James has already warned against an empty religion that is impure (1:26, 27); here he warns against an inactive faith that is impotent.
- Verses 14-20. Empty faith is words without action, profession without performance. Cf. 1 John 3:18 (NEB). How profitable is my faith by the test of James’ illustration? How dose my faith differ from that of the demons?
- Verses 21-26. James illustration his argument by reference to two very different people. How was the principle at work in my own in my own life?
- Verse 18. The objection that some have faith and some have works is specious, because without corresponding moral action faith is empty and barren, like that of the devils (verse 19).
- Verse 25. ‘Considered righteous for what she did’: cf. Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal.2:16. Paul and James seem to contradict one another. But, in fact, Paul says, ‘Faith can save apart from works of the law’, and James says, ‘Faith cannot save without the works of faith.’ The two are therefore complementary.