The Epistle of James --Part 3

The Epistle of James
Part 3

Earl Miller

James then concluded the conference by referring to a prophecy which stated that the Gentiles would come into blessing, and that God would call out of them a people for His name, after which the tabernacle of David, which was then in ruins, would be built again. Therefore, he concluded that they should not trouble the Gentiles who have turned to God, but that a letter be written to them welcoming them into the Church and freeing them from bondage to the Jewish law. To him they all agreed. Forthwith he wrote that historic document recorded for us in Acts 15:23-29. This letter then brought much rejoicing to all the Gentile churches where it was read.

Judaizing Teachers Continue

This action of the conference, however, did not stop those self-appointed law teachers. They continued their work of teaching respect and obedience to the law to the Gentile Christians. They migrated into the regions where Paul and Barnabas had preached and established Gentile churches. Some of these churches, especially those in Galatia, gave ear to these teachers, assuming that perhaps Paul and Barnabas did not have time to declare to them the whole counsel of God, and therefore these teachers came around. When Paul heard of this, he was stirred to the quick; the very foundation of the gospel which he had preached was being undermined. The Holy Spirit, therefore, used Paul to write two monumental books, Romans and Galatians, which forever separate the principles of law and of grace. These two principles are in direct opposition to each other; they cannot exist together. Grace lays the foundation for a new kind of life, and justification is entirely apart from any works of the law.

Conclusion

When Paul wrote these two books, there was definitely a greater need to define saving faith than to show how it will behave. Paul answers what saving faith is, and James, how it will behave. James is in perfect agreement with Paul as to what saving faith is, and Paul is in agreement with James as to how faith will behave itself.

We conclude by quoting Paul, not James, to show how saving faith behaves. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem to Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).