James -- Christianity with Shoe Leather
“Men are justified by faith alone,” wrote an old Puritan divine, “but the faith that justifies is never alone.” This is a succinct statement of the truth articulated by Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, in Ephesians 2:8–10: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Men are saved by God’s grace alone apart from any meritorious work. Salvation is “not of works.” Yet, at the same time, men are saved with a view to a transformed life. Salvation is “unto good works.” A true, saving experience of Jesus Christ carries within it the germ of a transformed life … and the transformed life is the chief evidence of the genuineness of a man’s profession.
This truth is, in brief, the emphasis of the Epistle of James. Written by the brother of Jesus Christ and reflecting accurately, no doubt, the Savior’s mind, the Epistle of James calls upon men to translate their creed into conduct. James challenges men “to put the truth of God into shoe leather.” A true belief behaves.
Roy E. Gingrich, The Book of James (Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing, 2005).