The Epistle of St. James is a highly important work of the New Testament. The key concept of the necessity of works along with faith is expressed in this Letter. In addition, the Epistle of St. James is rich in content, such as the importance of living God’s word, being impartial, controlling the tongue, and the danger of worldliness and wealth.
Trials as a Privilege
St. James tells us to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, because it is through the test of our faith that we develop perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.
Pray with Confidence
We need to be wise. If you find that you are lacking in wisdom, you should ask God for the gift of wisdom. God who gives generously to all without finding fault will grant your prayer. However our request must be made with faith. We must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
The Lot of the Rich
It is right that those in humble circumstances should glory in being lifted up, and the rich in being brought low. The rich will last no longer than the wild flower; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, its flower falls, its beauty is lost. It is the same with the rich: in the middle of a busy life, the rich will wither.
Blessed is anyone who perseveres when trials come. Such a person is of proven worth and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him. Never, when you are being put to the test, say, ‘God is tempting me’; God cannot be tempted by evil, and he does not put anybody to the test. Everyone is put to the test by being attracted and seduced by that person’s own wrong desire. Then the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches full growth, it gives birth to death.
God is Constant and we are the First Fruits of God’s Creation
Don’t be deceived; every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.