The works James requires are not done apart from faith but done in faith, not done instead of faith but done because of faith. Faith is the underlying stance of Christian life; deeds are the way of life; becoming mature and complete is the goal of Christian life. James cannot be charged with opposing deeds to faith, since he does not say, "I will show you deeds instead of faith." Rather, he contends for a showing of both faith and deeds: I will show you my faith by what I do. He does not object to faith; he objects only to faith not accompanied by action. Simply stated, he wants Christians to have faith that works.
James's logical argument in 2:14-18 can be outlined in four parts, so that conclusions can be drawn about his meaning.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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