Have you ever met someone whose mind was dramatically changed? They had firm convictions in one direction and then, in an instant or as a conclusion of a long sequence of decisions, they now had very different convictions.
And because their change in worldview was so dramatic, their shift in living was dramatic.
The tone of the letter of James seems to reflect a dramatic shift. Unlike some of Paul’s letters (and like others of Paul), James spends little time with introductions and niceties. The greeting is one verse, and then he gets down to business, and he doesn’t mince words. But what would precipitate such a shift?
It’s hard to tell, but perhaps the writer had an encounter with the Risen Lord like Paul.
In one of only two explicit references to Jesus in the letter (which is another mystery about the letter), James says, “…when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory” (2:1). Was James among the first disciples who encountered Jesus after his death? Was he like Paul who was convinced in one direction about Jesus, and then had his mind completely changed?
Whatever the case, James tells us that Jesus is the Living One who define what it means to really live.
Initially, James challenges with at least a few questions. What are we convinced of and how are we convinced of it? Then, do our actions match our convictions? If they don’t, what does that mean?
Listen to the first message in the series on James: