If one follows the words of James you note that he deals with the subject of personal and practical Christianity. Put your practices in a world of evidence by not just saying “I have faith in the Lord Jesus as my Savior”; but so live that your declaration is accompanied by works of righteousness which bespeak that personalized faith.
The obvious is that many were making all types of assertions as to their identity with Christ, but the culmination of their declarations were so in conflict with what they were manifesting in their daily lives that James reminds them in 1:16, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren”.
James is not just being a noisemaker in the congregation, he is intent on seeing the problem exposed and dealt with. He identifies the “Father of lights” and exposes the brethren as thinking themselves to be “rich”; they have forgotten their relationship to Christ and are the equivalent of grass that ultimately dies. While we are beneficiaries of God’s blessings, we have hogged them to ourselves. God will ultimately hold us accountable for our blessings!
A perfect illustration is utilized as the brothers are reminded how we sometimes see one person as more important in our thinking and therefore should be given certain priority, even to their sitting position in the assembly. We are immediately reminded that the one who appears as lacking substance, even to his clothing, should be treated equally. It is important to note the possibility that the man might well have been without food, yet he had come to hear the Word of God which was more important (2:15, 16) to him.
The words of James in addressing the brothers in Christ carry a sting that demands attention. He notes that “faith” and “works” are inseparable, especially when we consider this verse of James 1:17… “Even so faith, if it has no works is dead, being by itself.” To those who endeavor to separate the two and for a boasting point 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.” In response, James says: “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham out father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?” You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 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. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:20-24) They are individually, yet jointly integrated.