James is perhaps the most cutting letter in the New Testament. It is written by James, possibly James brother of Jesus. It holds the believer under the microscope and asks, are we really walking the walking and talking the talk?
We wish people well, but we do not help them. We say all our equal, yet we give special privilege to the popular and wealthy. We say Christ is sufficient, yet we war with one another over our wants. We sing worship and praise God, yet denigrate our peers. We say we trust God, yet do not not ask Him for anything in true faith, believing that He can hear us and deliver on His promises.
During James’ probing onslaught, the question arises, what about grace? Grace abounds as always, but food while you’re working out gives us energy and strength, whereas food while we are lazing about only leaves us out of shape and weighted down. We are called to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), not in order to earn it (Christ has done that work for us), but to keep it honed.
In doing this, James empowers us to greater than we thought possible. Does the process hurt? You bet! Not that we would cause ourselves injury, but that we would stretch and shape our spiritual bodies. Who’s ready for a workout?