There are but two commandments, according to Jesus Christ, upon which all others hinge.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. [Matthew 22:37-40 KJV]
Jesus also gave a parable written in Matthew 25:31-46. Go ahead, look it up. If you have e-Sword on your PC, it won’t take but a moment. Got it? OK, let’s proceed.
This reminds me of the ten virgins earlier in Matthew 25. All believed the bridegroom was coming. Five did something about it, five did not. In this parable, all believed the judgment was coming, perhaps indicating they understood the first commandment, they just completely ignored the second.
Note that all the law and the prophets hang on those two. Not just the first one. Loving the Lord thy God is incomplete without loving thy neighbor.
It’s all about people. The people we don’t meet every day unless we go looking for them. That requires action, we have to work at it.
That brings us to James. And, he was serious about the subject!
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [James 2:15-17 KJV]
Think James got the message when he heard Christ as written in Matthew 22? What did he mean when he wrote:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? [James 2:14 KJV]
Did he not read Paul’s epistle? People quote it enough:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV]
Perhaps James read the next verse, too:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:10 KJV]
Wow, what a concept. Christians are created to do good works. Then James is right.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [James 2:17 KJV]
Then we can understand the end of the parable, and tremble.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. [Matthew 25:46 KJV]