James 1:27-2:6


  • James talks about people who were thought as being weak. But they are becoming strong through their faith in God.
  • We tend to believe that having lots of money is the secret to a good life.

Context: Ancient Roman Culture

  • Rank & status, was the bond that held everything together.
​​​ Senators
2 % of population


– 98%


Status:  Where you stood was what you were worth.

  • Clothing reinforced Status

Senators – purple stripe
​Equestrians – gold ring

  • Seating was a sign of status.

Those who sat on the right and left of the host were most important.
Every time you sat someplace, it told you how much you were worth.

  • Legal system reinforced status

If you were of high status, the law existed for your sake.
Crucifixion: a slave’s punishment

The Gospel according to James

  • No favorites

2:2 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.

James had to create a word for this: “Now people who are following Jesus must not turn their faces up to people.”

  • Test Case:  2 men, one wearing a gold ring, the other a bright toga.

v.7 Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

The Great Inversion

  • God is turning everything upside down

“The great inversion is this:  in Christ, there are none in the humanly “down” position so low that they cannot be lifted up by entering God’s order right now.  And there are none in the humanly “up” position so high that they can disregard God’s point of view on their lives.” (Dallas Willard)

“Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation.”

The power of focus

  • Reticular activating system:  Anytime you get focused on something, you start noticing it.

Saving Faith:

  • Faith without works is dead:  Our behavior reveals what we actually believe.

Three Categories of Belief

  1. Beliefs I claim to believe (but really don’t)
  2. Beliefs I think to believe (but really don’t)
  3. What you really believe – which is based on your behavior (your mental map)
  • Saving faith is not having faith IN Jesus, but the faith OFJesus.

Saving faith is when come to believe what Jesus actually believed It’s when my reticular activating system comes to believe it, and the palms of my hands come to believe it, and the pits under my arms and my stomach come to believe it, and my wallet comes to believe it.