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The Covenant News

**The Covenant News is the Monthly Newsletter of New Covenant Church**



Senior Pastor
Dr. Willie J. Smith Jr.


INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JAMES

In the Book of James he declares that Faith without works cannot be called faith. Faith without works is dead, and a dead faith is worse than no faith at all. Faith must work; it must produce; it must be visible. Verbal faith is not enough; mental faith is insufficient. Faith must be there, but it must be more. It must inspire action.

Throughout this epistle to the Jewish believers, James integrates true faith and everyday practical experience by stressing that true faith must manifest itself in works of faith.

Faith endures trials. Trials come and go, but a strong faith will face them head on and develop endurance. Faith understands temptations. It will not allow us to consent to our lust and slide into sin. Faith obeys the Word. It will not merely hear and not do. Faith produces doers. Faith yields no prejudice. For James, faith and favoritism cannot coexist. Faith displays itself in works. Faith is more than mere words; it is more than knowledge; it is demonstrated by obedience; and it responds to the promises of God.

Faith controls the tongue. According to James this small but powerful part of the body must be held in check. Faith can do it because faith acts wisely. It gives us the ability to choose wisdom that is heavenly and to shun wisdom that is earthly. Faith produces separation from the world but submission to God. It provides us with the ability to resist the devil and draw near to God. Finally, James tells us that faith waits patiently for the coming of the Lord and that through trouble and trial it stops all complaining.

KEY WORDS IN THE BOOK OF JAMES:

Faith that works Throughout his epistle, James develops the theme of the characteristics of true faith. He effectively uses these characteristics as a series of tests to help his readers evaluate the quality of their relationship with God. The purpose of this work is practical because James seeks to challenge the believer to examine the quality of their daily lives in terms of attitudes and actions.

A genuine faith will produce real changes in a person's conduct and character, but the absence of change is a symptom of a dead faith!

The Book of James consist of 3 parts:

The Test of Faith (chapter 1:1-18) The purpose of the tests and the source of temptations.

The Characteristics of Faith (chapters 1:19--5:6) Faith obeys the Word, removes discrimination, proves itself by works controls the tongue, produces wisdom, humility, and dependence on God.

The Triumph of Faith (chapter 5:7-20) Endures by waiting on Christ's return, prays for the afflicted and confronts the erring brother.

The first part of this epistle develops the qualities of genuine faith in regard to trials and temptations. In the first chapter and first few verses James introduces his first subject, the outward tests of faith. These trials are designed to produce mature endurance and a sense of dependence upon God, to whom the believer turns for wisdom and enablement.

And inward temptations do not come from God. He calls these temptations solicitations to evil and they must be checked at an early stage or they may result in disastrous consequences. (Disaster waiting to happen).

The second part of this epistle says that a righteous response to testing requires that one be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
Quickness of hearing involves an obedient response to God's Word. True hearing means more than mere listening. The Word must be received and applied.

In the third part of this epistle James encourages us to patiently endure the sufferings of the present life in view of the future coming of the Lord.

James concludes his epistle with words on prayer and restoration and that the prayers of righteous men are needed for the healing and restoration of believers because when sin is not dealt with it can contribute to sickness and even death.