James 1&2 “Proof of Citizenship.”
If you live in the United States, you know that we do not face persecution as those in the first century. We talk about it but have not really experienced it. Many today, as illegal immigrants, who move from their home country now fear that their identity will be known and deportation will come. “Pastor” James understands their fears. His letter is as relevant today as in the first century. Lives have been upended, and they have relinquished their rights and the comfort of family, home, and citizenship. They were persecuted in Jerusalem and are even now facing persecution where they are now living. “Pastor” James sends this letter to encourage them in their poverty. He begins with an exhortation to be joyful in times of persecution. He encourages them to remain firm in their faith. He tells them that, in fact, their firm faith will help them to endure hardship and their response proves their faith.
Faith is true faith when works also accompany it.
He winds up that first part of his discussion by saying testing will come. He has written a letter to remind them as well as us to get prepared. One day we may find ourselves in the same circumstance. James is asking; are you prepared?