Summary of passage: A man is justified by faith, not the law.
3) They boast about how they are such great Christians by following God’s laws, going to church, volunteering at church, helping others, you name it. Because boasting is all about you, not God. Boasting according to Webster’s Dictionary is “bragging, a cause for pride, to puff oneself up in speech.”
4) Part personal Question. My answer: By following the law instead of having Jesus like Paul says. They excuse sins by saying they have Jesus. The classic one: others do it. Neither for me really. I don’t justify myself because none of us can. It’s only mercy and grace and faith that saves me. I know this so I don’t bother otherwise.
5) Part personal Question. My answer: It becomes about them and not God. This is most apparent when we are judging others. We all must keep in mind we are sinners and are only righteous through Jesus and God’s grace.
Conclusions: Nit-picking this passage to the extreme, and I don’t think we need two days on it (today and tomorrow). Just believe and live like Jesus. Period.
End Notes: We cannot boast of anything we do for saving grace. That is all God. All it takes if faith, not boasting.
Martin Luther said, “Sola Fide”. Latin for Only Faith. That is all that is required.
James did not argue against this fact. He was describing how works prove to others the saving faith of God for Christians are expected by God to do and be more.
Fun Fact: When Martin Luther translated this passage, he added “alone” after “by faith”, which although was not in the original Greek (and has been taken out of modern versions of the Bible) accurately reflects this passage.