In this first chapter of the biblical text we have found the thrust of James's entire letter: calling upon Christians to live with moral urgency, serious holiness and unconditional obedience to the word of God. By putting the two halves of the chapter together we also establish the context for the moral earnestness of the entire letter: complete confidence in and reliance upon the grace of God. James is so earnest for moral purity in 1:19-27 because of the theology he has taught in 1:1-18. It is the thorough purity of God (never tempted, never tempting, never changing) that calls us to holiness; it is the generous giving of God (giving wisdom without finding fault, giving the crown of life, giving every good and perfect gift, giving us birth) that moves us to holiness. Furthermore, going back to the very beginning of James's message, this pursuit of holiness is not an oppressive burden but a task of joy, because of the great worth of the goal that God's grace has made possible. God has called Christians to become mature and complete, as firstfruits of all he created. This is so high a calling and so valuable an attainment that we may consider even trials along the way pure joy!
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!