James 2

P’s and Q’s : James 2


“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?” (verses 1-4)


  1. How do you define favoritism? Where have you shown favoritism in your life?



“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?” (verses 5-7)


  • Why does God not show favoritism to the rich and powerful of this world? How have you been hurt by favoritism?



“If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (verses 8 & 9)


  • We are given the instruction by God to “love your neighbor as yourself”. This first starts with loving who God made you. What are things you do not love about yourself, and what are some things you do love about yourself? Who is one “neighbor” whom you can love better?



“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (verse 10)


  • Why is it that if we sin, we are guilty of breaking all of God’s commands?

All sin is counted equal. When we sin, it shows us our brokenness and that we are separated from God. James recognizes that our human tendency is to dismiss our sin. To sin in this area of favoritism and prejudice, James reveals, makes us just as guilty as if we had systematically broken every single command in the Law.


“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” (verse 14)


  • God inspired James to get right to the heart of the issue: can we be saved by faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection alone? What do you think?



“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” (verses 15 & 16)


  • Have you seen a Christian not live out what he/she believes and treat others poorly? If so, what about their actions concerned you? How have you mistreated others recently?



“But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (verses 18 & 19)


  • How is it that demons are not in heaven right now even though they believe in God? What does this tell you about simply believing in God?


“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.” (verse 21 – 23)


  • What is the story of Abraham and Isaac that is being referred to? How did Abraham’s faith/belief work alongside his works?

This is referring to when Abraham almost sacrificed his son, Isaac, because God asked him to. His faith and belief in God led him to walk it out in actions, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own son. Abraham’s faith saved him, but his actions, his works, demonstrated his faith in God.


“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself … But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? … For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (verses 17, 20, &  26)


  • James gave the same conclusion three times. What is this conclusion? What are areas of your life right now that you are not living out your faith?

True faith translates to actions, and faith without works is dead.



Three Takeaways:

  • Faith in God is not showing favoritism.
  • Faith in God is loving your neighbor as yourself.
  • Faith in God is believing and also acting upon your beliefs.