James is explaining discipleship, not eternal salvation; recurring subjects -- trials, wisdom, lust, saved by works, death, tongue, doer of the word, and hearer only. Key verse: Jam 1:12 -- blessed is the one who endures temptation. Active idea in the Greek -- triumphant endurance -- receiving the Crown of Life for loving the Lord. The plan and purpose of God is working in us through suffering. Churches scattered from Saul's persecution (Act 8:1-4, Jam 1:1-4). "Patience has its perfect work in the school of delay" (E.M. Bounds). We are God's masterpiece (2Co 5:17, Eph 2:8-10, Gal 2:20). Illustrated by Rom 5:1-5, Paul's writings complement James'. "Hope" is confident expectation (1) the power of the word gives us assurance (Jam 1:21 ); (2) hope is purifying (1Jn 3:3); (3) providential plan of God (Rom 8:28); (4) living hope (1Pe 1:3); (5) the promise of God (Joh 14:3); (6) the blessed hope (Tit 2:13, 1Jo 2:28). Suffering reveals a need (Jam 1:5-8). Wisdom is the ability to live life God's way. God gives wisdom in accordance with need. If you've been already been given it, God expects a step of faith -- "the answer will come as you go". When wisdom comes (Luk 3:5, 1Co 1:30) it takes the lowly and lifts them, and takes the proud and humbles them. "Let" -- He wants us to permit Him to unleash His power in our lives (Col 3:15-16; Isa 30:18). "Waiting on the Lord" means "Let God have His way". Everyone - high or low -- is equal in Christ. "Count it all joy" knowing 7 things: (1) Providence of God (Jam 1:1-4, Rom 8:28); (2) Power of prayer (Jam 1:5-8, 1Jo 5:14-15); (3) Position in Christ (Jam 1:9-11, Col 3:1-4); (4) Perversion of sin (Jam 1:13-15, 2Co 11:3); (5) Purpose in His plan (Jam 1:16-18, Rom 8:29); (6) Power of word (Jam 1:19-21, Rom 1:14, Rom 1:17); (7) Practice as a disciple (Jam 1:22-27, Heb 5:14).
Conference notes for this series can be found [HERE]
Given a the Washington DC Conference in November 2007 this 8-part study in James examines our faith. We are to be 'doers' and not 'hearers' only. By this we are 'justified' before men (not God). In this way James complements (and precedes) Paul writings.