Lesson Seven – Faith Made Perfect

Faith Made Perfect

Text:  James. 2:14-26, plus related scriptures.

A.  Introduction: The aim of this lesson is to show how Christians’ faith shapes our “world view” after we learn the teachings in column one of the following chart.  It will also serve as a summary of the previous lesson.  Christians have decided in our minds and hearts to have faith in these doctrines (column two).  The column one teachings become internalized in our “selves” by the testing of our faith in our daily tribulations and other experiences (Jas. 1:2-4; Heb. 12:7-11).  Faith in Heb. 11:1 can be understood in relation to James 2:14-16 in the following chart.  Christians’ faith speaks and acts by the use of our bodies to the realities we encounter in our lives (column three; See Jas. 2:12).  Christians’ bodies are our instruments for God’s righteousness that Jesus revealed (Rom. 1:17; 6:13; I Pet. 2:24). The internalization of what we believe in our minds and feel in our hearts about what we hear from God’s word demands the testing of our faith (column two; Jas. 2:22).  Our new “selves” identify with these doctrines in which we have put our faith – unless we fail the test (Jas. 1:12).  Christians become obedient to our faith and produce God’s righteousness in our deeds (Matt. 7:24; Rom. 1:5; 6:13, 22, 23).

B.  The Chart:  Please read from left to right across to follow the sequence of human learning and the development of a son of God.  Scriptures are found in James unless otherwise specified.

  Cognitive learning – to know             Affective learning – to feel                      Behavioral learning – to act

Doctrines mentioned by James and known by the recipients.1.  Deity (1:1; 4:5).a. God, our Father (1:17, 27; 3:9).

b. Lord Jesus Christ (2:1).

c. Holy Spirit (4:5). *



2.  The devil and demons (2:19;

3:15; 4:7).



3.  Mankind has been created in God’s likeness (3:9).




4.  Christians are the “first fruits”

of God’s creation (1:18).


5.  New birth (1:18).



6.  New covenant (1:21).




a. Law of life (1:25; 2:8, 12).



b. Justification by faith (2:23-25).




7.  Law of sin and death (1:13-15;   5:20).







8.  Church family (5:19, 20).



9.  Resurrection and judgment.

2:12, 13; 3:1; 4:12; 5:7-9.



10. Inheritance reserved for those who love the Lord.

a.  Crown of life.  1:12.

b.  The kingdom of God.  2:5.

A brief summary of Christians’ faith in the doctrines found in James.  

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”  1:17. We ask God for wisdom and other gifts by praying “in the name of the Lord (1:5; 3:17; 5:14). The Holy Spirit fellowships Christians (4:5).


The world realm is under the power of Satan.  He will use the wisdom of men about spiritual reality to deceive Christians (I Cor. 1:21; II Cor. 11:13-15).


Our minds, hearts and consciences have the potential to be God-like (Psa. 82:6, 7; John 10:34-36; Matt. 5:48; I Cor. 2:16).  Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ is the light of our lives.  (John 1:4; 14:5-10). 

From God’s view, the people “in Christ” and little children are the top echelon of humanity (Luke 18:16, 17; I Pet 2:9, 10; Rom. 8:18, 19).


We have been transferred to the kingdom of God (Col. 1:10-14).  God’s kingdom is where His will is the rule (Matt. 6:10).


We enjoy guilt free consciences because we live on the mercy seat provided by God “in Christ.” Rom. 3:25; 4:25-5:1; Heb. 8:12; 9:5.


God is writing His laws of life on our hearts and minds (Jas. 1:21; Heb. 10:16).  These laws are conforming us to Jesus Christ

The improvement of “justification by faith in Christ” is the blood of Jesus.  God forgives our sins of ignorance and weaknesses; therefore, we do not feel guilty about our deficiencies while we overcome them (Jas. 4:8; Heb. 9:14).  We have peace with God (Rom. 5:1).

We accept the Holy Spirit’s instruction in the Bible about how and why we have been created.  This and God’s grace saves us from sin and death (Rom. 8:1-17).





We view ourselves as an individual member in the body of Christ.  We enjoy interdependent living (I Cor. 12:25-27; Eph. 4:14-16).  Our innate needs are being satisfied in our relationships in the church plus our hope of our inheritance.

We understand the problem Adam created for mankind of living in our physical bodies with the knowledge of good and evil (I Cor. 15:16, 17, 44-49).


Therefore, we live focused on a new body with our inheritance of eternal life with God in His kingdom (Matt. 19:29; 25:34; Rev. 21:7).  This will serve our innate needs for “glory, honor and peace.”  Rom. 2:10.  Peter added praise in the place of peace (I Pet. 1:7).

Tested faith made perfect. (For faithful Christians only).We are rich because of our faith in the roles the three Persons of Deity serve in our lives (2:5).

God is our friend (2:23; 4:8).

We humble ourselves to His wisdom (3:13). 

“Resist the devil, and he will flee.”  4:7. We are careful not to be “dragged away” from our Lord by making provisions for our lust (1:14).

Jesus showed us God in whose likeness we have been created. (3:9).



We take pride in God’s caste free creation; therefore, we do not discriminate (1:9; 2:4, 9; 4:10, 12).


“If it is God’s will, we will live and do this or that.” Jas. 4:15.


We placed our faith in the new covenant in our repentance and we remain humble to it (Jas. 4:6; Heb. 7:21, 22).


Our perfected faith lets us enjoy a guilt free fellowship with God by the Holy Spirit’s presence (Jas. 2:22-24; 4:5).


Free to be what our spirits desire to be – sons of God!  We are peacemakers because we are at peace with God (3:18).


We serve the physically distressed and keep a “tight rein” on our tongue because we have faith that every person’s spirit came from God (1:26; 27; 3:9).  We accept the wisdom of God about righteousness (1:20; 3:17).

We are merciful because we love and we need mercy now and on Judgment Day (2:13).  We try to turn straying members back to God (5:19).


We know we are like a flower and mist in this world (1:11; 4:14).  We look forward to our Lord Jesus coming to take us back to God from where our spirits came (Jas. 5:7; Eccl. 12:7).

We joyfully wait for our inheritance because we love God (Rom. 8:18).

* James could be speaking of the human spirit; however, the context may suggest a condition where God’s Holy Spirit who fellowships Christians would be jealous if we attempted to maintain primary fellowship with the world people.  If James meant the spirit of Christians, the result would be the same.  Deity is jealous about Christians’ allegiances – the people we depend upon for the satisfaction of our innate needs.

The information in columns one and two in the foregoing chart represents who God is and what He has already promised Christians who love Him.  This is the gospel, or good news, people in the world realm need to hear, understand, believe and decide to have faith in before they can complete the process of their new birth by being baptized for the remission of their sins.  Christians’ “faith testing” produces our patience to serve our Lord until our spirits leave our bodies.  Column three represents the ideal results of each time our faith is tested.  Living in the world “in Adam, in Christ” is a test; however, there have been and will be major events requiring the strength of our faith.  The test will continue even for those who have had their faith perfected by specific tribulations.  Jesus taught us to build our house on a rock before the storms arrive.  This rock represents our faith “perfected” by previous testing.  The list in column three also contains characteristics of strong character and healthy personality traits of Christians who have had their faith “made complete.”  Jas. 2:22-24.

Our strengthened character and healthier personality is our “new self” identity.  It is the new creation of who we are (II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:22, 23; Col. 1:27).  Christians’ true identities are “uncovered to all who know us” by our habits.  We need to examine our habits in order to know our own selves (Jas. 1:22-25).  They are especially evident while our individual faith is being tested.  Our good habits produce the righteousness God desires (Jas. 1:20).  Christians’ traits of character and personality that produces our righteous habits are reinforced by the testing of our faith scenarios.  Love (agape) in the hearts of Christians produces acts of mercy (Jas. 2:14-16).  While performing acts of mercy we develop, or reinforce, the emotional attitudes of mercy forming the “makeup” of Christians’ personality (Matt. 5:7).  We are happy in serving God and mankind who have been created in the likeness of God.

C.    Review:

Perhaps it will help some of us if we put these thoughts in “computer language.”  In computer language we speak of input and output.  Listening and seeing would represent “input.”  “Output” would identify with speaking and acting.  Then there is “internal processing” of the information from input.  The output from the internal processing should be appropriate for the task at hand.  James has instructed Christians to rejoice in the testing of our faith.  Faith testing in computer language would be characterized as “internal processing” as a result of an external or internal tribulation (Heb. 12:7).  Good and perfect processing produces patience (1:2-4).  Patience and “slow to anger” may be synonymous terms in some of our encounters.

So after we have engaged in empathic listening; that is, gathered input for our inner processing about a given matter or situation, with patience, maturity and God’s wisdom, our internal processing capabilities prepare us to speak.  This is our “output.”  James instructed us in 2:12 to “speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.”  Patient, or “slow to speak,” output has the potential for producing “the righteous life God desires.” 1:20.  “Slow to hear, quick to anger, quick to speak” behavior may result in “garbage in and garbage out.”

James describes another scenario in 1:26.  In this case, the people “consider themselves religious,” but they have deceived themselves.  With their hearing mechanism (input device), they listened to God’s word (1:22).  However, their internal processing failed.  Their faith in God’s word did not establish their identities.  Consequently, although they claimed (output – talked without having a tight rein on their tongues) to be devoted (religious) to God, the “doing” did not happen (1:22; 2:14-20).  Neither did God’s acceptance happen (1:27).   Their religion was worthless because their faith was barren (useless, 2:20).  In this case, the input was good (they listened to God’s word), but it was still – garbage out.  Their internal processing procedure failed.  Salvation is by grace, but Christians do have the responsibility to have faith in God’s redemption plan (Eph. 2:8).  James spoke of a dead faith.  The opposite is a fertile, or a dynamic faith.

The faith testing process broke down within the persons James described in the foregoing paragraph.  Since patience did not have an opportunity to do its work; that is, develop character, the output was “garbage.”  The following chart is based on the computer model for learning.  It also serves as a review and preview of James’ letter.  The columns should be read from the top down – not across as in the previous chart.  The first column represents Deity and the messages mankind can hear and understand in our minds.  The environment in which we live while in this world also belongs under the “Source of Input.”  There are certain Beings and issues that impact our processing of what we can know about God and His purpose for creating us.

The items in the second column have been offered as a suggestion of how Christians learn in our minds and hearts about column one.  The level of faith we develop in our hearts will determine the way we process what we received as input from outside our selves (Matt. 13:31, 32).  As our faith grows we internalize our “input” as our identity (Rom. 8:16).  Column three represents the point James has presented in the text, James 2:14-26.  “Faith without deeds is useless.”

Source of Input                              Christians’ Internal Processing                             Output

From God, the Father of lights; Who does not change.  1:17Lord Jesus Christ.  2:1Word of truth. 1:18Law of life.  1:25; 2:8, 12Wisdom from God.  1:5; 3:17The following persons and issues impact Christians’ environment and become input we must process in our inner self:Fellowship with Holy Spirit, be careful not to grieve Him.  4:5

Face trials of many kinds from outside.  1:2

Live in a world polluted by

moral filth and evil.  1:21

Rich people live in luxury and

self indulgence. 5:5

Wisdom of world. 3:14-16

Unjust treatment from those

who discriminate.  2: 6, 7 

The devil is actively opposing.

3:6, 15; 4:7

Mankind made in God’s likeness.  3:9 Listens to word of God and does what it says.  Faith developed.  1:22-25.God gave new birth.  Identify as the first fruits of all God has created.  1:18Faith made complete by deeds; counted righteous by God.  2:22, 23Faith tested; joy, patience working.  Maturing toward completeness.  1:2-4;Hope for glory, honor and peace in our inheritance. 1:12; 2:5Subject our wills to God’s will.  4:15

Word being implanted. 1:21

Quick to hear Deity and others; Slow to wrath.  1:19; 3:17.

In Adam; tendency to lust.  1:13-15: 4:17

Faith being perfected by tribulations.  2:22

Equal status; no caste.  1:9

Subject ourselves to elders in the church. 5:14

Good and perfect come from our heavenly Father.  They meet the innate needs God put in us.  1:17

Must pray to God through Christ and ask without doubting and with the right motives.  1:5-8; 4:1-3; 5:13.

Speak and Act. 2:12 “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of,righteousness.”  3:18“I will show you my faith bywhat I do.”  2:18Slow to speak. Keep a tightrein on tongue. 1:19, 26Confess sins one to another in

church family. 5:16.

Patiently waiting for the Lord’s return. 5:7, 8

Encourage members of church

who stray from truth.  5:19, 20

Help members of church have our needs satisfied. 1:27; 2:14-16

Teach.  3:1.  Sing.  5:13  Pray for wisdom and other  needs with right motives.  1:5; 4:3.

Praise the Lord Jesus and God, our Father.  3:9

Resist the devil.  4:7

Most of the content in James’ letter is directed at identifying and solving our internal processing break-downs.  The chart in “Lesson Six” shows examples of successes and failures.  One break down, and perhaps the foremost cause of our other failures, happens when Christians do not recognize the spirit of every person came from God.  It bears a likeness to God.  This includes our friends and our enemies.  “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.”  James 3:9.

This will be one of the topics in our next lesson.

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