The Book of James focuses on the believer's justification before men. His robust epistle focuses on the practical Christian walk rather than on doctrine: it is directed toward a living faith. Faith is not believing in spite of the evidence: Faith is obeying in spite of the consequences.
The Epistle of James deals with conduct, not creed; behavior, not belief; deed, not doctrine. He speaks of endurance of faith and outward trials of inward temptations in the first chapter. And he gives ways to test the genuineness of faith, our response to the Word of God. These include our response to social situations, the production of good works, the exercise of self-control, our reaction to worldliness and our resort to prayer in all circumstances. These are not ways to get saved, but are demonstrations of faith.
Faith without works is a major theme in James. "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." He's not talking about being justified before God by your works, but being justified before men. If you say you have faith and don't have a changed life, there is still something lacking. He's not in conflict with Paul, he is just tackling a different issue. Paul talks about justification before the throne of God, James about justification in society.
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