Friday, 12 July 2019
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, James 2:15
James now gives an extreme example of how faith should be worked out in deeds. He just asked about someone not having works, while having faith. He asked, “Can faith save him?” In the commentary on the previous verse, it was questioned who “him” was speaking of.
James doesn’t specifically answer the question, but he proceeds to give his example which closely reflects the sentiment of Matthew 25 concerning the judgment of the nations based on the treatment of those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and in prison. His example is concerning a “brother or sister.”
James is speaking of a believer in Christ who sees another believer. In this, he says that person is “naked.” The word is rarely used to signify stark naked. Rather, it is a person who possesses only his undergarments, or who is poorly clothed in the extreme. James further says that he is “destitute of daily food.” This is well translated. The word is ephémeros. It signifies that which occurs on the basis of a day. From day to day this person is lacking food. With this in mind, he will continue with the thought in the next verse.
Life application: Regardless of the issue of whether James is speaking of deeds resulting in salvation, or whether he is speaking of deeds accomplished in faith by those who are saved, shouldn’t we consider the plight of others simply because they are also God’s image-bearers? Let us not lose sight of the trees for the forest. May we open our hearts to those who have such great needs as are spoken of by James in this verse.
Lord God, give us willing hearts to love and assist those who are destitute, caring for them and their needs according to our ability to do so. Help us not to turn a blind eye to our brother or sister who is in need when we are able to help in getting them back on their feet. May this be so in order that You will be glorified through the works we accomplish in Your name. To Your glory we pray. Amen.