This letter, written by James the brother of Jesus was to Jewish Christians who were scattered abroad. The letter was meant to provide practical instructions for living and understanding the Christian life. The central theme of this letter is more practical than theological, because it presents to us the theme that Christian living is really a reflection of a changed life because of our faith in Jesus. James explains to us that if a person claims to be a Christian, but shows no difference in their behavior, or in their actions and attitudes toward others, then what benefit is that to anyone, much less to the world in need of hearing the Gospel message. In other words, if a person outwardly shows no true change of heart, no change in attitude or behavior, then how do you know that you are truly saved? Why is this important? James tells us that this is important because a person cannot be truly saved, and still desire to do the things contrary to Jesus and what He alone has done for us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our spirit which was dead in trespasses and sins is replaced by a spirit that is alive to God, and to the things of God. In addition, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who changes our hearts from the inside out and gives to us a desire for God, for His word and for others. Therefore, because of these changes in us, we cannot help but to show changes in our outward behavior and attitude toward others, God and the world around us.
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:2-4, 19-20)