James 1:21-27 Doers Of The Word.
People are only saved if they receive the implanted word with meekness (v. 21b). Meekness speaks to the need for humility, because we also know that it is through God’s sovereign will that “He brought us forth by the word of truth” (v. 18a). The proof that someone has received the implanted word is that one is a doer and not a hearer only. To think that hearing is enough is to deceive oneself into believing that a changed life is not the intended result (v. 22 Cf. Mt. 7:7:21-29; Col. 3:10). It is also true that with faith there must also always be repentance, the laying “aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness” (v. 21a Cf. Col. 3:8-9). James uses the image of a mirror because like a mirror, the scriptures alone give us a true picture of ourselves (v. 23 Cf. Lk. 6:46-49). If we are true converts, it reminds us of who we were (v. 24). Just as one who looks at themselves in a mirror and forgets what they look like, so is the person who looks at or hears the word, and does not accept its verdict of their condition. Without the sovereign will of God, sinful people will inevitably deceive themselves.
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (v. 25 Cf. 2:12). When people look at or hear sources other than the word, they do not get a true image of themselves. For those whom God has brought forth, the whole of scripture is a “perfect law of liberty,” because it does give us a true picture of ourselves. James also makes the point that one is truly brought forth by God if one continues in the word. The word stipulates the need to change both one’s thought and actions. To not be a doer is to forget what is read or heard. But to be a doer of the word, is to be blessed in what one does (Cf. Ps. 34:12-13; Jn. 13:17). One should not imagine that words aren’t as important as deeds, for one’s words are a form of deeds. To fail to “bridle” the tongue, is to deceive the heart, or the core of who we are. Such religion is useless-it accomplishes nothing (v. 26). Pure and undefiled religion is that which shows itself in visiting those in need, and keeping “oneself unspotted from the world” (v. 27 Cf. Is. 1:17; Mt. 25:34-36).