James reiterates the importance of good works for someone who hears the good news. How can a person truly hear the gospel, where the beauty of loving God and your brother are on full display, and not sincerely be moved to seek to do the same? The Christian is saved to be conformed the image of Christ. To hear the gospel and NOT be moved to be the unmerciful servant of Jesus’ parable in which he is forgiven a great debt only to turn around and demand a much smaller debt owed to him to be paid. This gospel never penetrates his heart.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25)
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: Num 17-18, Ps 55, Is 7, Ja 1