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INTRODUCTION JAMES CHAPTER 1
Chapter 1 seems to comprise several general types of subjects. The first subject is the general subject of temptation and trial. (1:1–18) The third subject is God wanting Christians to overcome their trials and be obedient to the Word of God. The fourth subject is James’ warning to Christians about neglecting God’s Word. (1:19-21) The fifth covers a contrast of replies to God’s direction. (1:22–25) The sixth deals with what evidence we should see if one is really listening to God’s Word, as those with genuine faith will manifest their willingness to obey with actions of kindness and personal sincerity. (1:26-24) The true Christian has his origins in God, which will be their source of purity and truth, which will result in their being humble and unassuming. (1:16-27)
It is clear that 1:1-15 is directed toward those suffering some sort of hardship, which they needed to get through with their faith intact, so James was moved by the Holy Spirit to give them the counsel and support they needed.
There was the risk of declining in despair from grief. This would lead to moaning and complaining. This would quickly lead to spiritual shipwreck if left unchecked. It would then be all too easy to slip off into blaming God as being directly responsible for their hard times and for their sin.
1:1: the salutation (greeting).
1:2-4: Dealing with temptations or trials. The Christians were enlightened by James that they need not be sorrowful over and difficulties they face over their faith but instead joyful. They had the opportunity to be faithful to God in bad times when it was extremely difficult to do, unlike in good times when it is easy to do so.
1:5-7: If these difficult times came to be more than they thought they could bear, or they lacked the wisdom to make good decisions in times of distress, they were to ask God, seeking his guidance. If they asked in faith, without any being tossed to and fro, their prayers would be answered.
1:8: They need to appreciate the significance and power of having a steadfast character and enduring, especially as the difficult times intensify. They needed to be stable in faith to their principles and possess one hope in life, remaining faithful to the end. (Matt. 24:13) A man who was blown about in his faith would repeatedly talk about or think about the pain of the difficulties. This would make it more difficult for him to make any spiritual progress, leading to a shipwreck of faith.
1:9-11: A word of support and help to those suffering from ever-changing difficulties. Regardless of the level of suffering that may come with them, it should be handled with rejoicing. They need to keep in mind the condition of being imperfect humans, that instability was a common trait that could appear under duress. This is especially true for the rich person, who was quick to murmur and complain when their life went through changes. They need to remember that all worldly goods will lose their splendor eventually and fade away.
1:12: Every man who can remain faithful through the difficulties of human imperfection, Satan’s world is blessed, as he will be rewarded greatly in the end.
1:13-15: In the throes of difficulty are the temptation to sin, as their weakest moments, the greatest temptation may come before them. It might be tempting when suffering so much and then sin on top of that causing depression and anxiety, to blame God, to talk badly about God. They might allow their minds to feel for a moment that it was God who caused them to suffer and tempted them to sin. It was God who placed the temptation before them, which resulted in their wrongdoing. But this is not so, and they must prayerfully fight against such foolish thinking. The reality is, they are mentally bent toward evil (Gen 6:5; 8:21) because Adam sinned, and they inherited that sin. (Rom. 5:12) It is they who have a treacherous heart that they cannot fully know. (Jer. 17:9) They have the natural desire to do wrong. (Romans) Thus, every mental inclination toward wrongdoing began in their hearts, which they then cultivated or entertained until the sinned.
1:16-18: Every perfect and good gift comes from God, the Father of lights. He has begotten us, and he will exult us above all other creatures if we remain faithful. God is not the author of sin, but instead, the author of all things good in us now and will be more embodied after Christ’s return.
1:19-21: The Word of God can make us humble, willing, and obedient to the Father’s will for us. It can enable us to set aside any mental disposition against the truth that this wicked, satanic age might be able to create in us. Anything that might corrupt our inner person can be humbly handled if we just transplant the Word of God or graft the Word of God over our heart.
1:23-25: To graft the Word of God over our heart, we need to be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only.
1:26: If we think that we are religious (spiritual, moral, holy, faithful, godly, devout) and cannot control what we say, we are worthless.
1:27: Being a religious (spiritual, moral, holy, faithful, godly, devout) person requires us to be ready and willing to help those in need if it is within our power, as we also remain no part of the world.