and Will, because it is best. God’s Will is Jesus, and Jesus is the truest expression of love, no doubt about it!