The epistle is not intended to be a primer on Christian theology but a mosaic of admonitions on how to order one's life in keeping with a professed faith in God. Belief in the existence of a God who enters into the experiences of people according to his wisdom and grace is assumed. God demands recognition and requires accountability on the part of humankind. He makes himself available and responds to the sincere appeals of the believer offered in prayer. He hallows the adverse experiences of life and ensures peace and goodwill among people who walk before him in humble faith.
The Messiah has come in the person of Jesus. Through him a believer is enabled to relate to the law with new power and unaccustomed freedom. Although man was created in the image of God, he has fallen into sin and permits the incubation of sin when he yields to his lower impulses despite his understanding of God's will. God, however, provides a new quality of life for those who conquer sin.
This epistle lends itself to the Wesleyan focus on holiness of life because of its preoccupation with conduct. Adam Clarke sees this perspective where he comments, “Be then, to the Lord, what He required His sacrifices to be; let your whole heart, your body, soul and spirit, be sanctified to the Lord of Hosts, that He may fill you with all His fulness” (Clarke, 6:760).
The Wesleyan emphasis on conversion is found in “the word planted in you” (1:21). Clarke interprets James' definition of pure religion in this light: “Religion is of such a nature that no man can learn it but by experience; he who does not feel the doctrine of God to be the power of God to the salvation of his soul, can neither teach religion, nor act according to its dictates, because he is an unconverted, unrenewed man” (Clarke, 6:765).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.