Central to understanding James 2, in its proper context, we must read James 1 (1:1-27) and then James 2 (2:1-26). James is pointing us to something Jesus Christ taught the Apostles: The Hearers of the Word/Law and the Doers of the Word/Law. Once we know this as part of the context of James 2. which leads to the conclusion in verse 2:24, and we will understand that James was tasked with admonishing these he is addressing to reject a Faith that is Alone/By-Itself/Only

Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;

27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:17-27 should be read, reflected and contemplated upon to understand that Jesus Himserlf makes His words the absolute measure of human conduct! It is His teaching that is put forward as the definitive messianic Torah; the Law of Christ.

The Epistle of James

James 1:21-25

[21] Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

[22] But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

[23] For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;

[24] for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

[25] But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

James first tells us explicitly that we should receive the implanted word, which is able to save our souls. He then goes on to teach about the Hearers and the Doers of this very word implanted in our hearts and souls. Just when is this word implanted into our hearts and souls? At our Baptism.

It is important to see that word “ABIDES by this Law of Liberty,” by being a DOER of this Law of Liberty, a DOER of effectual actions, we will receive a Beatitude in what we do, by being the Doers of the Law of Liberty. We are to keep our self unstained from the world, (James 1:27), yet we are in the world to reflect the light of Christ. The Epistle to the Romans

Romans 2:6-13
6 For He will render to every man according to his works:

13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

Its no accident that Paul also teaches about the Hears and the Doers of the Law. Paul does go on to say (Romans 2:14-16) that the Gentiles, who do not have the Law (Torah), instinctively do the deeds/works of the Law (Torah), because the Law is written on their hearts. What Law? The Law of Christ.

The First Letter of John

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deedand in truth.

We will see the Hearers of the Word and the Doers of the Word clearly in James 2, that this is very much the context of James on how we are justified in James 2:24. As we continue on our journey through life, we are called to live out the faith we profess through the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles and by their words of the Holy Spirit inspired Epistles they left to the Church.

James 2 Commentary

James will now enter into a real life situation and apply the New Covenant law (The Law of Liberty = The Royal Law) to show what true faith entails; by how one lives the Living faith they profess.

[1] My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.
[2] For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
[3] and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,”
[4] have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?


James is possibly addressing Baptized Jewish-Catholic converts, as well has the New Israel which includes all peoples, all cultures and one faith. Being baptized, they have already been saved and born-again, (1 Peter 3:21), they were justified and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11), they have received sanctifying grace and the infused virtues of Faith, Hope and Agape, (Romans 5:1-5). As Jewish-Catholic converts, these people may have felt that since the Messiah had come, they were assured of salvation because they were also Jews and had faith in God and His promises.

James here presents the problem which he will expound upon throughout this chapter.

[5] Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
[6] But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?
[7] Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?


The rich oppress the poor and now these Christians are essentially doing the same thing. It can be pointed out that Jesus had much to say about the rich of His time. Here we have ordinary men and women, who have heard the Gospel and doing the same thing as the rich do to them, such as judging them, and treating them as less than human. James is pointing out that this type of behavior is contrary to the gospel they heard.

[8] If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.


What is the Royal Law? James 2:8 tells us that the Royal Law is “You SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” This comes from Leviticus 19:18.

Jesus links Leviticus 19:18 to the Shema in Mark 12:28-32. The Royal Law is the Gospel of the Cross; the self-given Love, no, the self-giving Agape, that sent Christ Jesus to the Cross.

This is the Law of Agape:

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he;

Jesus says “There is no other commandment greater than these” The word “commandment” is in the singular.

We can see that Jesus has LINKED the Love of God to the Love of Neighbor for all time. They can never be separated or unlinked. More importantly, Jesus is linking the Shema (the prayer that all pious Jews, including Jesus and the Apostles, recite twice daily to the commandment to “Love of God and Love of Neighbor as yourself.” This is contained in the Gospel, Christ Himself preached to those who hear this voice in the Gospels.

Love of Neighbor cannot truly occur unless we have Love of God, which is the supernatural gift of Agape; the Love that God has for Himself. For the Jews, it would be foreign to their ears, to believe that true, Living Faith can be accomplished without Love of God. Thus, we can say that “Faith is Never Alone,” never “By-Itself” and never “Only.”

For Faith to be a Living, a Saving and a Justifying Faith, that Faith must be conjoined to Agape.

If one observes the Royal Law, then according to James “You are doing well.” Why are you doing well? Because your faith in conjoined to Agape.

Going to the Apostle Paul, he states this in Galatians 5:6:

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Paul goes on to repeat this teaching from Jesus in Galatians 5:6, as well as Romans 13:9:

4 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is another example of James and Paul with Jesus and John being in perfect harmony.

[9] But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.


What Law is James referring to? The New Covenant: the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, the Law of Christ, the Law of Agape. To show such partiality is to fail to see the image and likeness of God in those you are committing the offence against.

The Royal Law is Love of God and Love of Neighbor.

The Law of Liberty is that Law of Agape.

The Law of Christ is what sets us free from being children of Wrath to a Child of God, so that we can call God: “Abba Father.”

The Law of Love fulfills the Law of Torah and sets us free from Sin and Death. Death as in Spiritual Death.

[10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

[11] For He who said, “Do NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “Do NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

[12] So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

[13] For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.


James is exhorting the whole lot of them, so to speak–all of the above Christians–to keep the Royal Law, (the Law of Christ, the Law of Agape), by loving their neighbors as themselves. Obviously though, true loving involves actually DOING certain things and NOT doing other things, which underlines the importance of works in the faith and lives of Christians, as the Inspired author goes on to emphatically emphasize later in the chapter. He is not saying that any one who has stolen has also literally murdered or literally committed adultery. He is saying that we all fail, in different ways and, at times, we fail in serious ways to Love our Neighbors, when we fail in these ways we are accountable for not keeping the Law of Agape. The Christian who has murdered cannot harshly condemn, with no mindfulness of his/her own sin, the Christian who has committed adultery. To all who are sorrowful and repentant, mercy is to be shown over judgment.

Let us hear the words of St. Paul:

Romans 13:10

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore LOVE is the fulfillment of the Law.

Again, what law is this? Leviticus 19:18? No, the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, the Law of Christ, the Law of Agape; all of which are contained in the New Covenant Law instituted by Christ.

In several places in the New Testament we read of the Acts of Mercy. Are we not called to be merciful for the sake of the one who showed and continues to show us mercy?

Before we go forward, let us look at James 2:12 and 2:13.
12: So speak and so act as those who are to be JUDGED by the LAW of LIBERTY.

We see that very important word JUDGED and the LAW of LIBERTY. We first encountered the LAW of LIBERTY in James 1:22-25. James is telling us that we are going to be JUDGED on whether we are a HEARER of the WORD or a DOER of the WORD. This is the Key to understanding the context of the conclusive declaration of James 2:24.

13: For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown NO mercy, mercy triumphs over judgment.

That by which we will be JUDGED (2:12), is by the merciful love we show our neighbors (2:8), as we live in this fallen world. This is the Light of Christ we are all called to reflect. As we continue through James, we will be told what a justifying and sanctifying faith truly entails.

The context of James 2:1-13 will now lead to the asking of 2 questions by the Holy Spirit through the pen of James:


What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works?

Can that faith save him?


James 1:19-17 and 2:1-13 constitutes a preface for the whole of James chapter 2. Now in James 2:14, James sets forth his initial thesis, by asking those 2 questions. The context of James 2:1-13 is Love of God and Love of Neighbor which are shown through the life we live and the faith we profess as followers of Christ. Is our faith a Living Faith, one that is imbued with Love of God and Love of Neighbor? or is it a dead and useless faith. We must look at both of these questions asked in James 2:14 and proceed to the answer which will be given by James at the end of this chapter.

The Jewish-Catholic converts that James is addressing, as James will show, were exhibiting a faith without Agape; a dead and useless faith that is alone because the Love of God and Love of Neighbor were being smothered by their failure to live the faith they were professing. Their faith will be shown to be a dead faith, one that lacked Agape and thus, was a failure to obey the Royal Law. But shown to who? Other men? Possibly. To God, must definitely, as we shall see.

[15] If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
[16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?


James is paraphrasing Jesus in Matthew 25:41-44. And we might add, what the result of Matthew 25:41-44 is:

45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:40:

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

We can glean from this that the righteous souls are those who do the Works that God has prepared for them to walk in (Ephesians 2:10) and not turning a blind eye to the Royal Law, the Law of Agape, as those whom James is pointing to in both James 2:1-13 and 15-16.

The Beloved Apostle also points to Matthew 25:41-44:

1 John 3:17-18
[17] But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Catholic theologians have pointed to James 2:15-16, to show that ones physical needs must be met so spiritual needs can be attended to. That it is up to fellow Christians to provide for the physical needs of those who cannot, for one reason or another, do so for themselves. By Christians, who have the means to help those who do not have the means to care for themselves, we give them opportunity to grow spiritually by loving them. James 2:15-16 is a single sentence presented to us as a question. And this question is going to be answered.

James 2:13 should also be called to mind, that to show mercy to those in need is what the Christian is always called to do. Since we will always have the poor with us, as Jesus tells us, we have an obligation to feed the hungry, clothe the naked. When you do not firmly know how the Holy Spirit is guiding you, it is always best to start with the Acts of Mercy until it is clearly presented to you. These are works that God has prepared for all of us to walk in.

Who can fail to see that when we Love our Neighbors, we are in imitation of Christ and His self-giving love. This is the mercy that James points to in James 2:12-13. A failure to show mercy or to perform the Acts of Mercy, is to be a Hearer of the Word and not a Doer of the Word (James 1:22-25).

The fact that James is using Matthew 41-44 to support his answer, can only point to Jesus Christ supporting that answer to the questions of James 2:14.

The faith that saves must be expressed in practial charity.

In Galatians 6:2, the Apostle Paul says:

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the Law of Christ.

Christians are called to bear one another’s burdens, when the Spirit prompts us. In James 2:15-16, he asks us, in the form of a question, “what use is that?” It is of NO use; none whatsoever, because it shows your faith to be by-itself and dead (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13). What burdens is Paul referring to?

The word “burdens” refers to all the hardships that arise in ones life: exhausting work, sickness and physical pain, psychological suffering, loneliness, strife, failures and so on. In light of the preceding verse, (Galatians 6:1), this includes bearing with the sins, defects, and weaknesses of brothers and sisters (Romans 15:1; 2 Corinthians 11:29).

Paul is stating that by doing so, all of us (the Doers, the Sheep) will fulfill the Law of Christ (the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, the Law of Agape). This law, by different names consists of only ONE Commandment: Love of God and Love of Neighbor, for God’s sake.

When we fulfill the Law of Christ, we are serving as Christ did, in self-sacrifical love. This also is alluded to by Jesus’ words of a “New Commandment” found in John 13:34, which is to “…. love one another as I love you.”

As much as I hate touching feet, Paul is paralleling Jesus in John 13: “You ought to wash one another’s feet,….”

[17] Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.


This is the answer to the question of James 2:15-16 (Matthew 25;31-46). Lets not kid ourselves, or better yet, lets not deceive ourselves: Faith being by itself is Faith Alone, Faith By-Itself and Faith Only. We must bear in mind, as we go through the next 3 passages (2:18-19-20), “that Faith is DEAD being By-Itself.”

But what of works? Why does faith “if it has no works” becomes a dead faith? A dead faith is the result of the example given in the preceding 2 verses, which also points to one being a Hearer of the Word and not a Doer, deceiving themselves, (James 1:22-25).

The converse of this is also true: Even so Faith, if it has works, is Living, being conjoined by Agape. We can see this because of James 2:8 to Love our Neighbor as ourselves, and to show mercy is to be one In Christ and to Love as God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) Loves. This is no natural love, but the supernatural gift of Agape.

James is implying that a Dead Faith does not save and that a Living Faith, is a faith that saved because it is being expressed in practical charity as we remain in this fallen world as followers of Christ. Faith without Agape is dead.

James 2:17 is not saying just any works, but graced-works which can only be done when one is “In Christ and Conformed to Christ.” James is shouting out the teaching of Jesus before His passion, death and resurrection.

Keep in mind James 2:17, will have a significant bearing on understanding James 2:18-20. At the Last Supper in Johns Gospel, the Savior tells the Apostles and us, that only through Him, can we accomplish what is the will and good please of God.

John 15:1-11

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Only when “In Christ” works done, are those same works God has prepared beforehand for you and I to walk in, (Ephesians 2:5-10). Thus, works done “In Christ” are graced beyond measure, which produces abundant fruit. Some 30, some 60, some 100 times.

[18] But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

This statement is confirming James 2:17: Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

What works show your faith? Works done when “IN CHRIST” and those works are works done according to the Royal Law. Works are done out of Agape/Love/Charity for our neighbor for Gods’ sake. These are not your works. They are Gods works, prepared beforehand that you that you would walk in. Faith is a mighty fountain of works. They are graced-filled works. If they are God’s work done “In Christ” they are a participation of the one who lives in you, (Galatians 2:20).

James 2:18 is sometimes use in defense that James isn’t speaking of those who are being justified before God, but are being justified before men. It may seem like James is referring to this, but James 2:16-17, being a paraphrase of Matthew 25:31-46, that premise does not follow that we are to be justified before our fellow man, since the Goats go to the hell of the damned, not because they failed to do those works, but they there faith is alone/by-itself and not conjoined to Agape. A very close examination of James 2:18 is critical to understanding why “…. a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. Most Protestants fail to recognize that the speaker separates faith and works, as though the Christian life can be reduced to one or the other.

We can see that James is divided into 2 parts:

The first part of James 2:18: But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works;

It’s imperative to see that those who are being referred to as “someone,” are those who are actually separating Faith from Works, such that this separation becomes “You have Faith Alone and I have Works Alone.” Does this sound familiar? Remember that this comes directly after James 2:17: “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Faith by-itself and Works by-itself is what is being specifically implied.

The second part of James 2:18: “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

Faith apart = Faith Alone = Faith Only = Faith By-Itself = Dead Faith.

We already have been told that faith without works is dead, being by itself (James 2:170. This in the context of understanding James 2:18 and why separating faith from works is DEAD. James is showing that a LIVING FAITH and not a DEAD FAITH is a faith that saves and justifies one before God. This separating of Faith from Works is what separates the Hearers of the Law from the Doers of the Law. (Romans 2:13).

One has Faith Alone: One has a DEAD Faith. One is a Hearer of the Word. One is counted among the Goats.

One has a Faith not By-Itself: One has a Living Faith. One is a Doer of the Word. One is counted among the Sheep.

[19] You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.


James is addressing fellow Jews (1:1) and all Jews recite the Shema twice daily. Here we are concerned with just the first 2 sentences:

Hear O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one. And you shall Love the Lord your God with all your might and with all your soul and with all your might.

Jesus recites the Shema 2 times in the Synoptics; and in Luke they are repeated by another. Here, James is paraphrasing the first sentence of the Shema and calling to mind the next sentence. James states “You do well,” he is calling attention to the Royal Law of the linked commandment to Love God and to Love neighbor.

James then asks in the next part of the sentence “the demons also believe and shudder.” Why? The demons and fallen angels aligned with Satan, do not have Agape of God. They hate God. Their faith is dead. They hate the fact that when you Love your neighbor, you love as God loves: With the supernatural and infused virtue of Agape, (Romans 5:5).

The words of Christ: John 13:34-35 ~ [34] “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [35] By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Many will say to themselves that Jesus already told us the greatest commandment by linking Love of God with Love your Neighbors as yourself, (Mark 12:28-31). Christ Jesus is now asking us to Love with His Love which is a supernatural Love, a gift only God can give us. This love is an everlasting Love and Paul puts this into its proper place in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Baptism: Faith, Hope and Agape abide these three, but the greatest of these is Love.

And what about belief itself? Does mere intellectual ascent to faith save i.e. faith by itself/faith only/faith alone? Here in v19, even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet, this belief does not save them and once again we have to ask why?

Because they do not have Agape for God.

Mark 1:24

24 and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Matthew 8:29

29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

Luke 4:41

41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Faith without Agape cannot save, for even the demons have such faith. Mere intellectual belief, such as faith alone, without Agape were enough, then even the demons would go to heaven. There believe in God and hate God.

[20] But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?


Another question is asked by James here. Some of those James is addressing, will recognize that they are not acting with Love of God and Love of Neighbor, thus failing to live out the Royal Law and the Gospel they profess. They should recognize that faith without works of Love is useless, is DEAD. We see that everything in James 1 and James 2 is relevant to what will be the conclusion at the end of James 2.

In many translations, James 2:20 ends the same as 2:17: “…. faith without works is dead/only/alone.”

Hear the words of the Apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3,13 NASB
[1] If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

[2] If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

[3] And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

[13] But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paul states in 1 Cor 13:2, “…. all Faith….,” which would mean: Faith Only, Faith Alone or Faith by Itself, makes one nothing before God and is unprofitable before God, gains nothing. Isn’t James and Paul saying the same things? A Living Faith must be conjoined to Agape to Save, to Justify unto Salvation.

[21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
[22] You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
[23] and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.


James 2:21 is asking another question which he will give an answer to. The agape visible in his (Abraham’s) actions (e.g. his willingness to sacrifice his son) is not merely an outward sign of faith alone within him, but is the visible manifestation of living faith within him, that is, faith-informed-by-the-divine-gift-of-agape. It is this living faith within Abraham that God reckoned as righteousness, because that’s just what righteousness truly is, agape that in itself already fulfills the Law.

This is a supernatural faith and not of his own doing. If it was completely of Abraham’s own doing, it would be a blind faith, completely unreasonable in the natural realm. (quoted from Dr. Bryan Cross).

Everything between James 2:15-23 is supporting evidence to the answer that the Holy Spirit through James, will give us in James 2:24.

And that answer is the definitive answer:

[24] You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.


By reading the entire chapters of James 1 and James 2, we get the complete context which leads to the answer in James 2:24. We know that “works” here are those works given us by God that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10); which manifests itself through a Living Faith, one that is conjoined to Agape and fulfills the Royal Law.

These actions, works, deeds are all done IN CHRIST and when in a state of Grace, are those works which the DOERS of the LAW have done out of Agape for their fellow man. This is why the beloved Apostle John can state after paraphrasing Jesus in 1 John 3:18:

[18] Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

We are being exhorted to live the faith we profess IN CHRIST. And Paul tells us:

Colossians 3:17

[17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

James 2:24, James is saying to us, through the Holy Spirit, that we are justified by faith + works of Agape. These works are those works that God has prepared for us to walk in, (Eph 2:10). For the Apostle Paul, walking means action. Do we hear the word of Christ and do them or not do them? If you haven’t put it together, here is what Jesus, James, Paul and John are saying:

The DOERS of the Law are the Sheep.

The HEARERS of the Law are the Goats.

The DOERS of the Word and living the Gospel we are all called to and have internalized Christ and thus, their faith is working through Agape, (Galatians 5:6); where we are servants to those in need and to one another (Galatians 5:13).

James is telling us to be DOERS of the LAW because we are justified by being DOERS of the Law through the life we live while we walk the earth. We must imitate Christ with the same love he showed for us: Self-Giving Love for God and for our Neighbors. It is the Doers of the Word that are righteous and thus Justified, (Romans 2:6-13). Because Jesus links Love of God with Love of Neighbor, when we love our neighbor, we love as God loves. That is with the supernatural gift of Agape.

[25] In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?


Here James is actually stating that Rahab was” justified by works,” after verse 2:24 There is NO MISTAKE that Rahab’s actions, her works, justified her before God, not men.

[26] For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


In James 2:1-23, 25 it makes it very clear that Faith by itself (faith only/faith alone) if it has NO works is dead/useless, does not save/justify a Christian. Thus we should see that we are justified by works and NOT by Faith Alone. We know that works are those works prepared for us by God and they are done for the glory of God alone. Works are how we let our light so shine before men, that they give Glory to God and come to a knowledge of Him as “Abba Father.”

Without these works of Love (the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, the Law of Christ), faith is dead, just as dead as a body without the spirit. Without your faith conjoined with Agape, it produces a dead and useless faith. It is a spiritually dead faith, and not a Living Faith. Thus, Faith Alone/Faith Only/Faith by Itself does not save and does not justify one before God.

To be a Doer of the Law and not a Hearer takes a conscious effort on our part to do those Acts of Mercy we are called to do, to follow His commandments and to live a life worthy of this calling we are called to:

Colossians 1:10

to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Those who believe the heresy of Sola Fide are contradicting the Holy Spirit in James 2:24. If you believe in this heresy, God gives you what you want and you will be judged accordingly. Faith Alone is Faith not conjoined to Agape. Faith Alone severs you from Christ; as any heresy does.

The Heterodox get only a few of the points of James 2 correct. Everything in James, chapters 1 and 2 is pointing to the conclusion of the questions given in James 2:14.

What is that answer?:

You see that a man is justified by works and NOT by Faith Alone.

This is the only place in sacred scripture where the phrase
Faith Alone is found. And it means the exact opposite of Sola Fide.

The Apostle Paul also talks about the “life of faith” which he calls “The Obedience of Faith.” James and Paul are in perfect agreement that Faith must be a Living Faith to be sanctified, and justified and we are to live our lives in imitation of the self-giving and sacrificial love by which Jesus Himself loves us. We are called to live our lives as followers, believers and disciples of Christ and this means that Faith workth through Agape.

The New Commandment that Christ Jesus calls us to, is not just to love God and to love our neighbor; we are called to a supernatural love to our supernatural end.

John 15:12

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

We are called to Love as Jesus Himself loves, not just to love, but to LOVE has He Himself loves us. James points to both the DOERS of the Law and the HEARERS to show that Faith by-itself/only/alone, without being conjoined to Hope and Agape produces a Dead Faith. Who has the Living Faith? It is the follower of Christ whose Faith works through Agape.

You should be able to see that the entire Law has always pointed to Agape and to our being conformed to Christ who Loved us and gave Himself up for us, so that we too can live in, with and through this Love.

For all Jews, Faith is Never Alone. Faith is always conjoined to Love of God: Faith is Never Alone

In Christ,

Ryan Zell


What is the Royal Law?: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and will all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

What is the Law of Liberty?: Going to Romans 36:12-23, the Apostle Paul paints a black-or-white picture of the human situation. Either one lives in service to sin and remains in spiritual bondage, or one lives in obedience to God and enjoys liberation from sin’s captivity. It is a stark either-or: no fence-sitting, no third option. (Romans: Commentary on Sacred Scripture).

What is the Law of Christ?: Bearing on another burdens for Love of God, for Gods sake. To love God and to Love ones neighbor, is to Love as God Loves. To serve others for their spiritual well-being, is the Law of Christ, (Galatians 6:1-3).

What is the Law of Agape?: This encompasses the Royal Law, the Law of Liberty, the Law of Christ. God is Love.

Practical advice from Peter:
2 Peter 1:5 For this reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, [6] and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness. [7] and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. [8] For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. [10] Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for it you do this you will never fall; [11] so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

James 2 Commentary

The Context of why Faith Alone is an ancient Heresy.

Ryan Zell

9/28/202326 min read