There is a false impression that is given to those who preach hyper-grace that they are not concern with good works. What we are concern is this. The Law gives you many works to do but it does not produce the good works required of you. We are very concerned about good works except that is works that matter to God is produced when one is super abounding in grace.
I think perhaps people really have the wrong impression of the book of James. Many quote things like ‘it’s not just enough to have faith, you must have works’ or ‘even Satan believes’. Much to our surprise, they are quoted out of context.
The book of James 1stly is written to the 12 tribes of Israel. 2ndly James speaks of 2 different set of laws. The perfected law of liberty and the royal law. It is obvious what the royal law is it is the 10 commandments.
What then is the perfected law of liberty.
The contrast of the 2 laws are very clear here. Let’s look at the 1st one. The royal law.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James says here that if you do not obey the royal law you actually forget how you look like. In other words, your identity is conditional upon your performance.
Now let us look at the next verse.
25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
Look at what he says. There is a 2nd law called the perfect law that gives freedom. In the Greek the word ‘perfect’ is defined as ‘perfected’ a done deal. The man is blessed by what he sees and heard. Notice it is not by doing. This perfected law also keeps the person rooted in who he really is. The perfected law is the law of Christ.
1 John 3:23
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
It is perfected by Jesus.
What James is trying to tell the Jews is this: They can’t keep the “royal law”.
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
James tells them they need to obey the “law of liberty” instead. This law is all about Grace and Mercy.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Then James draws an illustration from Abraham. He says that faith is useless unless it produces works. It is important to note he is writing to Hebrews. Hence the faith is addressing is not the Christian faith but the Jewish faith which is righteousness in accordance to works and obedience based on the 10 commandments. Here James uses a man that preceded the Law, Abraham, to show that you don’t need the 10 commandments to produce good works. An argument he was speaking about earlier.
He then quotes an outrageous example of a prostitute who was “justified by deceiving the spies”. This is the impression many Christians have. The intent of James is not that. What James is trying to say is this. Rahab was a Gentile and was not under the Law of Moses when that incident happened. Yet she was justified under the mercy of God.
As such what James is saying is that the law that gives you grace and mercy is what the Hebrews should believe in and not their Jewish faith anymore.
Coming back to the devils. I want us to note here again the context of belief is not the Christian belief but the Jewish belief.
Listen to what it actually says.
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that –and shudder.
The belief of one God is the very first of the 10 commandments. What James is saying is clear, even the demons “believe” in the Law of Moses but what good does it do to them? What is the difference between you and them?
So you can by now see that James is actually showing them the futility of keeping their Jewish faith. It many produce all of work for the Hebrews to do but it does not produce the work that God wants.
Only faith in Jesus does that. The law of freedom is the belief in the finished work of Jesus. In this faith mercy takes precedent not judgment.
Listen to what Paul say when it comes to his production of works.
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
The Greek term for super abounding grace is Hyper-grace.
It is when Grace super abounds works abounds. Not the other way round. Be blessed.