What Does James 1:22 Mean?

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22(HCSB)

Verse of the Day

In his epistle, James outlines the relationship between faith and works. He recognises that there are some that profess to be Christians who do not have a saving faith, but he is also aware that there are those that have a genuine saving faith but show little or no outward evidence of their justification - and so he admonishes all genuine Christians to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

James seeks to distinguish between genuine faith and a false, professed faith, but mainly he differentiates between a spiritual Christian and a carnal, fleshly, worldly Christian; between a fruitful believer and an unfruitful believer; between a spiritual man or woman and one who is truly saved by grace through faith in Christ, but is not producing the good works of righteousness which God has prepared for us to do and which God desires from all His children.

Both James and Paul know that there are certain Christians who, having been truly saved by grace though faith (the root of justification), do not produce good works that are the identifying marks of a Christian who is walking in spirit and truth (the fruit of justification). Such believers are truly saved but choose to live a carnal Christian life, which is unfruitful, unworthy, and dishonours the Lord who bought them. And so James admonishes all Christians to be doers of the Word and not simply hearers only; to both receive the implanted Word of God in our hearts and also to obey it, for this glorifies our Father in heaven.

James knows that a carnal believer may have a genuine saving faith and yet be walking in the flesh and not showing forth any good works in their lives (similar to the carnal Christians that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 3). And so James gives many examples of what is means to be a fruitful Christian, but he also warns against the barrenness and dangers of remaining an unfruitful believer - for doing so demonstrates hypocritical, double-minded, two-faced, sanctimonious self-deception.

Every believer should be growing in grace, maturing in the faith, walking in spirit and truth, and bringing forth the good works of righteousness which God Himself has prepared for us to do, in the power of the Holy Spirit, as we abide in Christ and He in us. Every believer should become a doer of the Word and not simply a hearer only. Indeed, we are encouraged to be quick to hear, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but we should also be wise in our actions and circumspect in our reactions by being slow to speak and slow to anger, for angry men do not achieve the righteousness of God.

James calls all fleshly, carnal Christians to repent of their ungodly ways and in humility of heart to receive the implanted Word of God and to act on it faithfully, humbly, and wisely, which causes us to live godly in Christ Jesus. This demonstrates to our brothers and sisters in Christ that we are doers of the Word and not merely hearers only. May we who have been rooted in Christ by grace through faith when we were saved, seek to be fruitful in our Christian walk, by bearing much fruit to the glory of God - as we abide in Christ and He in us.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the wise teachings of James. I realise how important it is to not only have a genuine faith by trusting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary, but to be a fruitful Christian in word and in deed. Keep me from worldly ways and from slipping back in the carnality of fleshly living, but may I grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as I abide in Him. May I bring forth much fruit to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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