by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
I. Theological Reasons.
A. Anthropology (the doctrine of man).
1. Since the fall, man has shown a pronounced tendency to distort Truth (he tends to act as a pendulum).
a. The doctrine of free grace inevitably faces the human tendency to abuse in the direction of carelessness about life.
1) Life is subject to 'creation rules'.
a) A primary 'creation rule' is the law of cause and effect. Life is the experience of effects as they impact values.
b) Another 'creation rule' is the law of relationships: persons respond in kind to the way they are treated. Since relational realities impact life, relationships must be built and not destroyed.
2) Free grace does not annul this subjection EXCEPT when the recipient is actively believing.
b. The doctrine of free grace inevitably faces the human tendency to abuse in the direction of reductionism.
1) Reductionism is the tendency to relegate to a narrow, limited, application.
2) Reductionism in free grace tends to exist primarily in the area of thinking that grace is for heaven later, not time now.
3) Reductionism in free grace tends to limit the definition of grace to 'unmerited favor from God'.
2. Since the fall, man has a pronounced tendency to be consistently inconsistent in his ability to see the connection between truth and his experience.
a. Man only believes what he can understand.
b. Man's ability to understand is dependent upon many factors so that he misunderstands more than not.
3. So, James was written to call upon believers in the free grace of God to exercise diligence in seeing and rejecting these tendencies.
B. Theology Proper (the doctrine of God).
1. God takes a different approach to persons who have been brought into His family through faith.
a. The difference is found in the degree of personal commitment He makes to the correction of the person's values and beliefs.
b. Thus, being a believer means that God will take significantly greater steps to correct one who is being abusive.
2. God's love means that certain of the principles of creation are set and unchangeable, so that God must change the person because He is not going to alter the principles of operation.
3. Thus, James was inspired by the love of God to call upon believers to respond to His efforts to change them for the better.
C. Hamartiology (the doctrine of sin).
1. Sin ALWAYS introduces some degree of death into the experience of the ones subject to it.
a. This includes the perpetrator.
b. This includes the 'victims'.
2. There is no escape from this inalterable law except by active believing -- which interrupts sin, not its consequences.
3. Thus, James was written to generate a view of sin that would be a positive motivation to avoid it.
II. Situation Reasons.
A. James was written in a specific setting.
1. In reference to God's plan in time: between Acts 2 and 10.
2. In reference to God's expression in time: the experiences of the believers in this time frame.
B. James was written for a specific reason.
1. The problems of believers who have not come to the consistency of faith in a setting of severe limitations.
2. The problem of the soul as the victim of bad choices.
III. Counter-balance Reasons.
A. Man has MORE of a problem believing in salvation by the free grace of God than he does in believing in the need for right behavior. Thus, the New Testament is primarily focused upon moving man away from "self" confidence.
B. But, the counter-reality is that some men move so far into their false notions of free grace that they become immune to the reality that right behavior is still a part of the overall picture. Thus, the book of James stands as a counter-balance to the abuse of grace.